Killer dentist Colin Howell not to be charged with alleged sex offences against ex-lover Hazel Stewart

Killer dentist Colin Howell is not to be charged with any sexual offences against his ex-lover Hazel Stewart, it was revealed on Monday.

he Public Prosecution Service took the decision after reviewing claims that he sedated and subjected her to serious assaults.

It represents a blow for any attempt by 58-year-old Stewart to mount a fresh appeal over her own conviction for double murder.

Her lawyers confirmed they are seeking an immediate review of the decision.

The former Sunday School teacher is serving at least 18 behind bars for her role in killing her police officer husband and Howell’s wife.

The bodies of Lesley Howell, 31, and Constable Trevor Buchanan, 32, were found in a fume-filled garage in Castlerock, Co Derry in May 1991.

Police originally believed they had died in a suicide pact after discovering their partners were having an affair.

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Hazel Stewart is serving a minimum of 18 years for the double murder


Hazel Stewart is serving a minimum of 18 years for the double murder

Hazel Stewart is serving a minimum of 18 years for the double murder

Nearly two decades passed before Howell, 61, suddenly confessed to both murders.

He pleaded guilty in 2010 and was given a minimum 21-year sentence. He implicated Stewart in the plot and went on to give evidence against her at her trial.

Howell is also serving a separate sentence for sexually assaulting five female patients while they were under sedation at his dental surgery in Ballymoney, Co Antrim.

He committed those offences over a 10-year period from 1998 and 2008.

In April 2018 detectives questioned him about further alleged historical sexual assaults and sent a file to the PPS.

Stewart’s lawyers later confirmed she was the complainant and had waived her right to anonymity.

Since being convicted she has failed in a series of attempts to have the verdicts overturned.

If Howell had been charged and ultimately found guilty of sexually assaulting her, it could have opened up a potential new ground of appeal, based on claims that she was at all times under his control.

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Colin Howell did not attend his father’s funeral


Colin Howell did not attend his father’s funeral

Colin Howell did not attend his father’s funeral

Instead, however, a decision has been taken not to prosecute.

In a letter to Stewart’s legal representatives, the PPS said it has concluded there is insufficient evidence for a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction.

Her solicitor, Kevin Winters, confirmed she is contesting the reasons for the no prosecution direction.

“Firstly, she rejects absolutely the suggestion made by Howell that she consented to sedation for the purposes of sexual activity,” he said.

“Secondly she asserts that at all times she has been consistent in her allegations made to police.”

Mr Winters added: “Our client is concerned that the decision not to prosecute may have been motivated to block any future application by her to challenge her double murder conviction.

“We have asked the PPS to review this decision immediately and expect to receive confirmation details on the Review process as soon as possible.”

In a statement the PPS confirmed

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Affimed and NKMax America to Study the Combination of AFM24, an EGFR-Targeted Innate Cell Engager, with SNK01 Natural Killer Cell Therapy

  • Proof of Concept study to establish safety and recommended dose of Affimed’s innate cell engager (ICE®) AFM24 in combination with NKMax America’s Natural Killer (NK) cells in solid tumors

  • Pre-clinical data substantiates synergy between Affimed’s ICE® molecules and both NKMax America’s autologous and cryopreserved allogeneic NK cell therapy products

Heidelberg, Germany, and Santa Ana, California, October 20, 2020 – Affimed N.V. (NASDAQ: AFMD) and NKMax America Inc., both clinical stage biotech companies focused on harnessing the power of the body’s innate immune system, announced today that they entered into a clinical collaboration agreement to investigate the combination of AFM24, a CD16A/EGFR-targeted ICE®, with the autologous NK cell product SNK01. Pursuant to the collaboration, the companies plan to explore the combination in a first-in-human proof-of-concept (POC) trial in patients with EGFR-expressing tumors. The agreement follows a previous collaboration between the two companies in the preclinical setting to better understand the combined activity of their respective platforms. The results of the preclinical collaboration have shown substantive synergy between Affimed’s ICE® molecules and NKMax America’s autologous and cryopreserved allogeneic natural killer cell products.

Under the agreement, the companies will contribute their respective product candidates and resources towards submitting an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a subsequent clinical trial. The clinical trial will combine NKMax America’s SNK01 (enhanced natural killer cells) with AFM24 in the autologous setting with the option to expand the clinical trial to the allogeneic setting. The cost of the clinical study will be shared by Affimed and NKMax America. The agreement also provides for the opportunity to pursue further clinical study combinations with additional product candidates from both parties.

NKMax America has developed a proprietary NK cell expansion and activation technology platform which allows it to produce unprecedented commercial amounts of autologous and allogeneic NK cells from numerous donors that have near total expression of activating receptors like CD16A, NKG2D, NKp30 and NKp46. In addition, its unique technology increases the cytotoxicity of the expanded NK cells by nearly 8000 percent. In addition, the SNK01 product does not require lymphodepletion or cytokine support.

Using its ROCK® (Redirected Optimized Cell Killing) platform, Affimed has developed a novel pipeline of ICE® products. AFM24, a tetravalent, bispecific epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)- and CD16A-binding ICE®, is unique due to its activation of innate immunity to kill solid tumors, inducing both antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP), whereas other EGFR-directed therapies rely heavily on signal transduction inhibition. A first-in-human Phase 1/2a open-label, non-randomized, multi-center, multiple ascending dose escalation/expansion study is underway evaluating AFM24 as monotherapy in patients with advanced solid EGFR-expressing malignancies whose disease has progressed after treatment with previous anticancer therapies.

“We believe combining ICE® molecules generated from our ROCK® platform with adoptive NK cell transfer can improve patient outcomes by ensuring patients have active and viable innate cells to be directed to the tumor and induce cytotoxic killing. In addition,

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