Belfast Telegraph

Double murderer Colin Howell in mourning after death of his father

By Ivan Little

Convicted killer Colin Howell is in mourning after the death of his father.

Samuel Howell died suddenly at the weekend in Craigavon Area Hospital.

In a death notice which only appeared online last night, Mr Howell was described as "the devoted husband" of the late Sarah Howell and "loving father" of five children, including the double murderer.

Colin Howell is the fourth of Mr Howell's five children and has two brothers and two sisters.

The death notice also said Mr Howell was a "much-loved" grandfather and great-grandfather, but the children's names were not listed.

It said that a service of thanksgiving will be held in Portadown Baptist Church on Saturday followed by burial in Kernan Cemetery.

It's not clear if Howell will be seeking compassionate parole to attend the funeral.

He is currently serving a minimum of 21 years in Maghaberry Prison for the murders of his wife and the police officer husband of his former lover Hazel Stewart.

The bodies of Lesley Howell (31) and Constable Trevor Buchanan (32) were found in a fume-filled garage in Castlerock, Co Londonderry, in May 1991.

Police originally thought they had died in a suicide pact after discovering that their partners were having an affair.

But nearly two decades later dentist Howell suddenly confessed to both killings and admitted that he had made it look like they had taken their own lives.

He pleaded guilty to the murders in 2010, and implicated Stewart in the plot and went on to give evidence against her at her trial.

In March 2011 she was unanimously convicted of both murders and ordered to serve at least 18 years behind bars.

Howell is also serving a five-and-a-half-year-sentence for sexually assaulting five female patients while they were under sedation at his dental surgery in Ballymoney in Co Antrim.

He committed those offences over a 10-year period from 1998 and 2008.

In his book Let This Be Our Secret about the murders, journalist Deric Henderson said Colin Howell was raised by his parents in the Woodvale area of Belfast before moving to the nearby Ballysillan district.

Henderson said that in later years Colin Howell had minimal contact with any of his siblings but was always close to his father, a former manager at a Government Training Centre.

Henderson wrote that Howell later said of his relationship with his father: "I was dad's little buddy."

They played golf and went fishing together, according to Henderson, who added that Sam Howell always felt that Colin was a son he could be proud of.

The online death notice said the Howell family home was private and appealed for only family flowers to be sent.

But it also said that donations could be sent if desired to the Acre Gospel Mission in Ballynahinch.

It added that Mr Howell was "at home with the Lord".

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph