At 9pm tonight (Friday), ITV begins a four-part dramatisation of the murders committed by a devout Northern Ireland Christian, Colin Howell, above, who killed his first wife, along with the husband of his mistress.
Howell, according to this report, told his second wife Kyle Jorgensen about the murders but swore her to secrecy.
The astonishing story of betrayal, violence and perversion – Howell sexually abused sedated patients – is told in the drama, which stars James Nesbitt as Howell.
Kyle – a New Yorker – said of Howell:
He abused patients, he is a compulsive liar, he was an adulterer in our marriage and murdered two people.
Everyone thought he was this great Christian guy but they were so wrong. He was a monster.
Kyle had moved to the UK partly to rid herself of the memory of a violent three-year marriage to her first husband. She had two kids.
She threw herself back into education, attended the University of Ulster and joined a local church in Castlerock, County Derry, where she was introduced to Howell, then a father of four, at Bible study in December 1996.
The dentist and his lover – played on screen by Genevieve O’Reilly – wanted their partners dead so they could set up home together. But they split after five years and Howell met Kyle.
They wed within five months and she soon fell pregnant with the first of their five children.
I really looked up to him as a teacher. His biblical knowledge was amazing. He knew it all, but the faith I believe he’s been living is really very hypocritical. He would preach on what kind of people we ought to be, about sexual immorality.
This was going on for years. I had no idea. He could do it right to your face. He was very deceptive.
For the next ten years the revered Sunday School teacher bullied Kyle into keeping his secret, blackmailing her into thinking she must not utter a word for the sake of their children – or he would take his own life.
Confused, frightened and alone, Kyle tried to tell members of her church. But Howell was so respected among them that one church elder told her:
I don’t want to hear it.
It was only in 2009 and after a string of conflicts that Kyle forced Howell to confess.
He is now serving a minimum 21 years after admitting gassing his first wife Lesley, 31, and policemanTrevor Buchanan, 32, husband of his lover.
He told Kyle, now 50, how he used a garden hose connected to the exhaust of his Renault car to kill them nearby Coleraine in 1991. He made the deaths looked like a double suicide.
Kyle also discovered that throughout their marriage Howell had been sexually abusing sedated women under his care at his surgery in Ballymoney, Country Antrim.
She also claimed that he became addicted to pornography.
Howell’s deceitful life finally unravelled after he lost £350,000 in a “get-rich quick” scam in the Philippines.
He had netted £212,446 from Lesley’s will, £27,000 from the estate of her father, a £120,000 life insurance payout and a £54,635 endowment policy.
Howell admitted everything to church elders and police in January 2009 after Kyle told him:
You will confess. You will never be a free person unless you confess and be really honest.
The killer has another 16 years to serve before he can apply for parole.
His former lover, Hazel Stewart, nee Buchanan, 53, who remarried after their split, got 18 years for her part in the murders.