Killer Howell wanted to be a father to Stewart’s son

DOUBLE murderer Colin Howell told Hazel Stewart in a letter after the murders of his wife, Lesley Howell and Stewart’s husband, Trevor Buchanan, that he could be a ‘father figure’ to her son Andrew.

During a recorded police interview after she was arrested two years ago, Stewart was asked if she remembered the letter, which has been given to police by Derek McAuley when the investigation re-opened two years ago.

McAuley, a friend of the pair through Coleraine Baptist Church, had steamed open the letter back in 1991. Howell had given him the letter to him to pass on to Stewart on the day of the funerals. McAuley then photocopied the letter before passing it on to Stewart, as he suspected at the time that something wasn’t right.

At last Wednesday’s Court sitting, the jury heard Detective Geoff Ferris asking Stewart, through a recorded interview, if she remembered the letter. He read parts of the letter to her to jog her memory.

“In the letter he asks about you and him coming together. He tells you he could be a father figure to Andrew and they could ‘cut the grass and do normal things like his dad.”

Stewart then tells the Detective that she remembers the letter.

Reading directly from the letter, during the recorded interview, the Detective tells: “I have taken a mother from her children, but will provide another for them. I only hope and pray it is you.”

When asked what her response was to the letter at the time, Stewart tells police: “I was shocked he could write that after it had happened.”

When asked did she reply, Stewart tells: “I hope I didn’t. I’m not a letter writer.”