NI woman appeals double killing conviction
on 21/01/2013 08:18:54
The former Sunday School teacher from the North was jailed in 2011 for planning the killings with ex-dentist Colin Howell. Mother-of-two Stewart is serving a minimum of 18 years in a prison in Belfast.
Trevor Buchanan and Lesley Howell were murdered in County Derry in 1991.
Mr Buchanan, 32, and Mrs Howell, 31, were found dead in a fume-filled garage in Castlerock surrounded by family photographs in May 1991.
Police originally believed it was a suicide pact after realising their partners were having an affair.
But they were murdered with car exhaust emissions piped into their rooms as they slept, Mrs Howell crying for her son Matthew as she struggled for breath. Their bodies were arranged by Howell in the car to make it appear they had taken their own lives.
It took nearly two decades for the truth to emerge when Howell, 52, dramatically confessed to both killings, pleading guilty in 2010. He is serving a minimum of 21 years in prison.
Howell implicated his former lover Stewart in the plot and gave evidence against her during her trial.
In March 2011, a jury at Coleraine Crown Court found Stewart guilty on two counts of murder.
She knew about the plan in advance and actively facilitated her husband's killing by ensuring he was drugged and allowing Colin Howell into her home, the prosecution said.
She also disposed of evidence including the hose pipe used to gas their spouses.