Belfast Telegraph

Double murderer Hazel Stewart freed from prison to visit ill mother days before death

By Cate McCurry

Officials have refused to comment on reports that killer Hazel Stewart was given compassionate leave from prison to say her final goodbyes to her mother, who died last week.

It's understood the 55-year-old - who is serving a minimum of 18 years for killing her husband Trevor Buchanan and her lover's wife Lesley Howell - visited the home of her mother, but did not attend the funeral.

Margaret Elkin died on Thursday and was buried after a funeral service at Omagh Baptist Church.

Despite claims in a Sunday newspaper that Stewart was granted compassionate leave, an official at the Department of Justice said that it did not comment on individual cases.

It's understood she was allowed to visit the family home but was not at the funeral service.

Stewart's children Lisa and Andrew and her husband David Stewart were seen attending the funeral.

The double killer has served seven years of her sentence.

The victims were found together in a fume-filled garage in Castlerock in May 1991.

Nearly two decades had passed before Stewart's ex-lover Colin Howell (58) suddenly confessed to both killings. He pleaded guilty to the murders in 2010 and was ordered to serve at least 21 years behind bars.

Detectives originally believed the victims had died in a suicide pact after discovering their partners were having an affair.

Belfast Telegraph

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