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Helen Bailey murder accused 'went for Chinese takeaway hours after killing her,' court hears

The Independent logo The Independent 17/01/2017 Jack Hardy, Lucy Pasha-Robinson

© Provided by Independent Print Limited Ian Stewart had a Chinese takeaway just hours after he allegedly killed his fiancee Helen Bailey, a court heard.

The 56-year-old is accused of drugging and killing the children’s author at the home they shared in April 2016.

On the day of the alleged murder itself, Stewart, of Baldock Road, Royston, was said to have spent the evening watching his son Jamie play a game of bowls before enjoying a Chinese takeaway together.

Jamie Stewart told the court: “I went straight home and dad said he would get me a Chinese to cheer me up. When I got home I only saw my dad. We had a Chinese in the living room whilst watching TV and talking how the game had gone. Nothing was said about Helen at that point.

"I had assumed she was home as both of her cars were there, her Jeep was outside."

Following his arrest, Stewart told his other son Oliver that two men - Nick and Joe - had repeatedly shown up at the couple’s home demanding paperwork - assaulting him on one occasion.

The 21-year-old, told Stewart's trial at St Albans Crown Court: "When he was telling me about these people, I could see that he was not joking, I could see the fear.

"Purely by him telling me that, that was the road I can see he was going down."

Prosecutor Stuart Trimmer QC asked: "What road was that?"

He replied: "That they were linked to the taking of Helen.”

The 51-year-old writer's body was found, alongside her dog Boris, in a cesspit filled with excrement below her £1.5 million home in Royston in July 2016.

Stewart denies charges of murder, fraud, preventing a lawful burial and three counts of perverting the course of justice.

His trial also heard how he had been keen to hasten the sale of Ms Bailey's £185,000 property in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, following her disappearance.

Jurors heard how on 11 April - when Ms Bailey was said to have been killed - the defendant visited a solicitor with paperwork regarding the sale of the Gateshead property.

He claimed he was attending in place of Ms Bailey because she was was "unwell", solicitor Timothy Penn told the court.

In the weeks after her disappearance, Stewart rang Mr Penn on several occasions.

Mr Penn told the court of one phone call: "He said 'you probably know that Helen is missing and I'm wondering if you can carry on with this transaction in the meantime'."

On the trial's opening day, the jury heard Stewart was given power of attorney alongside her brother John in 2015, allowing him to control her affairs should she become unfit to administer them.

For the sale to go ahead, the power of attorney had to be properly registered and only applied as long as she was alive, Mr Penn said.

Mr Penn said of one later meeting: "I do remember on this occasion that he was very anxious and he was not at all pleased to hear the news that we were not able to proceed with the transaction, it didn't go down well."

It is alleged the killing had "money as its driving motive", with Stewart in line to be a "substantial" benefactor of the author's £4 million fortune in the event of her death.

Jamie Stewart, 24, told the jury he "cannot imagine" his father wanting to hurt Ms Bailey at all.

The trial continues.

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