Stewart now locked in cell every night at 8pm
Double killer Hazel Stewart has lost all her prison privileges over her exclusive interview with the Belfast Telegraph.
Considered a model inmate since being jailed a decade ago for the murders of her husband Trevor Buchanan and love rival Lesley Howell, she has now been moved back onto a basic regime.
Prison sources said this was because she broke jail rules by failing to inform the authorities prior to giving the interview in which she lifted the lid on life behind bars.
The Telegraph interview caught Hydebank bosses by surprise.
“Hazel has lost all her privileges and has been moved back in with the general prison population,” said a source at the women’s jail.
“She had been on an enhanced regime for model inmates but was moved from A5 to Ash 2 for talking to the Telegraph. She is now is locked up in her cell at 8pm every night.”
The Prison Service refused to comment on the development, saying: “We do not comment on individual prisoners.”
Last week on Twitter, Justice Minister Naomi Long said there was an internal investigation into the circumstances of the interview.
She said: “The articles in question came as a surprise to the Prison Service, who neither facilitated nor had prior knowledge of them. In line with normal practice, the Prison Service has initiated an internal investigation into how this happened.”
Stewart is serving an 18 year prison sentence for helping ex-lover Colin Howell murder his wife Lesley Howell and her husband Trevor Buchanan in 1991. He was sentenced to 21 years.
The scheming Ballymoney dentist made it appear that his victims had gassed themselves in a suicide pact after finding out their spouses were cheating.
Howell held onto the grisly secret for 17 years before walking into a PSNI station and confessing. He named Hazel Stewart as his accomplice.
She denied the claim, but a jury convicted her at the end of a trial in which she declined to give evidence. The court accepted that she drugged her husband Trevor, watched as he was killed by Howell and then helped her lover dispose of his body and clean up the murder scene.
All this took place in Stewart’s home while her children slept in a nearby room and Howell’s wife Lesley was lying dead in the boot of his car parked outside.
She later told police: “Yes, I let it happen. I let it happen.”
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Stewart spoke of how she was in fear of Howell and was “too scared” to confess her role in the double-murder.
She said: “People say ‘Why did you let it go on so long, why did you not leave?’ I think that was the reason.
“I was scared to leave him because I didn’t know what he’d do, and he had so much on me that he held all the power. I was living a life of trying to have him think it was okay, but couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t walk away, because what was he going to do to me, what was going to happen to me?”