Plea for mercy for killer wife
The children of a former Sunday school teacher who murdered their father and her lover's wife have pleaded with a judge to show their mother mercy, a court heard.
Hazel Stewart's daughter Lisa and son Andrew urged Justice Anthony Hart to show leniency when he comes to announce the minimum number of years she must serve in prison after being convicted of killing her policeman husband Trevor Buchanan and Lesley Howell almost 20 years ago.
As the children watched from the public gallery in Belfast Crown Court, defence lawyer Paul Ramsey QC said: "They have memories of their father and love for their father and they know she (Stewart) played a role in their father's death and nonetheless they stand by her."
But a Crown lawyer claimed that 48-year-old Stewart, who sat in the dock with her head bowed, had shown no remorse for her crimes and had a lot to answer for.
The one-time playgroup assistant's ex-lover - 51-year-old dentist Colin Howell - pleaded guilty to the double murder last year and is serving a 21-year-sentence.
Pc Buchanan and Mrs Howell were found in a fume-filled garage in the seaside town of Castlerock, Co Derry, in May 1991.
Police thought they had died in a bizarre suicide pact until 18 years later when lay preacher Howell, apparently wracked by his conscience, confessed to elders in his church that he had murdered them and staged the scene.