Who was Helen Bailey, how was she murdered by Ian Stewart and what children's books did she write?

IAN Stewart stood to inherit a £3million fortune if he had got away with the callous murder of his novelist wife Helen Bailey.

He drugged and suffocated her before dumping her body in a cesspit that she once joked would be a “good place to hide a body”.

Who was Helen Bailey?

Helen Bailey, 51, was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and brought up in Northumberland.

She became a well-established author after writing the first of five books in the Crazy World of Electra Brown series in 2008.

She was nominated for a "Queen of Teen" award in 2010.

In total she published 22 books of short stories, picture books and young-adult fiction published.

In February 2011 her husband of 15 years John Sinfield drowned in a tragic swimming accident while on holiday in Barbados.

She wrote her first adult book in 2015, When Bad Things Happen In Good Bikinis, based on her grief.

It also detailed her relationship with GGHW – the Gorgeous Grey-Haired Widower – who was her future fiance Ian Stewart.

The couple were in a relationship for four years, and lived together for the last three.

Stewart's sons also lived with them but were not home on the day she vanished.

What happened to Helen Bailey?

Helen was reported missing in April 2016. Police believe she died on Monday, April 11.

Three months later police found her body, and that of her beloved miniature Dachshund Boris, in a cesspit below the garage of Ms Bailey's £1.5m Hertfordshire property.

Prosecutors said Ian, then 56, had administered an increasingly strong dose of sleeping drugs to his partner for up to three months.

Helen's mother told the court she felt "uneasy" about her relationship with Stewart – "mainly because of Helen's state of mind".

Eileen Bailey said her daughter was "spaced out" all the time.  She had walked out of a supermarket still clutching an item scanner, and left her dog on a beach.

She added: “She said when she was sitting at the computer she could not recognise her own hands – that was worrying.”

Stewart suffocated Helen in her drug-induced sleep in a "cynically executed murder".

Prosecutors said Stewart also killed her beloved dog Boris to make his claim that she had disappeared while walking the pet more credible, prosecutors said.

Playing the concerned fiance, he had flyers printed to help the search for her.

He later invented a ludicrous story that Helen had been kidnapped by thugs who then dumped the body at the house to frame him for her killing.

Home Office pathologist Dr Nat Cary told the jury at St Albans Crown Court that it was possible that Ms Bailey was still alive when she was thrown into the cesspit full of “human excrement”, albeit unconscious.

Helen Bailey’s brother John said that the author had joked about the cesspit being a good place to hide a body.

Talking about a visit to his sister's in August 2013, Mr Bailey said: “Helen mentioned there was an old well in the garage.

“I asked had they looked in it and I was told no, it wasn’t that kind of a well – I thought it was a wishing sort of a well.

“I didn’t know what its function was… but they said it wasn’t that kind of a well and then there was some banter, almost certainly instigated by Helen, that it was a good place to hide a body.”

He said that Stewart had been in full earshot of the conversation.

Who is Ian Stewart and what happened at his trial?

Ian Stewart, 56, is a former software engineer and father-of-two whose first wife Diane collapsed and died in the garden of their home in 2010.

It emerged after his trial that cops are re-examining Diane's sudden death in 2010 – initially put down to natural causes – over fears Stewart may have killed her too.

Stewart met Helen in an online group for widows and widowers, and won her trust with a "love bombing campaign" before plotting to steal her fortune.

In 2014, Mr Stewart and his two adult sons moved in with Helen at her home in Royston, Herts. He was the primary heir of her £3million fortune.

When she died he was in line to gain two homes, enough cash to ensure a “very comfortable” lifestyle, and pension and life insurance payments from his fiancee.



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After dumping her body, Stewart parked his car over the cover of the cesspit, distracting police from its existence, until they finally opened it three months after Ms Bailey had been reported missing.

Video of the moment he was arrested in his dressing gown reveals to stunned killer told cops "You're joking. I don't  understand."

Another video shows him taking a duvet to the tip the day after he killed the author in bed.

He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum 34-year sentence for murdering Ms Bailey.

Why are police investigating the death of his first wife?

Stewart’s first wife, Diane, was found dead on the back patio of the couple’s home with her “sudden, unexpected” death ruled as being caused by her epilepsy.

But the circumstances of her demise is being re-examined after Stewart was found guilty of killing Helen Bailey.

Diane died on June 25, 2010, in the garden of the home she shared with Stewart and their two sons in Bassingbourn, Cambs.

Her family revealed they harboured concerns about Diane’s death despite her death certificate stating the school secretary suffered a “sudden unexpected death in epilepsy” after an inquest.

In 2013, her sister Wendy Bellamy-Lee even flagged concerns that the family had, writing on social media: “We we’re (sic) and still are numb and completely shocked today as to why it happened with so many unanswered questions!”

DCI Jerome Kent of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, confirmed investigators would re-examine the case.

In August 2018 police arrested and questioned Stewart over his first wife's death.

He was quizzed on suspicion of her murder and released under investigation.

The arrest came almost a year after Stewart was sentenced to at least 34 years behind bars for the murder of Ms Bailey.

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