TRIAL: Did Howell kill his father-in-law too?

THE brother of Lesley Howell believes that their father may also have been killed by Colin Howell.

In an interview with the BBC’s Spotlight programme broadcast last Thursday night, Dr Christopher Clarke said there was a “very real possibility” that 69-year-old Harry Clarke was also murdered by the killer dentist.

Detectives are now investigating whether he was also responsible for the sudden death of his father-in-law less than two weeks earlier.

Harry Clarke collapsed and died at the home of Lesley and Colin Howell in Coleraine’s Knocklayde Park 12 days before the double murders.

Mr Clarke, who had been suffering from flu and staying in the Howells’ spare bedroom, is believed to have had a heart attack in the kitchen and was found when the couple returned from a night out. On that night the Howells’ four children were being looked after by a babysitter.

Although Colin Howell has always denied murdering his father-in-law, Christopher Clarke, a consultant anaesthetist, told the Spotlight programme he remained unconvinced by the denials.

Referring to his father’s health he said: “He was a man in late middle age, he had a sudden death. I’m well aware men in late middle age do have sudden deaths.

“But when you look at the sequence of events in retrospect, he went from somebody in good health to dying very suddenly, very unexpectedly and I suppose you have to say at a very convenient time.”

Harry Clarke was an ex-Royal Marine regimental sergeant major and company director.

The deaths of Colin Howell’s wife and father-in-law resulted in him inheriting £414,000.

A PSNI spokesman said: “The death of Harry Clarke has formed part of the police investigation and continues to do so.”