Former Sunday school teacher Hazel Stewart was sentenced to a minimum of 18-years in Belfast Crown Court today for murdering her husband as well as her lover’s wife almost 20 years ago.

Hazel Stewart and her lover Colin Howell drugged their spouses before leaving them in a fume-filled garage in the town of Castlerock – making it look like a suicide pact.

Not until Colin Howell confessed to the murders of his wife Lesley and Trevor Buchanan, the husband of Hazel Stewart, two years ago, were the events treated as a murder case.

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Mr Howell is already in jail serving a 21-year sentence after pleading guilty to the crimes last year.

Hazel Stewart today had to face the judge for her alleged involvement in the murders.

Judge Anthony Hart said: “I consider that she has expressed little real remorse for what she did, rather the sorrow and regret which she expressed to the police was largely because of the situation in which she found herself, and not for the events in which she played her part,” he said.

Hart also said that Colin Howell due to his confession of the crimes, had been given a leaner sentence for the murders (21 instead of 28-years behind bars).

Hart noted: “Hazel Stewart cannot claim any such reduction in the minimum term to be imposed in her case because she pleaded not guilty.”