Fresh plea to trace murder-charge dentist's patients

Detectives today launched a new appeal in a bid to trace ex-patients of dentist Colin Howell who is facing a double murder as well as accusations of drugging and indecently assaulting four women.

Detectives today launched a new appeal in a bid to trace ex-patients of dentist Colin Howell who is facing a double murder as well as accusations of drugging and indecently assaulting four women.

It is the second time they have asked former patients to come forward.

Howell (aged 50) and his former lover Hazel Stewart (aged 45), who has also been charged with the murders of their ex-partners are due back in the dock of North Antrim Magistrates Court in Coleraine, Co. Derry next Monday.

Mother-of-two Lesley Howell, 31, and Mrs Stewart’s policeman husband at the time, Constable Trevor Buchanan, 32, were found dead in a car filled with carbon monoxide fumes at Castlerock in May 1991. It was thought they were the victims of some sort of suicide pact.

The car was parked in a garage behind the home of Mrs Howell’s father, retired company director Henry Clarke who died suddenly just days earlier.

But in late January detectives re-opened the investigation into the deaths. The file on Mr Clarke’s death has also been re-opened.

Howell is on suicide watch and under close medical supervision in the prison hospital suffering from serious depression and stress at Maghaberry, near Lisburn, Co. Antrim where he has been on remand.

His wife Kyle and the couple’s 10 children have left the family home at Glebe Road, Castlerock to begin a new life in the United States after she filed for a divorce.

In March police investigating alleged serious crime which they say, may have occurred at Howell’s dental implant clinics over the years at Ballymoney, Co. Antrim and at Bangor West, Co. Down between 2003 and 2008 wrote to former patients.

Howell is facing separate charges between March 1998 and December 2008 of drugging and indecently assaulting the four women.

Police said any contact with former patients would be treated with the strictest confidentiality.

A statement said: “The investigation does not involve any other member of staff at the clinics. Officers contacted patients to ask them if they have any information that may assist the enquiry team or if they have concerns.

“A number of individuals came forward and today’s renewed appeal is to ensure that every possible step has been taken to identify all victims in this part of the investigation.”

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