Belfast Telegraph

Hazel lied then ... and she's still lying

By Lindy McDowell

To nobody's surprise the Police Ombudsman's report into the original police investigation into the murders of Trevor Buchanan and Lesley Howell finds it was "deeply flawed".

Despite questions raised at the time by friends of both Trevor and Lesley, investigators in 1991 concluded that it was a straight-forward case (if there could be such a thing) of double suicide.

All the signs - at least at first glance - seemed to point to that.

It was a classic case of putting two and two together. And getting hoodwinked.

And the added suffering this inflicted on both Trevor's and Lesley's families and friends is surely immeasurable. But, while the original investigation does deserve censure, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact either that central to this terrible, terrible suffering were the actions of the two callous murderers who calmly and determinedly lied and lied again about what had happened.

Both Colin Howell and Hazel Stewart lied convincingly. Such was their performance in the immediate aftermath of truly gruesome slaughter that those questioning them apparently saw nothing in their demeanour or story to arouse suspicion. That took nerve. Cold, conniving nerve.

Howell eventually broke after many, many years and the collapse of a crazy get-rich-quick scheme which had left him penniless.

Tellingly, however, Hazel Stewart kept her dark, deadly secret. She might well have taken it to her grave. During and since her trial she has argued that she was an innocent with no choice but to do Howell's bidding.

She lied to the police in 1991. Hard-hearted Hazel's lying still.

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