Killer Colin Howell will be allowed out of prison to visit dad's grave
One of Northern Ireland's most notorious killers is to be let out of jail in the coming weeks to visit his father's grave following a funeral yesterday, according to prison sources.
Portadown killer dentist Colin Howell is currently serving a 21-year jail term for the double murder of his wife and the RUC officer husband of his then 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 the pair had died in a suicide pact after discovering their partners were having an affair.
But nearly two decades later dentist Howell suddenly confessed to both killings and admitted 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 Stewart 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, Co Antrim.
The Northern Ireland Prison Service said on Friday evening they did not comment on "individual cases" when asked if father-of-10 and former lay preacher Howell would be released for his father Samuel's funeral.
Samuel Howell died suddenly on Saturday, July 21, at Craigavon Area Hospital and was buried yesterday; however the double murderer was nowhere to be seen during the funeral.
A number of Colin Howell's family members continued to visit him in prison over the years despite his crimes including his daughter Lauren, sisters Pauline and Maud, brothers Gordon and Jim and his father.
Prison sources told Sunday Life deeply religious Howell, who eventually confessed to the killings as he thought God was punishing him as a result, will be let out in the coming weeks to pay his respects. It's understood there was a reluctance for the funeral to descend into a media circus due to his attendance and arrangements have been made for a more discreet visit in several weeks' time.