Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

At Times Hostile, at Times Not Bothered and, Just Once, an Unnerving Grin; Police Highlight Suspect's Strange Behaviour in Helen Bailey Case

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

At Times Hostile, at Times Not Bothered and, Just Once, an Unnerving Grin; Police Highlight Suspect's Strange Behaviour in Helen Bailey Case

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack Hardy Reporter

THE fiance of Northumberlandborn children's author Helen Bailey "grinned" at police officers as they attempted to question him about her sudden disappearance, a court has heard.

Ian Stewart, 56, of Baldock Road, Royston, Hertfordshire, is accused of drugging and killing the Electra Brown writer in a financially motivated plot last year.

In the months after she vanished, the defendant was said to have followed police "everywhere" as they scoured the property where her body lay hidden.

It was claimed he told detectives he "couldn't be bothered" to answer further questions and became increasingly hostile to their presence.

When interviewed, Stewart then said there was no indication his partner had been kidnapped - despite later suggesting to his son that she had.

Jurors in his trial at St Albans Crown Court also heard of the harrowing moment 51-year-old Ms Bailey's body was found in a cesspit deep below her home, after three months of searches.

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

DC Hollie Daines dealt with the defendant on several occasions after Ms Bailey - originally from Ponteland - went missing and repeatedly told him they needed to carry out a more detailed interview, the court heard.

She said: "He said he wasn't feeling well, he said he couldn't be bothered and he just seemed quite blase and non-committal with us."

She added: "Mr Stewart took me by shock on a couple of occasions - he snapped at me when I pushed to do the interview.

"He felt uneasy with our presence, he very rarely made eye contact.

"At one point I found it particularly odd that after a conversation I had with him, he appeared to turn his head to the side and looked at us and grinned."

Between Ms Bailey's disappearance and an initial police search of the home on April 15 2016, a Jeep had been moved from the driveway and parked over the septic tank's hatch, the court was told.

Sergeant Stephen Oliphant said when the vehicle was eventually moved, the cover was lifted and a specialist drainage team arrived on July 15. …

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