ONE-TIME preacher Colin Howell, who confessed his crimes to his church elders, Colin Howell looked to the Bible last Wednesday as he explained his thinking ahead and after murdering his wife and his lover’s husband.
On the third day in the witness box, he referred to scripture on a number of occasions, most bizarrely when he quoted King Solomon.
Explaining why he believed he had lost control of his life when wife Lesley discovered his affair with Hazel Stewart he paraphrased Proverbs chapter five.
“King Solomon, considered to be the wisest man, said a man who commits adultery gives up his strength to one who is cruel,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want to argue with the wisest man in the world.”
Again he quoted chapter and verse when recalling an incident seven years after the killings when he claims he was on the verge of confessing, only to draw back when a Christian friend read him a passage that struck a chord.
“She read a verse from the Bible that talked about judging things at the right time,” he told the jury.
“I think it was 1st Corinthians, chapter four, verse four.”
The passage to which Howell referred, which was actually verse five, states: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes.”
As a result Howell would wait another decade before admitting his dark secret to the authorities.
The contributions were typical of Howell’s marathon 12 hours on the stand and counting.
Articulate verging on the verbose, intelligent, well considered and even tempered – at times he has looked more like a university professor delivering a lecture than a double killer being cross examined.
It was clear his approach has begun to frustrate Stewart’s defence lawyer Paul Ramsey QC.
“Is it possible for you to explain anything in two sentences Mr Howell?” he asked at one point.
Even Judge Anthony Hart, who has kept his interventions to a minimum through his testimony, had occasion to urge the witness to simply answer “yes or no” instead of launching into another wide-ranging explanation.
Family photos of a smiling Lesley Howell with her children, including one of youngest Jonathan sitting on her knee, were distributed to the jury.
In a rare show of irritation, the thus-far unflappable Howell objected.
With his and Lesley’s daughter Lauren sitting in the public gallery, close to relatives of constable Trevor Buchanan, he said making the pictures public was prolonging and extending the hurt and pain.
“I do not like it for the sake of my children who have to share in my humiliation,” he said.