A best-selling children’s author was drugged and suffocated by her fiance who wanted to get his hands on her £4m estate, a court has heard.
The body of Helen Bailey, 51, was found dumped in the cesspit beneath the garage of her £1.5m home in Royston, Hertfordshire, alongside her pet Daschund Boris in July 2016.Mrs Bailey was reported missing by partner Ian Stewart, 56, on April 15 – three months before she was found dead.
Prosecutors say Stewart killed Helen on April 11 by suffocating her while she was “stupified” by the sleeping drug Zopiclone, which he had been administrating to her.
Stewart then waited four days before reporting Helen and her dog as missing and continually lied to police as they carried out a “futile” investigation.
Prosecuting, Stuart Trimmer QC, told the court Stewart killed Helen in order to gain her assets as financial arrangements had been made which Stewart would benefit from her estate when she died.
Stewart, of Royston, denies murder as well as one count of fraud, preventing lawful burial, and three counts of perverting the course of justice.
In the weeks leading up to her death, prosecutors claims she was fed anti-insomnia drug Zopiclone – which was found in hair samples after her body was discovered.Mr Trimmer said:
“They had made financial arrangements that meant in the death of Helen Bailey, before the wedding, Ian Stewart would obtain the house and have substantial financial advantage.
“In the weeks before her murder Helen Bailey was concerned that she was quite unnaturally very sleepy.
“The Crown case is this defendant secretly administered to her a sleeping drug in increasing amounts.”
Helen and Stewart had been in a relationship for four years, had lived together for the last three, and were making “definitive” plans for an “imminent” wedding.
The court heard the couple also lived with Stewart’s two sons, Jamie Stewart, 24, and 21-year-old Oliver Stewart, who were not home on the day she was allegedly killed.
Helen’s last proven activity was an email she sent at 10.51am on Monday April 11, and the Crown say by that afternoon she was dead.
Mr Trimmer said:
“The Crown’s case is that by early afternoon, the only other person in that house, Ian Stewart, had killed her, probably by suffocation whilst she was sedated by the drugs he had administered for some time.
“He moved her body to the garage where her body was dumped in the cess pit in the garage.
“Not only was her body dumped in the garage, but the dog’s body was there. A dog’s toy, a couple of bags and a pillow slip.”
Helen’s body was found three months later on July 15 but in the meantime Stewart had sent a number of texts to her phone, a phone he claimed she had with her, the court heard.
Mr Trimmer said:
“Between April 11 and July 15 the defendant sat back and watched the police conduct a futile missing person investigation.
“He said nothing to the police about the underground septic tank in the garage and he tried to ensure the body wouldn’t be found by placing a vehicle over the access in the garage.”
The trial continues.