Stewart legal bill ‘over £75,000’

Hazel Stewart, leaves Coleraine Crown Court this afternoon in day 14 of her murder trial.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

Hazel Stewart, leaves Coleraine Crown Court this afternoon in day 14 of her murder trial.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

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DOUBLE murderer Hazel Stewart’s legal bill will be in excess of £75,000, The Coleraine Times can reveal.

The estimated figure was contained in a written answer to a question by DUP South Antrim MLA Paul Girvan.

Mr Givan asked the Minister of Justice, David Ford, whether the mother-of--two is receiving legal aid, and if so, to detail the cost to date.

Mr Ford replied: “The Legal Services Commission has advised that Hazel Stewart was granted criminal legal aid by the courts for legal representation in the Magistrates’ Court and in the Crown Court.

“The bills for legal representation in the Magistrates’ Court have been assessed and paid and the total costs were £13,135.10 (excluding VAT of £2,298.64).

“The Commission has not received any bills for assessment for the Crown Court trial. Provisional estimates suggest that the cost is unlikely to be less than £62,000 (including VAT).”

Earlier this month, Stewart, 48, was found guilty of the murders of her former husband, RUC Constable, Trevor Buchanan and the wife of her ex-lover, Lesley Howell. She will be sentenced in Belfast this Wednesday.