Belfast Telegraph

Killer Howell 'captivated court'

Killer dentist Colin Howell held Coleraine Crown Court captivated during a marathon four days giving evidence as a Crown witness against his former mistress Hazel Stewart.

Articulate, self-assured and even-tempered, he often appeared more like a professor delivering a lecture than a cold-blooded double murderer in the witness box.

Here are some of the more memorable quotes from the compelling 16 hours of testimony, including 12 hours of cross-examination by defence lawyer Paul Ramsey QC.

On why he confessed 18 years after the killings, Howell said: "I just knew that the time had come that the truth had to be told. I was overwhelmed by my conscience from hiding those crimes for such a long time. I believed there still were scars that needed to be put right and I wanted to tell the truth, that was my only motive."

He also spoke about his encounter with Stewart in a swimming pool before their affair started when he told her he had been having "impure thoughts" about her:

And he claimed that Stewart seduced him at the outset of their torrid affair, saying: "Flies go into spiders' webs because they think there is some food for them there and I willingly went after the bait and we got caught together in the trap."

Howell also confessed to an incident weeks before the murders when he dangled a live electric cable over his wife as she sat in the bath.

He said: "It was a thought. It was a moment where I wanted Lesley to realise there had been a shift of power from Lesley to me. She did not get an electrical shock. I did not want to do it, but the seed had been planted.

"I began to believe that I can do something about it. Lesley saw something in me at that moment that I could kill her, and she was right about that."

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