James Nesbitt's 2016 series The Secret has landed on Netflix, leading to many viewers discovering the crime series for the first time – which is based on the real-life double murder of Lesley Howell and Trevor Buchanan. Find out more about what really happened here…
The series is based on Let This Be Our Secret, journalist Deric Henderson's account of a double murder that took place in Castlerock, Londonderry in Northern Ireland back in 1991.
WATCH: Have you watched The Secret yet?
James plays dentist Colin Howell, who is assisted by his mistress Hazel Stewart, a Sunday school teacher, in murdering their respective spouses before making their deaths look like a suicide pact. Lesley was found wearing headphones while holding photos of her four children with Trevor in a car filled with exhaust fumes.
James plays Colin in the series
Colin and Hazel got away with the double murder – which was ruled as suicide – for 18 years before Colin confessed the crime to the police.
Colin lost £350,000 of the £400,000 pay out from his wife's death in a get-rich-quick scheme, and struggled with the death of his son. After being arrested, he said that he thought they were a punishment. After confessing to the police, he pleaded guilty to the murders in 2010 and was sentenced to a minimum 21-year jail term, while Hazel was sentenced to 18 years.
Hazel was sentenced to 18 years in prison
Lesley and Colin's daughter Lauren Bradford has slammed the show for "exploiting a tragedy," writing in The Guardian: "The character of my mum… is depicted as no more than a down-trodden housewife. It fails to capture her ambition and drive, her wicked sense of humour, her thoughtfulness and warmth.
"The reality of murder is devoid of eerie music or close-ups, just devastation and sorrow: first for the murders themselves, then for a justice process that strips them of control, and finally for the unnecessary sensationalisation of events in the aftermath. Truth is replaced with 'good enough truth'; embellished and rewritten for entertainment."
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