A Northern Ireland dentist who is accused of murdering his wife and his ex-lover’s husband has also pleaded guilty to three counts of assaulting three woman at his surgery.

Colin Howell, 51, of Castlerock, Co Derry, denied 14 other charges of indecent assault against at least three other women.

Howell and his ex-lover, Hazel Stewart, 47, will stand trial next month accused of murdering their respective partners, who were found dead in a car filled with exhaust fumes in 1991.

Howell assaulted the patients between July and December 2008. Just weeks later, he was arrested for the murder of his wife, Lesley, and Trevor Buchanan.

Judge David Smyth, QC, had already ruled that none of the sexual assault victims could be named.

The murder trial is due to begin on November 22.

Howell is being detained at Maghaberry Prison while Stewart is out on bail.