Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Howell's wife should have told all

Many people will be greatly surprised by the decision of the authorities not to prosecute Kyle Jorgensen, the estranged American wife of double killer Colin Howell. Jorgensen was told by Howell how he had murdered his first wife Lesley and then the husband of his lover Hazel Stewart.

This gruesome story showed that life is even stranger than fiction, and after Howell told Jorgensen about his vile deeds, he persuaded her to keep quiet for the sake of their children. Eventually in yet another dramatic twist to this sordid tale several years later, Jorgensen disclosed her terrible secrets to church elders, and the police were called in.

Once Colin Howell's bizarre plot was hatched and then put into action, it started a train of events which caused the death of two innocent people and also the uncertainty and untold suffering of their relatives. The whole case has been a classic example of how evil feeds upon itself and how innocent people suffer from the misdeeds of others.

Given all the facts surrounding this most disturbing sequence of events, most people will still be questioning why Kyle Jorgensen chose to remain silent for so long. Only she can answer such questions, and ultimately the biggest question of all – how she can live with her conscience? In human terms Kyle Jorgensen faced a terrible choice – either to protect her children or to come clean about Howell, therefore exposing her children to the horrible truth.

Consequently the Public Prosecution Service, which examined the case in detail, has decided to take no action "because there was insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction".

Clearly the law works in a mysterious way, and even if authorities conclude there is no legal reason why Kyle Jorgensen should not be prosecuted for staying silent, she was under a strong moral obligation to tell all she knew. By not doing so she prolonged unnecessarily the agony of families caught in this web of deceit.

It is a rule of life that sooner or later the truth will out. If Kyle Jorgensen had taken this to heart from the start, and acted upon it, she might have prevented heartache and misery for so many others who had to deal with the after-effects of murders most foul.

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