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Killer Hazel Stewart knew what she was doing, it's time to accept guilt

By Deborah McAleese

Published 21/10/2015

Behind bars: Double killer Hazel Stewart
Behind bars: Double killer Hazel Stewart
David Stewart

Hazel Stewart's husband looked exhausted as he left court yesterday following the latest failed attempt by the murderess to clear her name.

David Stewart has stood faithfully by his wife from the moment of her arrest in January 2009 for the murder of her first husband Trevor Buchanan and her ex-lover Colin Howell's wife Lesley.

During her very first court appearance on double murder charges, Mr Stewart, a retired police superintendent, sat with his arm protectively around her throughout the proceedings.

Throughout her trial he held her hand reassuringly every day as the walked in and out of the courthouse.

When she launched her first appeal against her conviction he again was in court to support her. He is also a regular visitor to the women's prison at Hydebank. And it must be taking its toll, not just on him but on the families of her two victims. For all their sakes it is time the former Sunday school teacher and devout Christian accepted her guilt.

In her own words, Stewart admitted that she knew about Howell's plan to murder her husband and Lesley Howell in May 1991.

Recordings of her interviews to police following her arrest heard her apologise to Mr Buchanan's family, their two children Andrew and Lisa and to her current husband David.

When asked during the interviews by Detective Sergeant Geoff Ferris if she accepted that on numerous opportunities before the murder she could have controlled the situation and stopped both murders, she replied: "Yes, I could have stopped it." She told police that she asked Howell not to go through with the murders.

"It was a horrible thing. I knew what he was coming to do. I didn't want him to do it. We had a plan. I didn't want to do it. But it's done, I let it happen," she said.

Stewart told police that she had encouraged her husband to take a sleeping tablet on the night of the murders. She denied giving him the drug, but admitted that sedating him was also part of Howell's plan. She also admitted in the interview that she got rid of evidence by destroying a hosepipe that was used to gas the victims while they slept.

But almost seven years after these confessions and five years after a jury found her guilty of double murder, she is still protesting her innocence.

It is time for Hazel Stewart to stop protesting and accept that the next 13 years will be spent behind bars completing her 18-year life sentence.

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