Home where children’s author was murdered goes on market for £1.4m

Home where best-selling children’s author Helen Bailey was murdered and her body dumped in a cesspit by her fiance goes on market for £1.4m

  • Ian Stewart, 56, was jailed for a minimum of 34 years in 2017 for the 2016 murder
  • He dumped her body in a cesspit at the home they shared in Hertfordshire
  • That home is now being marketed by Radcliffe and Rust in Cambridge
  • Estate agents say the home offers a ‘wealth of potential for the right buyer’
  • But although it has been updated in parts ‘it is also in need of some TLC’ 

The house where best-selling children’s writer Helen Bailey was murdered and her body dumped in a cesspit  by her fiance has gone on the market for £1.4m.

Estate agency photos showing the spacious five-bedroom home at Royston Heath, Herts, have gone online.

They include images of the double garage where the body of Helen Bailey, 51, was concealed after she was drugged and smothered to death.

The property is also the scene where Helen’s fiance Ian Stewart was confronted by police after being rumbled over his plot to get his hands on her £4m fortune.

In February last year, Ian Stewart (right), 56, was jailed for a minimum of 34 years after being found guilty of Helen Bailey’s (left) murder

The couple met in October 2011 and lived in Hartwell Lodge (pictured) for three years after buying it together in 2013. The detached Edwardian property is said to offer a ‘wealth of potential for the right buyer’

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’

The five-bedroom house in Royston has gone on the market for £1.4million. Agents Radcliffe and Rust say the property ‘has been updated in parts, but is also in need of certain amount of TLC’

However, there is no mention in the agent’s particulars of the murder of Helen and her pet dog Boris which took place inside the property.

The detached Edwardian ‘Hartwell Lodge’ has now been put up for sale, claiming to offer a ‘wealth of potential for the right buyer’.


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Agents Radcliffe and Rust say the property ‘has been updated in parts, but is also in need of certain amount of TLC’.

It boasts stunning views over nearby Royston Heath, a large conservatory and outdoor swimming pool – and the spacious double garage where the author was found dead. 

Ms Bailey, 51, left the bulk of her estate to her partner Ian Stewart, 56, who was jailed for a minimum of 34 years last year after being found guilty of her murder. 

He will not get a penny because killers cannot inherit from their victims.

Stewart (pictured) secretly started drugging Helen with zopiclone, a sleeping medication he had been prescribed before reporting her missing in April 2016

But questions have been raised over how much money his children Jamie, 24, and Oliver 21, will inherit – as they were named in Ms Bailey’s will as ‘discretionary beneficiaries’.

Financial adviser Tony Hurley is the sole executor with the power to divide up the money into other trusts. When contacted by MailOnline today he would not comment on who would benefit from the sale of the property. 

Stewart met Ms Bailey in October 2011. They lived in Hartwell Lodge for three years after buying it together in 2013.

Ms Bailey wrote about rebuilding her life following the death of her first husband, John Sinfield, who drowned on holiday in Barbados in February 2011.

In her blog, Planet Grief, she described meeting Ian Stewart, referred to as her ‘gorgeous grey-haired widower’ through an online group for people who had lost their spouses.

Ms Bailey and Stewart got engaged and she gave him power of attorney over her estate, changing her will so he would inherit almost all of her fortune in the event of her death.

She also took out a life insurance policy to cover a potential £1.2m inheritance tax bill should she die before they were married.

But despite appearing ‘just an ordinary couple’ to their new neighbours, Stewart secretly starting drugging Helen with zopiclone, a sleeping medication he had been prescribed.

In April 2016, he reported Ms Bailey missing in April 2016 after convincing her friends and family she had gone away, ‘needing time to herself’.

Ms Bailey is best known for creating the teenage Electra Brown series. She met Stewart through an online group for people who had lost their spouses

 The property boasts stunning views over nearby Royston Heath, a large conservatory and outdoor swimming pool – and the spacious double garage where the author was found dead

A court heard that the writer had been dragged to the garage (pictured) and dumped there with her beloved dog Boris, a dog’s toy, a couple of bin bags and a pillow slip which could have been used to smother her

Search and Rescue Teams experienced in recovering bodies from disaster zones were brought in to retrieve the author’s body from the cesspit (pictured). They were forced to remove brickwork to gain access to her body in order not to damage it in the retrieval process

Ms Bailey, best known for creating the teenage Electra Brown series, was said to have gone to stay at the couple’s holiday home in Broadstairs, Kent.

But when she didn’t turn up, Stewart paid for posters to be produced, highlighting her disappearance.

But three months on from when she was last seen, police began carrying out specialist searches of the area near to the couple’s home.

The author, who had no children of her own, drew up a new ten-page will in July 2014. It is not known if any of her grandchildren will benefit from the sale of the house

Ms Bailey’s body was found in July 2016 after forensics were informed of a 15ft deep underground cesspit 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 a neighbour it was the ‘one place to hide a body’.

Search and Rescue Teams experienced in recovering bodies from disaster zones were brought in to retrieve the author’s body.

They were forced to remove brickwork to gain access to her body in order not to damage it in the retrieval process.

St Albans’ Crown Court heard the writer had been dragged to the garage and dumped there with her beloved dog Boris, a dog’s toy, a couple of bin bags and a pillow slip which could have been used to smother her.

Stewart later claimed two men called Nick and Joe kidnapped her and were responsible for dumping her body in the underground cesspit.

But following a six-week trial, a jury unanimously found him guilty of murder, one count of fraud, preventing lawful burial, and three counts of perverting the course of justice.

The property listing on Rightmove claims the property is ‘a rare opportunity to purchase a quite stunning detached residence, in a highly sought after location’

According to the listing, the property also boasts a ‘large garage and studio’ alongside a number of other features including four reception rooms

Police carried out thorough investigations at the property after Ms Bailey was found dead in 2016

In August, Stewart was arrested for the murder of his first wife Diane, 47, who died suddenly’ at their family home in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, seven years ago.

Although her death was unexpected, it was ruled to have been caused by her epilepsy.

However, police opened up a new line of enquiry after Stewart was found guilty of killing Ms Bailey.

He has been released under investigation, but will not be considered for release following the author’s murder until he is 90-years-old.  

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