300 ‘A risk taker’ who liked living on the edge

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Colin Howell was a compulsive risk taker who loved to live life on the edge.

He told consultant psychiatrist Dr Helen Harbinson during one of six interviews she conducted with him in Magheraberry Prison between May 2009 and April 2010 that his behaviour was often uncontrollably reckless.

“He told me he likes to live on the edge,” said Dr Harbinson in one report.

“If bungee jumping and parachuting had been available in his youth he would have enjoyed participating. He was a dare devil to the point of being unwise.

“He described how he went to see Niagara Falls when he was 20 with some friends. He jumped over a safety barrier and crawled along a ledge to get a closer view of the Falls.

“He got a real buzz from this. He did not think of the danger then and had no regard for the consequences.

“It was his recklessness that cost him all his savings in the Philippines. He lost £350,000 in a scam shortly before Christmas 2008.

“He flew to the Philippines to confront the man who had defrauded him. On the way back on the plane he realised that he was a fraud too.

“He would see himself as solitary rather than a team player. In his business he preferred to make decisions himself rather than having to rely on others. He would however he a high-risk taker which he regards as a weakness in business.

“He took more physical risks when he was a younger man. He enjoyed the thrill that afforded. When he looks at his behaviour now with the benefit of hindsight he regards it as foolish.”