TRIAL: Howell lied about being beaten up by wife Lesley

COLIN Howell’s claim to police that his wife repeatedly beat him was a lie, he told the court on Wednesday.

The double killer told detectives of the alleged domestic abuse as he tried to convince them she was spinning out of control and had eventually taken her own life along with his lover’s husband Trevor Buchanan.

Howell said that there was only one instance when Lesley ever struck him – and that was upon discovering he had been having sex with Stewart.

A short time later the mother of his four children took an overdose.

“The only time I ever remember Lesley being physical with me was a moment she received news I had a full sexual affair and took the tablets,” he said when pressed by Stewart’s lawyer Paul Ramsey on whether the abuse claim was true.

“I don’t remember any other time when Lesley was physical to me so that was probably made up.”

The claims were made in Howell’s statement to police after the bodies of Mrs Howell and Mr Buchanan were found in a fume-filled garage in Castlerock.

He and Stewart – who stands accused of the double murder - agreed what they would say to police, the court heard.

She also included a claim that her husband hit her, but the dentist said that was correct.

“Hazel would have told me herself that there were periods of abuse,” he said.

Howell had also claimed that his wife had reacted to her father Henry’s death – 12 days before her own – with “disproportionate magnitude” and that she had become irrational and neurotic about his affair with Stewart.

He said while the latter claims were true, the former was only partially right.

“It’s not for me to judge what’s proportionate when your father dies,” he said.

“It may or may not have been true.”