TRIAL: I WANTED TO BE DEAD

‘I LIVED every day of my life wanting to be dead’.

The words of Hazel Stewart during a police interview on Thursday, January 29, 2009, the day she was arrested for the murder of her husband, Trevor Buchanan and her lover’s wife, Lesley Howell, some 18 years after their deaths.

On Monday at Coleraine Crown Court, the jury heard Stewart’s voice for the first time through tape recorded police interviews, as she listened on from the dock.

During the interviews, Stewart, 47, claims she was scared of her then lover, dentist Colin Howell and admitted knowing why he was at her home on the night of the murders.

But she said she hadn’t discussed with Howell how it would happen as she ‘didn’t want to think like that’.

In the interviews she also claims that her mistake was her involvement with Colin Howell, and that she would have taken the secret of the murders to her grave.

“It’s better for me to suffer that open a can of worms and affect so many people, “ she told the officers from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team during the interviews.

The jury of nine men and three women, also heard why Howell wanted to kill his wife and mother of four, Lesley and Stewart’s husband, RUC constable Trevor Buchanan - so that the pair could be together.

Court heard that Stewart told police: “I was so shocked. I am soft person, weak vulnerable person. He had full control, that’s no excuse.”

She added: “He said he was going to do it, I didn’t want to know.”

On the night of the murders, May 19, 1991, Stewart told officers that she remembered Howell telling her to get into a bedroom at her Charnwood Park home when he arrived at the house with the dead body of his wife Lesley in the boot of the family car.

“I didn’t know what to do..I was so scared. I have lived every day of my life wanting to be dead. I’d rather be dead than go through this,” she told police.

Describing her relationship with Howell during a first interview, Stewart admitted that she was scared to break things off: ‘I was scared for my life at times,” she said.

In her final interview, Stewart told officers that she had not seen Colin Howell since their relationship ended in 1995.

“I never set eyes on him. It’s amazing, living in the same town. I never wanted to see him.”