Fiance who murdered kids' author Helen Bailey for £4m fortune 'rowed with first wife just days before he killed her too'

A HUSBAND who murdered his fiancee rowed with his first wife just days before he also killed her, a court heard today.

Ian Stewart, 61, allegedly killed Diane Stewart, 47, on the patio of the home she shared with him and their two sons in Bassingbourn, Cambs, in 2010.

An inquest concluded the school secretary suffered a "sudden unexplained death through epilepsy".

But Huntingdon Crown Court was told a pathologist found the death was most likely caused by "a prolonged restriction of her breathing from an outside source".

Jurors heard in a "stroke of fortune", Diane had donated her brain with tests showing she was either suffocated or strangled in the hour before her death.

Stewart and Diane's son James told the court today how he heard "raised voices" between his parents the week his mother died.

He said he "couldn't hear what was being spoken about" but told jurors the couple arguing "wasn't a regular thing".

Jurors were told jobless Stewart was convicted in 2017 of murdering his millionaire partner Helen Bailey, who was worth £4million.

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The couple met in a Facebook bereavement group, which Stewart joined after Diane died.

The remains of the children's author were discovered in a cesspit full of human excrement alongside her beloved pet dog Boris in April 2016.

Helen wrote the successful Crazy World of Electra Brown series and published 22 books of short stories, picture books and young-adult fiction.

It later emerged she had been drugged with sleeping medication before she was killed.

Police officers and scientists began re-examining Diane's death after that "particularly callous crime", it was said.

The court was told he was at home with his wife alone on the day she died and no one else had seen her that morning.

Stewart called an ambulance saying he had returned home from Tesco to find his wife unresponsive and not breathing.


When paramedics arrived at the home, they discovered Diane without a heartbeat, jurors heard.

There was also no evidence Stewart had left the house on the day she fatally collapsed, the court was told.

He also gave "differing accounts" of what happened and where he had been, it was said.

The couple's other son Oliver, who was 15 at the time, told the court he originally believed his dad was ill when he arrived home to find ambulances outside.

Breaking down, he described how he identified his mother's body and gave her "one last kiss".

He added: "She had foam coming out of her mouth."

Oliver also told the court his dad was "in bits" and described their relationship as "loving, caring, kind, family-orientated".

After her death, Stewart went out to buy a sports car and began embarking on new relationships.

Mr Trimmer said his behaviour was "hard to square with the conduct of a grieving husband".

Diane's sister Wendy Bellamy-Lee told the court previously she asked the coroner for more details of her death after it was ruled epilepsy was to blame.

She said when she revealed what she had done to Stewart, he was "really really cross".

Wendy added: "Ian said ‘you don’t need to know… that I had no right to do it, that it was not my right – he thought it was not my business.

"I think he put the phone down on me. He said it was inexcusable what I had done and he just put the phone down.

“I had my own suspicions, I needed to try to calm them and get them out of the way but it did not, it made them greater.”


Wendy also claimed her brother-in-law was "very calm" at Diane's funeral and remained in the background.

Diane's remains were cremated but her brain was donated to medical research and brain tissue was also kept.

Scientists were able to use this to find her chances of dying from epilepsy were more than one in 100,000, it was said.

The court was told she had not suffered a seizure for 18 years and it was an "extremely low" chance her "mild" epilepsy killed her.

Her brain also showed evidence of ischemia – when the brain is starved of oxygen for up to an hour, jurors were told.

Mr Trimmer said: “Helen Bailey’s murder is significant in this instance.

“Of particular significance is that he murdered a partner. He murdered her at home, in a home he shared with her.

“He murdered her at a time both his sons were absent.

“He murdered her mid-morning and murdered her by restricting breathing, probably by a choke hold.

“And he showed a willingness to cover up the murder.”

The trial continues.

If you have been affected by anything in this article, call the 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

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