Beds, Herts & Bucks

Search for missing author Helen Bailey stepped up

Helen Bailey on BBC TV in December 2015
Image caption Helen Bailey regularly appeared on television speaking about grief

The search for a missing children's author has been stepped up by police amid growing concerns for her welfare.

Helen Bailey, who wrote the Electra Brown series, was last seen walking her dog near her home in Royston, Hertfordshire on 11 April.

The 51-year-old reportedly said she "needed a little time to herself" prior to her disappearance.

Specialist searches are currently taking place in the Royston area, police said.

Det Insp Lynda Coates, who is leading the investigation, added: "I would ask Helen to please get in contact with us if she sees this appeal to let us know she is safe and well."

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Image caption Police said they are conducting specialist searches in the Royston area

Mrs Bailey is best known for her series of novels for teenagers but began writing an online blog called Planet Grief after her husband, John Field, drowned in February 2011.

In her most recent post, she wrote about the fifth anniversary of her husband's death, in which she claimed their lives "were too tightly woven for death to completely destroy the links between us".

'Over that loss'

Friends have said her disappearance "doesn't make sense" and is "totally out of character".

Mrs Bailey's grief counsellor, Shelley Whitehead, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the author had "moved forward" since her husband's death and was "well over that loss".

Hertfordshire Police said it is committing more resources to look for the Northumberland-born author.

She is understood to have connections to Kent, Northumberland and London.

Mrs Bailey's dog, believed to be called Boris, is described as a shaded red miniature Dachshund with a slightly greying muzzle.

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