Man In Court Over Northumberland Author's Murder

19 July 2016, 15:15 | Updated: 19 July 2016, 15:17

Missing Helen Bailey

The partner of a children's author from Ponteland has appeared in court via video link charged with her murder.

Ian Stewart, 55, of Baldock Road, Royston, spoke only to confirm his name during the short hearing at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday afternoon.

He spoke via video link from HMP Bedford wearing a grey T-shirt and could be seen shaking his head often during the eight-minute hearing.

Stewart was arrested by Hertfordshire Police when the body of 51-year-old Helen Bailey was found in the garden of her sprawling home in Royston on Friday.

Ms Bailey's body was found in a septic tank at the property alongside her dog.

Post-mortem examinations have been carried out on Ms Bailey and her dog but are awaiting further tests.

Stewart has also been charged with perverting the course of justice by reporting Ms Bailey as missing and hiding her body, and preventing a lawful burial.

Ms Bailey was last seen several weeks after the fifth anniversary of the death of her husband, John Sinfield, who drowned on holiday in Barbados in February 2011.

She was known by younger readers for her characters Electra Brown and Daisy Davenport.

Judge Andrew Bright QC remanded Stewart in custody. He will appear in court on October 14th for a plea and trial preparation hearing, and a trial is expected to begin on January 9th.



UPDATED 15th July 2016 

A body has been found near the home of missing author Helen Bailey who's originally from Ponteland, police have confirmed.

Officers from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit made the discovery in the grounds of the author's home in Royston.

The 51-year-old writer, who penned the Electra Brown series for teenagers, was last seen walking her dog on April 11.

A 55-year-old man from Royston, who was arrested on Monday, has been re-arrested and is being questioned at Stevenage police station on suspicion of murder.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Fullwood said: 

'Helen's family have been updated of this significant development and are continuing to receive support from specialist family liaison officers.

"As you can fully appreciate this will be an extremely difficult time for them and they have requested their privacy be respected at this time."

He added: "We are also mindful that Helen's disappearance, which has attracted significant media attention, has not only had an impact on her family and friends but also the local and wider community.

"However, as we have a man in police custody it is not appropriate for us to make any further comment."