The conviction of Hazel Stewart for murdering her husband brings no sense of victory or celebration, his brother said tonight.
Trevor Buchanan’s brother Gordon said relatives had been in mourning since his death in 1991 and nothing would bring him or Colin Howell’s wife Lesley back.
“While there is immense satisfaction that justice for Trevor has finally been achieved, there is no sense of victory and no cause for celebration as nothing can bring Trevor and Lesley back to us and all families connected to this matter have been grievously impacted.
“But the Buchanan family will strive to get through this. We owe that much to Trevor, it is his memory and our love for him that will sustain us and stay with us forever.”
He said it was a day of mixed emotions.
He added: “Our thoughts are first and foremost with Trevor, who was brutally taken from us in 1991.
“We think too of Lesley Howell, who was also murdered and along with Trevor became a victim of a prolonged conspiracy to cover up what happened to two young people who were caring and loving towards their families and are deeply missed by everyone.
“The Buchanan family has been in mourning since Trevor’s death in 1991 and our grief and sadness has been accentuated by the shock of knowing how they died.”
The statement on behalf of all the family thanked police and lawyers for showing the highest standards of professionalism, as well as everybody else who supported them.
Minutes after Mr Buchanan delivered the family statement, Mrs Howell's relatives, who sat among them during the four-week trial, emerged from the court to express their thoughts.
Her daughter, Lauren Bradford, who is still in contact with her father, Colin Howell, paid emotional tribute to her memory.
“We mourn our mother, Lesley, and are pained at the time and the memories that we have been so denied,” she said as relations, including Mrs Howell’s brother, Christopher Clarke, stood beside her.
“We rejoice in the contribution our mum made to our lives in the short time we had together. We know her to have been a loving, devoted mother, and we bitterly regret the horrible way in which she was taken from us.
“Our thoughts, at this time, are also with the Buchanan family, who share our loss.”
Mr Clarke said he hoped the statement also reflected the feelings of Mrs Howell’s son, Matthew, who died in an accident in 2007.
“As a family we are comforted that those involved in Lesley and Trevor’s murders have finally been brought to justice,” he added.