Ian Stewart, 'wicked' killer of children's author Helen Bailey, gets 34 years in prison

The "wicked" fiancee of the children's author whose body was found in a cesspit has been jailed for a minimum of 34 years.

Ian Stewart, 56, spent weeks poisoning Helen Bailey with prescription sedatives before smothering her in a "heinous" plot motivated by greed last year.

The 51-year-old Electra Brown writer was dragged into the tank of filth deep below the couple's luxury home, where she remained hidden for three months.

Her devoted dachshund Boris was found dead at her side.

Following a seven-week trial at St Albans Crown Court in England, Judge Andrew Bright sentenced the murderous computer expert, who refused to attend the hearing, to life with a minimum term of 34 years.

He said: "I am firmly of the view that you currently pose a real danger to women with whom you form a relationship."

Ian Stewart

A jury found Stewart, of Baldock Road, Royston, Hertfordshire, guilty in a unanimous verdict of murder, fraud, preventing a lawful burial and three counts of perverting the course of justice.

He is likely to "end his days behind bars" due to a litany of health problems which have dogged him for decades, his defence counsel said on Wednesday.

The judge told Stewart: "Whilst we will never know whether you may have had some additional motive for killing the woman who loved you and wanted to be your wife, I am in no doubt this is a clear case of a murder done in the expectation of gain with aggravating features which make it difficult to imagine a more heinous crime."

For months, Stewart spun a complex tale of deception about the disappearance of his bride-to-be, whom he claimed had abruptly left for "space".

His deceit culminated with a fantastical tale of a kidnap plot by two men named Nick and Joe, whom he blamed for Ms Bailey's death.

A court sketch of Ian Stewart during the trial.

He first met the vulnerable widow on a Facebook group for the bereaved in 2011, showering her with affection to win his way into her trust, later her multimillion-pound estate.

After the pair moved into a £1.5 million home together, he slowly began slipping her his prescription anti-insomnia medication.

Then, once she had been stupefied by the drugs, he killed her on April 11 last year.


More in this Section

Man held over ‘attempt to lure six-year-old girl from Christmas fair with sweets’

In pictures: Festive fun as crowds descend on London for Santacon

Donald Trump's chief of staff to leave post at end of year

Almost 1,000 in custody as French police use tear gas in effort to quell protests


Lifestyle

Personal trainers and nutritionists reveal their simple secrets to a healthier Christmas

Live the green dream and let plants take root in your home

Sleep tight, baby: A bed system you can use from birth to 10 years old

Wish List: Festive stocking choices for Christmas shoppers

More From The Irish Examiner