US News Children's author Helen Bailey 'could have been killed by subtle means'

15:05  11 january  2017
15:05  11 january  2017 Source:   Press Association

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The fiance of missing children ’ s author Helen Bailey was released on bail last night after being arrested on suspicion of her murder. Police arrested Ian Stewart, 55, on Monday on suspicion of killing his partner, disposing of her body and stealing her money. The computer software expert, who has two sons, is thought to have travelled to Majorca on holiday at the beginning of June – a trip which was booked for himself and Miss Bailey before she vanished three months ago.

Fears grow for missing children ' s author Helen Bailey . Helen Bailey , 51, is best known for her children ’ s books, cheerful early-teen fiction about a girl called Electra Brown (her dad is having a mid-life crisis, her little brother has been caught shoplifting, even the “guinea pig’s gone mental. But despite life going pear-shaped around her, all Electra can think of is whether green eyeliner complements or clashes with blue eyes!”).

Children's author Helen Bailey © Hertfordshire police Children's author Helen Bailey Children's author Helen Bailey could have been put in a martial arts neck lock while drugged and then suffocated, a court has heard.

The body of the successful 51-year-old writer was found alongside that of her beloved dachshund Boris submerged in "human excrement" deep below her lavish property in Royston, Hertfordshire, in July 2016, a jury at St Albans Crown Court was told.

Her fiance, Ian Stewart, 56, of Baldock Road, Royston, is accused of drugging and killing her, before dumping her body in a cesspit at the home they shared.

He denies charges of murder, preventing a lawful burial, fraud and three counts of perverting the cause of justice.

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Police officers search a wooded close to the home of missing children ' s author Helen Bailey Credit: PA. And in a recent blog post, she wrote that things had “ been difficult” and said: “It continues to be an anxious and challenging time.” We are surrounded by fields here so she could be anywhere.” Mrs Bailey was last seen on April 11 when she was seen out walking with her dachshund Boris. She vanished just weeks after the fifth anniversary of the death of her husband John Sinfield, 65, who drowned when he was caught in a rip tide while on holiday in Barbados.

Police investigating the disappearance of author Helen Bailey have found remains at her home. The 51-year-old best-selling children ’ s author was last seen walking her dog near home in Royston on April 11. In full: Chilling texts from girl who 'encouraged boyfriend to kill himself'. Wife ripped open husband’s scrotum by lifting him up by his testicles using her fingernails. More trending stories ».

The court was told by Home Office pathologist Dr Nat Cary that, although there were no “obvious” signs of physical injury, the sedative Zopiclone was found in her system.

The sleep drug had been prescribed to Stewart, but hair analysis suggested it had been in Ms Bailey's system for several months, including at the time she died.

Although the cause of death was "undetermined", Dr Cary said a sedated Ms Bailey could have been killed without visual injuries by more "subtle" means.

He said: "Subtle modes of death include smothering and compression of the neck by means including an arm lock, using the crook of the elbow … also called a sleeper hold, it is used in certain martial arts to reduce consciousness.

Court artist sketch of Ian Stewart at St Albans Crown Court where he is accused of killing his partner, children's author Helen Bailey (Elizabeth Cook/PA): Helen Bailey murder © PA WIRE Helen Bailey murder "That is another possibility to consider."

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The body of the missing children ' s author Helen Bailey was found in a septic tank in the grounds of her own home, a court has been told. Ms Bailey was last seen walking her pet dachshund on April 11 and her body was found in a septic tank in her garden along with the remains of her pet dog on Friday. Tributes left outside the home of Helen Bailey in Royston, Hertfordshire. He spoke via video link from HMP Bedford wearing a grey T-shirt and could be seen shaking his head often during the eight-minute hearing.

But on cross-examination by defence counsel Russell Flint QC, he said this was only speculation.

He added: "I am not (sure) but, on the basis of the case as a whole, it is my opinion that not only was she concealed by a third party but it seems likely she died at the hands of the third party by some means."

Jurors were told it was possible that Ms Bailey had consumed the drug unknowingly, but Dr Cary later said he could not know for sure.

It is alleged that the killing had "money as its driving motive", with Stewart in line to be a "substantial" benefactor of the author’s £4 million fortune in the event of her death.

On Tuesday, the court heard that Ms Bailey had become concerned about feeling unnaturally sleepy in the weeks leading up to her death.

She used a search engine to look up terms including "can't stop falling asleep" and told her family she felt forgetful.

A statement from her mother, Eileen Bailey, read to the court said: "She would say 'Mum, I don't even recognise my own hands' when she was sitting at the computer."

Prosecutor Stuart Trimmer QC said: "The reason, the Crown says, is quite clearly because she was being fed Zopiclone."

Zopiclone was prescribed to Stewart for insomnia, which would have made Ms Bailey easy to kill "with little or no resistance", jurors were told on the opening day of the trial.

During a post-mortem examination, traces of the drug were found to have been in her body as early as February 2016.

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