Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 16:31 UK

Murder accused's family in US

Colin Howell
Dr Howell is charged with two murders and a string of sexual assaults

The wife and 10 children of a dentist facing a double murder charge have left NI for a new life in the US.

Mrs Kyle Howell, 43, has filed for divorce as part of plans to make a fresh start on the other side of the Atlantic where her parents live.

Her husband Dr Colin Howell, 50, is in custody charged with the murders 18 years ago of his first wife, Lesley, and his ex-lover's husband.

Divorce papers were lodged at the High Court in Belfast on Tuesday.

Dr Howell is understood to be on suicide watch in the prison hospital at Maghaberry, near Lisburn, County Antrim where he has been held since his arrest almost three months ago.

Three of the children are from his first marriage - an eldest son died in an accidental fall in Russia two years ago - and five from his second to US-born Kyle Howell.

She has two children from a previous marriage. The family's £500,000 home near Castlerock, County Londonderry, is also up for sale.


Dr Howell is charged with killing his wife Lesley and RUC officer Trevor Buchanan 18 years ago

She and Mr Buchanan were found dead in a fume-filled car in Castlerock in 1991.

It was first thought the pair had died as a result of a suicide pact.

Mr Howell is also facing a series of charges of indecently assaulting women as well as administering overpowering or stupefying drugs with intent to commit indecent assaults between March 1998 and December 2008.

Trevor Buchanan's former wife, Hazel Stewart, 45, from Coleraine, is also charged with the double murders.

She is on bail and is due to appear in court again in May.

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