Boyfriend convicted of murdering children’s author Helen Bailey and dumping her body in a cesspit below their £1.3m home appears in court charged with killing his wife six years earlier
- Ian Stewart, 59, was jailed for a minimum of 34 years in 2017 for the 2016 murder
- He dumped author’s body in a cesspit at the home they shared in Hertfordshire
- His first wife Diane died suddenly in 2010 and inquest found that it was epilepsy
- Police opened probe after Ms Bailey’s death and have charged him with murder
- Stewart will next appear at St Albans Crown Court on September 21
The man convicted of murdering children’s author Helen Bailey appeared in court today accused of killing his wife six years earlier.
Ian Stewart was jailed for life at St Albans Crown Court in 2017 after a jury convicted him of killing his 51-year-old partner, who wrote the Electra Brown series of books.
The couple lived in a large detached house in Royston, Hertfordshire, where, in July 2016, her remains were found in a cesspit under the mansion’s garage – four months after she vanished. She had been drugged and suffocated.
Today Stewart, now 59, has now been charged with the murder of his wife Diane Stewart, aged 47, in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire on June 25 2010. An inquest at the time concluded she died of natural causes as a result of epilepsy.
He made a brief appearance before Judge Michael Kay QC at St Albans Crown Court. No plea was taken. He told Ian Stewart he would be remanded in custody.
Ian Stewart was jailed for life at St Albans Crown Court in 2017 after a jury convicted him of killing his 51-year-old partner Helen Bailey, who wrote the Electra Brown series of books
Today Stewart (left), now 59, has now been charged with the murder of his wife Diane Stewart, 47, (right) in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire on June 25 2010.
The judge said there will be a plea hearing on Monday September 21. No date for a trial was set.
The prosecution asked for the judge to make a Contempt Order today, in an attempt to prevent a future jury knowing he had a previous conviction for murder.
Judge Michael Kay QC refused and said: ‘The view I take is that it (a Contempt Order) is not appropriate.
‘The first trial had such publicity, both in the written media and in the visual media, that it would be well nigh impossible to proceed with a trial without a warning to the jury.
‘I don’t think you could have a trial in Hertfordshire, or nationally, without mentioning the first case. I don’t see how this can be avoided.’
The couple lived in a large detached house in Royston, Hertfordshire, (pictured) where, in July 2016, her remains were found in a cesspit
Ms Bailey’s body was found in July 2016 after forensics were informed of a 15ft deep underground cesspit (pictured) tucked away under the floor of the garage. It had been installed to act as a ‘well’ by a previous owner who had joked to neighbour it was the ‘one place to hide a body’
Prosecutor Stuart Trimmer QC said: ‘The purpose of it (a contempt order) is to preserve the integrity of the process until a crown court judge decides on issues. ‘
Amjad Malik QC, defending, said: ‘We are neutral’. The judge said: ‘I am not going to make an order.’
Stewart’s first wife, Diane Stewart, died after collapsing in the garden of the couple’s home in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, in 2010.
An inquest at the time concluded she died of natural causes as a result of epilepsy but the death of Helen Bailey sparked a new investigation and her husband has now been charged with murder.
Stewart met Helen Bailey through a Facebook bereavement group, which he joined after his Diane died in 2010.
Ms Bailey, 51, left the bulk of her estate to her partner, who was jailed for a minimum of 34 years in 2017 after being found guilty of her killing.