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Ian Stewart: Man who murdered fiancee found guilty of killing wife six years earlier

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he man convicted of murdering his fiancee, children’s book author Helen Bailey will die behind bars after being found guilty of murdering his first wife six years earlier.

Ian Stewart 61, killed 51-year-old Ms Bailey in 2016 and dumped her body in the cesspit of the £1.5 million home they shared in Royston in Hertfordshire.

A trial at St Albans Crown Court heard it was most likely she was suffocated while sedated by drugs, and Stewart was found guilty of her murder in 2017.

After this conviction, police investigated the 2010 death of Stewart’s first wife, Diane Stewart, 47.

Her cause of death was recorded at the time as Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) but on Wednesday a jury of five men and seven women at Huntingdon Crown Court found Stewart guilty of murder.

The judge, Mr Justice Simon Bryan, sentenced Stewart to a whole-life order on Wednesday, meaning he will never be released from prison.

He told Stewart: “You successfully passed off a murder as an epileptic fit in the circumstance I have identified playing out an elaborate, and indeed sophisticated, charade over a period of time.

“A charade that succeeded at the time, and would have succeeded for all time but for your subsequent murder of Helen Bailey.”

Stewart had claimed in court, as his two sons listened to his evidence, that he had returned from the supermarket to the family home in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire and found his wife collapsed in the garden.

He said he thought she had suffered an epileptic fit.

Mrs Stewart had not had an epileptic fit for 18 years and took daily medication, jurors were told, with consultant neurologist Dr Christopher Derry estimating that her risk of having a fatal epileptic seizure was about one in 100,000.

Diane Stewart’s death at her home in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, was originally thought to have been connected with her epilepsy (Hertfordshire Constabulary/PA) / PA Media

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