Love makes people go to some extreme lengths, and dentist Colin Howell took that seriously along with his lover Hazel Stewart. In the episode titled ‘The 18 Year Secret’ of ‘Deadliest Lovers,’ we are introduced to the two love birds, who fall for each other and indulge in an extramarital affair, despite being married to their respective partners. Even though Colin was fearful of God, his love for the Sunday school teacher exceeded everything else, making the pair do some gruesome deeds.
Who is Colin Howell?
Born on March 14, 1959, in Portadown, Northern Ireland, Colin Howell seemingly excelled at his school and possibly graduated from college with flying colors. Being deeply religious, he was also a lay preacher at one point in time. With his career as a dentist taking flight, he got married to Lesley Clarke in 1983. Over the following eight years or so, the couple welcomed four children together and became members of the local Baptist Church.
In the late 1980s, the marriage between Colin and Lesley showed a few cracks as the former crossed paths with Hazel Stewart at swimming lessons in Ballymoney Leisure Centre. There was chemistry between the two from the get-go, which soon translated into an adulterous relationship by the summer of 1990. Sooner rather than later, in the same year, they reportedly ended up confessing about their extramarital affair to their respective spouses. As things intensified between Colin and Hazel, they plotted something sinister together, and in May 1991, the killer dentist handed some deadly sedatives to his lover to use them on her husband, Trevor Buchanan.
The next day, on May 19, 1991, Colin killed his wife Lesley. He then proceeded to transport the remains of both the bodies in the boot of his car under a blanket and a bicycle. Making the most of his father-in-law’s garage, he made the scene look like a joint suicide pact between Trevor and Lesley by leaving the car engine running with the help of a hose pipe. Later, Colin reported his wife missing to the church elders and guided them to his father-in-law’s house.
As the bodies of both Trevor and Lesley were found in a fume-filled car in Lesley’s father’s garage, the authorities closed the file on those murders by treating them as suicide. A few years after the murders, Colin and Hazel ended things with each other and went their separate ways. In December 1996, Colin met a New York native Kyle Jorgensen at a singles night at his home. Sparks flew between the two, and one thing led to another so fast that by February 1997, they got engaged and married in May of the same year.
During their marital period, Colin and Kyle gave birth to five children. Just a year or so into their marriage, the dentist decided to come clean to his then-wife and confessed to his involvement in the killings of his first wife and Hazel’s former husband while Kyle was feeding their baby son, Erik. He convinced her to keep it a secret for the sake of their children’s future. Many years later, Colin confessed to his role in the murder of Trevor and Lesley to elders in his church, who urged him to tell the same to the authorities and surrender. Acting on this suggestion, he walked into the police station and told the authorities everything, after nearly two decades of keeping it as a secret.
In the process, Colin even outed Hazel Stewart as he testified and gave some incriminating evidence against her. In hindsight, the investigators received heavy criticism from the public for overlooking several obvious evidence that strike out the possibility of suicide. For instance, the driver’s window was open with Trevor’s leg hanging out. Furthermore, a witness reported to the police that Colin had attempted to kill his wife previously.
Where is Colin Howell Now?
After his confession, Colin Howell pleaded guilty to the murders of Trevor Buchanan and Lesley Clarke on November 18, 2010, and received a life imprisonment sentence, having to serve at least 21 years in prison. In hopes of absolution, Colin also pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting nine female patients during his practicing years as a dentist. Right after his plea, he was stripped of his National Health Service pension. In January 2018, he found himself in the middle of another serious sexual assault allegation for which he was transferred from HMP Maghaberry to Laganside Court in Belfast temporarily.
When it comes to Colin’s accomplice and former lover, Hazel Stewart, she claimed that she was under pressure during the crimes. However, the jury found her equally guilty of murdering Lesley and Trevor, and in March 2011, she was sentenced to life in prison, having to serve a minimum of 18 years in jail. The fact that Hazel could have prevented the death of her then-husband, Trevor, was highlighted by the trial judge during her hearing.