Beds, Herts & Bucks

Helen Bailey murder trial: Accused 'grinned' at officers

Helen Bailey Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Author Helen Bailey had been missing for three months when her body was found in a cesspit under her Royston home

The man accused of murdering children's author Helen Bailey "grinned" when questioned by police, a court heard.

Ms Bailey, 51, was found dead in a cesspit under the garage of her home in Royston, Hertfordshire, in July. She had been missing for three months.

Her partner Ian Stewart, 56, denies murder.

Det Con Hollie Daines, who interviewed him at the Royston home, said: "It was odd when he appeared to turn his head to the side and look at us and grin."

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She said he had refused to be interviewed at the first attempt on 21 April, claiming to be "feeling unwell" and he "couldn't be bothered".

"He seemed quite blasé and non-committal," Ms Daines told St Albans Crown Court.

When he was interviewed the following day, she said he was "really anxious", "restless" and was "pacing around" while the property was searched.

Image copyright Herts Police
Image caption Helen Bailey's body was found in a pit beneath the garage of the Royston home she shared with Ian Stewart

Earlier Sgt Stephen Oliphant told the court how he had prodded the surface of the cesspit with a garden hoe and the body floated to the top.

"I realised I was hitting a different object that felt slightly softer.

"Solid matter was moved away and the body came to the surface," he said.

The body of Ms Bailey and her dog Boris were recovered three months after Mr Stewart had reported her missing.

It is alleged she was killed on 11 April.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Ian Stewart denies murdering Ms Bailey

Sgt Nicole Goodyear told the court Mr Stewart followed police "everywhere" during a search on 15 April.

She said: "He was very interested in what we were doing, he wanted to know what we were doing and why."

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

The trial continues.

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