Lovely Lesley a broken woman

A calendar found by police in her Knocklayde Park home reveals the devastasting confusion and tortured mind of Lesley Howell in the final days of her life.

The calendar, which bears the picture of a young woman wearing a dress, is dated May 1991 and is shown in the Ballymoney and Moyle Times this week.

Already reeling from the revelation of her husband Colin’s adultery with Hazel Stewart, the mother-of-four was dealt the devastating blow of losing her father, company director Harry Clarke, who had collapsed and died on her kitchen floor 12 days before she was murdered.

The calendar, which lay by the phone in the kitchen, shows many entries for the month.

But in a clear indication of her grief and confusion she wrote “Dad died” twice, on May 7 and May 9.

She also records the wrong time of her father’s funeral on May 31 as 1pm instead of 11am.

Hauntingly she inserts an entry for her son Daniel’s second birthday and a ballet show for Saturday, May 18.

Still mourning the lost of the father she adored she had forgotten to get Daniel a present.

At 11am she left for a hair and sunbed appointment at Green Acres Studio in Articlave.

Little did she know that that evening her husband Colin would choke her to death as she lay sleeping on the living room couch.

Howell, who earlier that day had been building a blue slide for Daniel’s birthday had also been customising a baby’s bottle, belonging to their son Jonathan, then only a few months old to be used in the poisoning.

Using a garden hose he attached it to the tailpipe of the family’s Renault Savannah Estate he pinned Lesley down on the sofa and poisoned her with carbon monoxide.

As she took her last, tragic breaths, she called out eldest son Matthew’s name. In police interviews Colin Howell said that it was her desperate cry for help which had “haunted” him for many years and took on greater significance when Matthew fell to his death in an accident in St Petersburg in April 2006.

He then rang Hazel Stewart and told her he was on his way over to her Charnwood Park home to kill her husband Trevor by the same heinous method.

The calendar shows a mother with a busy life, organising school holidays, Fellowship meetings at the Baptist Church and medical appointments for her children.

When Howell bundled her body into the boot of the car and threw a blanket over her he drove to Hazel’s house, where after a struggle, he poisoned Trevor in the bedroom.

The dentist then drove the car to the garage of Lesley’s father’s house at The Apostles and staged their deaths as suicides.

As well as the calendar Howell handed over a letter he claimed was written by Lesley - which apparently corroborated Lesley’s deep and suicidal depression.

Saying he found the short note on the kitchen floor, it refers to the days after he dad’s death and the “good times” in their eight-year marriage.

Dear Colin,

I’m just trying to go to sleep now, how long for I don’t know. Thank-you for your help over the past few days and for the good times in our marriage.

I don’t know what to say to you because I don’t know how I feel but i have seen that life goes on after a few weeks of pain and lets (sic) face it Colin I am nothing in comparison to what you lost in the one you loved awhile back.

If I wake up in the morning

just let this be our secret.