Beds, Herts & Bucks

Helen Bailey murder: Fiancé Ian Stewart must pay back £5k

Ian Stewart and Helen Bailey Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Ian Stewart drugged and suffocated Helen Bailey

The fiancé of author Helen Bailey, who murdered her to get his hands on her near-£4m fortune, benefitted by just a few thousand pounds, a court heard.

Ian Stewart was jailed for 34 years for killing Ms Bailey, 51, and dumping her in a cesspit under their Royston home.

St Albans Crown Court heard he transferred £10,200 of her money to a joint account and spent just £3,154 on renewing Arsenal season tickets.

He must pay back £5,100 or be given another one-month jail sentence.

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Stewart, 56, reported Ms Bailey missing three months before her drugged and suffocated body was found in the "foul-smelling" cesspit, alongside the corpse of her dachshund Boris, at their Hertfordshire home.

During his trial, the prosecution said Stewart had played "the long game" in order to inherit Ms Bailey's fortune, made from the publication of more than 20 books.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Helen Bailey's body was found three months after she was reported missing

The children's author, originally from Northumberland, penned the Electra Brown series of teen novels.

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However, a confiscation hearing at the court was told Stewart had only managed to transfer £10,200 into a joint account he shared with Ms Bailey, and had spent £3,154 of that on Arsenal season tickets.

Judge Andrew Bright QC made a confiscation order for £5,100 - half of the money in the joint account, which is currently frozen.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption The body of Ms Bailey's Dachshund, Boris, was found alongside her in the cesspit

He told Stewart: "You have assets that outweigh that figure. You have 28 days to pay. The alternative is a month in jail."

Stewart was jailed for life in February and told he must serve a minimum of 34 years. He will be 90 before he can apply for parole.

During his trial earlier this year, the jury heard under the terms of her will, Stewart would have received the £1.5 million house in Royston, a holiday cottage in Broadstairs, Kent and other money, including her £1.28m life insurance policy.

Image caption Stewart murdered Ms Bailey at the couple's home in Royston, Hertfordshire, and dumped her body in a cesspit below the garage

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