Recently I watched an episode of a new UK-based true crime television documentary series called WHAT THE KILLER DID NEXT (HERE)
This blog post will explore details of the case that featured in the debut episode of this program.
Helen Bailey (1964 – 2016) was a British author who wrote both the Topaz L’ Amour series of books aimed at 9-12 year olds as well as the Electra Brown series for a teenage audience. In all she had 22 books of short stories, picture books and young-adult fiction published in addition to several non-fiction works.
She was reported missing in April 2016; three months later on 15 July, her remains were found hidden at her home. Her partner, Ian Stewart, was charged with her murder and found guilty in February 2017.
In February 2011, Helen Bailey’s first husband John Sinfield drowned while swimming when the couple were on holiday in Barbados. They had been together for 22 years, and married for the last 15.
Her first book for adults, When Bad Things Happen in Good Bikinis (2015), was based on her Planet Grief blog (HERE) which set out her journey through grief after he died.
The video below was filmed four years ago and shows Helen Bailey talking about the release of her newly published book WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN IN GOOD BIKINIS –
The book also noted her subsequent relationship, beginning in October 2011, with widower Ian Stewart, a father of two adult sons. In an uncanny coincidence, Stewart’s first wife also died in mysterious circumstances, back in 2010. This death was re- investigated upon his conviction for Helen Bailey’s murder.
Helen Bailey’s remains and those of her pet dog were found inside a hidden second septic tank inside her home. During the murder trial the jury was told by Bailey’s brother that during a visit to her home (in the town of Royston, North Hertfordshire, England) she had joked about the septic tank in the garage being a “good place to hide a body”, and that the remark had been made in “full earshot” of Stewart.
Financial gain appears to have been the motive for the callous crime. The jury learned Stewart was the main beneficiary of Bailey’s £3.4 million estate, and would also benefit from a large life insurance policy.
Ian Stewart was described in court as a “greedy, wicked narcissist”. Members of Stewart’s former bowls club recalled how he was obsessed with money and extremely parsimonious: he accounted for every penny he spent or was owed and once caused a scene at a bowls match when asked to pay for a cup of tea he argued that should have been covered in his membership fee.
Ian Stewart will be 90 years of age when he first becomes eligible for parole.
Ps. Back in November 2017 I delved deep into another homicide case involving a famous successful author. On that occasion however the author was the murderer. Revisit that story HERE