Beds, Herts & Bucks

Helen Bailey murder: Accused 'considered jumping off a cliff'

Helen Bailey Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Helen Bailey was missing for three months before her body was found under her garage

The fiancé of a children's author considered throwing himself off a cliff two months before he was charged with the killing her, a court has heard.

Ian Stewart, 56, denies murdering Helen Bailey at their home in Royston, Hertfordshire, in April.

Her body was found in July, dumped in a cesspit under the garage.

St Albans Crown Court heard Mr Stewart told a psychiatric nurse he had thought about taking his own life.

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The nurse Sarah Tooley told the jury she had spoken with Mr Stewart on the phone in May.

He had been to visit Broadstairs in Kent where Ms Bailey had a holiday cottage.

"He'd had thoughts of jumping off a cliff while he was down there," said Ms Tooley.

Image copyright Herts Police
Image caption The bodies of Helen Bailey and her dog were found in a cesspit beneath the garage

Earlier, the court was told Mr Stewart had tried to divert a police search of the garage.

According to a statement from Det Con Hollie Daines, read to the court, Mr Stewart said: "If searches are going to take place, you wouldn't find anything in the garage."

When they arrived, DC Daines said Mr Stewart told her he had considered suicide.

She said: "He appeared to be anxious and uncomfortable with what we were asking of him."

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Ian Stewart denies murdering the author

On the day of Ms Bailey's disappearance, Mr Stewart claimed he found a note from the Electra Brown author saying she had gone to the holiday cottage in Broadstairs.

According to a statement read to the court, he told police: "If Helen does come back, I don't think I want to be with her any more."

Mr Stewart, of Baldock Road, Royston, Hertfordshire, denies charges of murder, preventing a lawful burial, fraud and three counts of perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.

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