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Hazel Stewart's husband David (left), son Andrew (second right) and daughter Lisa, leave Belfast Crown court, after Mrs. Stewart, was jailed for a minimum of 18 years Paul Faith/PA Wire
Stewart children

"We lost our Dad, now it feels like we're losing our Mum"

The children of the convicted murderer Hazel Stewart say they are “not taking any sides”, while her husband admits he questioned her about the killing many times.

THE CHILDREN OF the convicted murderer, Hazel Stewart, have told a BBC documentary that they’re not taking sides and will stand by their mum.

The 49-year-old former Sunday school teacher has been sentenced to life in prison for the murders of her husband, Trevor Buchanan, and Lesley Howell – the wife of her former lover, Colin Howell.

But despite the judge’s finding that she lacked even a “spark of compassion” for her husband, and felt no remorse, her children insist they do not accept her guilt.

Andrew Buchanan, who was just seven when his father was gassed to death in the family home, told the Spotlight programme:

We love our father and our mother… We are not taking any sides. We would not have wanted what happened to our Dad ever to happen. But we lost our dad and this nearly feels like we are going to lose our mum…We can’t move on. This is the beginning for us of our lives, trying to adapt to what is going to happen.

In the programme, Lisa tells how she felt “just sick” when she heard the guilty verdict.

‘I questioned her about it every day’: husband

Stewart’s second husband, David Stewart, said that when dentist Colin Howell confessed to the killings two years ago, he immediately questioned his wife about her involvement – but insists she was manipulated and controlled by Howell. She was “like a frightened rabbit”.

I had no doubt that I had to know what happened. It was not doing to be a comfortable ‘I didn’t do it, David’, and I accepted that…Over a period of at least a month, maybe longer, I asked Hazel questions. I am not going to say it was relentless. It might have been 10 minutes one day, it might have been an hour another day. But I asked her every question in every area that I could think of to get to the truth.

Colin Howell’s children have accepted their father’s guilt, the programme revealed.

Read: Sex, drugs, religion and murder >

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