NewsCrime Desk

Couples who kill: Ireland's most gruesome twosomes

Catherine O'Connor
Catherine O'Connor

KILLER couples have created murderous mayhem, carrying out some of Ireland’s most evil and coldly-calculated killings. They are thankfully rare, but when the strange phenomenon occurs the results can be horrific. Motivated by love or lust, Ireland’s killer couples have carried out twisted and complex plots to satisfy their urge for blood.


Colin Howell (above) and Hazel Stewart committed the double murder of their own spouses in Coleraine, Co. Derry, in a plot so incredible it was made into a TV drama.

The dentist and his lover had been having an affair when they decided they would be better off without their married partners.

In an intricate plot, Colin killed Lesley Howell and Trevor Buchanan in 1991.

Lesley was first to die when she was drugged and fell asleep on the sofa.

Howell then attached a garden hosepipe to the car exhaust and ran it through the house to poison Lesley with carbon-monoxide fumes.

When she awoke he suffocated her.

He phoned his lover Hazel, who had drugged her husband with tranquilizers in a sandwich. Trevor woke in a daze, but was unable to fight off Howell, who again used the car exhaust fumes through a hosepipe to kill him.

He loaded the bodies into a car and drove to a secluded property and arranged it to appear as if they had been having an affair and had committed suicide.

Howell and Stewart appeared to have got away with the double killing and eventually moved on with their separate lives.

However, the truth came out in 2009 when a troubled Howell confessed to church elders and then to the police.

They were both jailed, although Hazel has maintained her innocence, claiming that she was forced to go along with the plot by her controlling lover.


Ciprian Grozavu (above) and Catherine O’Connor murdered two men in the same flat complex over 24 hours in 2011.

Neighbours had spotted a body being dumped into the River Bandon from a balcony and alerted the Gardaí.

The officers followed a trail of blood into a flat where they found O’Connor lying on a couch in just her underwear with blood on her hands and feet.

There was a huge pool of blood in the centre of the room.

Jonathan Duke’s body was immediately found in the river, tied up with electrical cables. He had been stabbed dozens of times.

Within hours investigators realised they were dealing with a double murder and discovered the body of O’Connor’s ex, John Forrester, also tied up and dumped in the river.

It later emerged that when O’Connor broke it off with him she moved in with Romanian national Grozanu in the same block of flats.

He launched the frenzied attack on Forrester after he had professed his love for the woman who wore a swastika tattoo on her face.

Duke was murdered 24 hours later when he became aware of Forrester’s death.

Both were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in jail.


In 2000, Julie McGinley (above with husband Gerry) had fallen in love with 44-year-old Michael Monaghan, a married man living in Co. Sligo. They enjoyed steamy romps in the car while parked near Enniskillen, where her husband’s furniture shop was based.

They made a botched attempt to get rid of her husband Gerry McGinley by planting drugs in his car and tipping off the Gardaí. They also tried to hire a hitman to do the job, but couldn’t raise enough cash for the contract.

In August that year the pair bludgeoned McGinley to death and then dumped his body in a shallow grave across the border in Leitrim.

People were suspicious when the couple were seen together and because Julie was in line for stg£300,000 life insurance pay out.

When McGinley’s body was found 10 months later it changed everything and police quickly uncovered the couple’s affair.

In a bizarre twist, it emerged that Gerry McGinley had been using his wife to lure wealthy people into have sex with her and then blackmailing them for cash.

After the sensational trial McGinley was dubbed ‘The Black Widow’.

She and Monaghan, who were told that they had to serve at least 15 years behind bars for the killing, have since been released.


Killer Rose Lynch (above) is serving life for the murder of innocent van driver David Darcy in 2011.

It was claimed that the murder was carried out in revenge for the murder of CIRA boss Liam Kenny – a totally false claim.

In reality, she did it for love.

Lynch didn’t act alone and at the time was infatuated with a man with a track record of dissident republican activities.

Besotted with the man, Lynch went along with the plot and never told investigating Gardaí if he had any role in the murder.

Lynch claimed that she had acted alone and had “emptied a handgun” as she shot David Darcy.

Judge Elizabeth Dunne said the incident could only be described as “a premeditated, calculated and cold-blooded murder”.

Darcy, who worked as a driver for a local butcher, was killed while sitting in his van at Cherry Orchard Avenue in November, 2011. 

The dead man’s family was also deeply upset by claims from the CIRA that the killing was a “military operation.”

Neither the man Lynch was obsessed with nor anyone else has ever been charged with the senseless killing. 

She has never expressed remorse for the murder. Lynch shouted out “Tiocfaidh ár lá” as she was led away from the dock by prison officers as members of Darcy’s family applauded the sentence.