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Stewart 'wept while questioned'

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Hazel Stewart was heard crying and denying trying to twist the truth on police tapes played to the jury

Hazel Stewart was heard crying and denying trying to twist the truth on police tapes played to the jury

Hazel Stewart was heard crying and denying trying to twist the truth on police tapes played to the jury

A former Sunday school teacher wept as detectives accused her of changing her story about the murders of her policeman husband and her lover's wife, her trial heard.

Hazel Stewart sobbed as a senior officer claimed she was backtracking and adding things to her account in a bid to mask her alleged involvement in the May 1991 killings of Trevor Buchanan and Lesley Howell.

Her ex-lover - dentist Colin Howell - has already admitted poisoning their spouses with carbon monoxide pumped from his car while they slept in their respective homes near Northern Ireland's north coast, then staging a scene to make it look like a bizarre suicide pact.

Howell confessed to elders in his church 18 years later and Stewart was arrested hours later at her home at Ballystrone Road, Macosquin, Coleraine, in January 2009.

On the 10th day of her trial at Coleraine Crown Court, police tapes of the subsequent interviews with Stewart two years ago were played to the jury. During the 11th of 15 tapes, Detective Sergeant Geoff Ferris put it to Stewart that she was lying to police.

In her first interview two days earlier, she had appeared to indicate she felt something was going to happen to her husband when Howell phoned in the middle of the night. But she went on to deny that in later recordings, claiming she thought the dentist was just calling round to see her.

Mr Ferris accused her of trying to twist the truth. Stewart could then be heard crying on the tapes, which were played to a jury at Coleraine Crown Court.

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"I'm not here to twist it," she insisted.

Mr Ferris then put it to Stewart that when Howell called her it was to confirm that their joint plan to murder had begun and that he had already killed his wife. Stewart again denied the claim: "No," she said repeatedly.

The 47-year-old mother of two denies being part of a joint enterprise to murder Mrs Howell, 31, and Pc Buchanan, 32. Her former lover Howell is currently serving 21 years after pleading guilty to the murders last year.


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