A a large-scale operation was launcehd and taking three months following the disappearance of his fiancé Helen Bailey, Ian Stewart painted the picture of a man consumed by worry.
Driven by greed , the plot to inherit her fortune, Ian Stewart secretly spent months giving the Electra Brown writer increasing amounts of a sleeping drug, Zopiclone, later it was detected in her body and hair.
The court heard how Helen had been concerned in the weeks before her death that she was feeling unusually sleepy. In the time leading up to her death Helen Bailey had made a number of searches on the internet asking ‘why do I keep falling asleep’, ‘falling asleep in the afternoon’ and ‘can’t stop falling asleep’.
She was dragged into a foul cesspit hidden deep below the garage of their luxury Hertfordshire home, where her body lay undiscovered for three months. He had parked a car over this small entrance and never mentioned its existence to officers.
A pillowcase found next to the author's body led the prosecution to suggest Stewart used a pillow to smother her while she was sedated.
Following a six-week trial at St Albans Crown Court, the jury of five women and seven men found Stewart, 56, of Baldock Road, Royston, Hertfordshire, guilty of murder, fraud, three counts of perverting the course of justice and preventing a lawful burial.
"She was being grossly deceived by someone who was preying on her," prosecutor Stuart Trimmer told his trial.
“Stewart was linked to Helen’s disappearance by mobile phone and computer evidence and CCTV." He was texting Helen’s phone and emailed her as though she had gone missing when he was in fact in possession of her phone.
His car was seen on CCTV with what is believed to be a duvet and boxes to the tip.
Detective Chief Inspector Jerome Kent from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, who led the murder investigation said: “Ian Stewart is a cold and calculated man who is clearly extremely manipulative. Not only did he kill Helen he placed her body and that of her beloved dog Boris in a cesspit. These are the actions of a truly wicked man. I am sure there was a significant level of pre-planning by Ian Stewart whose main motivation was money.
“Since his report to police on April 15 that Helen was missing, he has told a significant number of lies to her family and friends, his own family and to police and continued those lies when he gave evidence in court.
“I would like to thank Helen’s family who have remained dignified throughout despite Ian Stewart’s elaborate story and continuing charade. He allowed Helen no dignity and whilst the right decision has been made by the jury, I am sure this will be of little comfort to Helen’s loved ones. Our thoughts remain with them, Ian Stewart’s family and Helen’s friends.”
This case represents a tragedy for Helen’s family and friends who have been devastated by her death.
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