Colin Howell, the dentist and Christian husband who murdered his wife and his ex-girlfriend’s husband with gas to be with his lover, Hazel Stewart, will be the basis for Investigation Discovery’s Killer Clergy. Every Friday, Inquisitr has been following the murder cases profiled on the hit television series. This week’s episode is titled “Wrath Of God,” which tells the story of a respectable neighborhood dentist who is living a double life and hiding a terrible secret that will take more than 20 years to solve. Killer Clergy will dramatize the Colin Howell case through recreations, along with compelling commentary by police detectives and crime experts.
Suicide Pact or Double Murder?
In 1991, an Ireland wife was found dead in the backseat of a car, along with another man. When the bodies were first discovered by police, the engine was running, and it looked that the victims had died in a double suicide pact. The man, identified as 33-year-old Trevor Buchanan, was in the front seat, and 31-year-old Lesley Howell, the wife of Colin Howell, was in the backseat holding onto photos of her children.
They Were Murdered!
An autopsy report concluded that Trevor Buchanan and Lesley Howell had both died from the exhaust fumes. For decades, the general belief was that it was all just a terrible suicide by two people who couldn’t cope with life any longer.
But miles away, there was another man who knew the truth. Authorities say that Colin Howell was so overcome by his guilty conscience that he confessed to a church member that he had killed his wife and the husband of his ex-lover. Colin Howell also implicated his then girlfriend, Hazel Stewart, who kept the grisly secret for more than 20 years.
Investigators say that Colin Howell met his married lover, Sunday school teacher Hazel Buchanan, at a Baptist church, where sparks of a sexual affair began.
Soon the lovers began meeting up in secret whenever they could and had a secret phone code that they used to alert each other when the coast was clear for sex.
The extramarital affair was passionate and deeply stirring and had a forbidden and youthful feel to it, which included Colin Howell sneaking out of the house and running through the forest to see his girl.
The affair came to light after a member of the congregation saw them during one of their meetups. The member reported it to the church elders, who later counseled them and forbade them to see each other again.
However, authorities say the affair didn’t stop, and they eventually concocted a plot to get rid of their partners. The Belfast Telegraph describes how Colin Howell carried out his diabolical plan.
“He used a garden hose, connected to the exhaust of his Renault car, to gas Lesley with carbon monoxide fumes as she slept at their home in Coleraine. He then drove across the town to murder Mr Buchanan, 32, by the same method while Hazel waited outside the couple’s bedroom before burning the hose as part of an planned cover-up. Howell then placed the two bodies in the boot, drove to Castlerock and left them in a garage with the engine still running to fool investigating police into believing the pair had taken their own lives.”
After the murders, Colin Howell ended up marrying another woman and telling her about the crime. During an interview with a psychiatrist, Howell spoke of demons, hearing voices, and sex addiction, according to the Newsletter U.K.
“[Howell] believes he has been mentally ill and that there is a spiritual dimension to that. He believes that his sexual activities were the result of low self-esteem. He told me he looked at a lot of pornography. He felt he had to be worshiped by women like a small god. He believes There is something instinctive in men that drives them to get to the top.”
Hazel Stewart was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison, and Colin Howell was sentenced to life in prison. To see the story in action, watch Killer Clergy this Friday, September 23, at 10/9 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery (ID).
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