Beds, Herts & Bucks

Helen Bailey murder trial: Cleaner noticed 'unusual' things

Helen Bailey Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Helen Bailey was found dead three months after being reported missing last April

A cleaner employed by children's author Helen Bailey has told a murder trial she noticed "unusual" things in the writer's home after she disappeared.

The 51-year-old's body was found at the house she shared with Ian Stewart in Royston, Hertfordshire, last July, three months after going missing.

Mr Stewart, 56, denies her murder.

Vania Pedrosa told St Albans Crown Court she saw clothes on top of a basket, which was out of character for "organised" Ms Bailey.

Speaking through a Portuguese translator, she told the jury Mr Stewart appeared "normal" when she visited the house on 13 April, two days after Ms Bailey vanished.

There had been "clothes like her t-shirt, shirt, pair of trousers all on the top of the basket", she said, which struck her as unusual as Ms Bailey "was always very organised".

Ms Pedrosa said there was also bedding drying in the dining room, which she described as "unusual", and noticed a light green eiderdown which was normally on the couple's bed was not there anymore.

Image caption Vania Pedrosa cleaned the couple's home in Royston
Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption The body of Ms Bailey was found at the home she shared with Ian Stewart last July

Mr Stewart is accused by the prosecution of murdering his fiancée for financial gain.

She was worth more than £3.3m at the time of her death, the court heard previously.

Mr Stewart reported her missing three days after she was last seen alive on 11 April. The court heard he told police he had returned to the house to find it empty with a note from Ms Bailey claiming she needed "space".

Three months later, her body was found in a cesspit below the couple's garage alongside that of her dog, Boris.

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

The trial continues.

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