Derry law firm to act for double killer

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A Derry law firm is to represent former Sunday school teacher, Hazel Stewart, in her appeal against her conviction for murdering her policeman husband and ex-lover’s wife.

Hasson & Company Solicitors, of Clarendon Street, has been approached to represent the mother-of-two, who was found guilty of killing PC Trevor Buchanan and Lesley Howell almost 20 years ago.

Earlier this year, the 48 year-old was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in a high profile trial which lasted nearly four weeks.

Her ex-lover Colin Howell had already confessed to his role in the double murder and is currently serving a minimum term of 21 years in prison.

The ‘Journal’ can reveal that Stewart is now intending to appeal both her conviction and her sentence.

Michael McGee, of Hasson & Company, confirmed this week that the firm has been instructed by Hazel Stewart in relation to an appeal.

Mr McGee said: “This was a tragic case which deeply affected the lives of all those involved. Hazel Stewart is, above all else, a devoted wife and mother who had become involved in events which had such a devastating outcome.”

Just last month, Stewart insisted she did not know that Colin Howell was planning to murder her husband and his wife.

By using a specially adapted hose attached to his car exhaust, Howell gassed his wife as she lay sleeping on the sofa in their Coleraine home.

He then put her body in the boot of his car and drove to Stewart’s house, where he gassed her husband as he slept in bed.

Guilty

At the end of Hazel Stewart’s trial, a jury decided that she was also guilty of murder after accepting that she knew in advance what her lover was planning to do.

However, in an interview with a newspaper last month, she insisted she never had any intention to kill her husband Trevor and only found out about the murder of Lesley Howell after it had happened.

Police originally thought the pair had died in a suicide pact triggered by their spouses’ infidelity.