Partner of children's author Helen Bailey charged with her murder

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The partner of missing novelist Helen Bailey has appeared in court charged with her murder.

Ian Stewart, 55, was held by Hertfordshire Police when the body of the 51-year-old children's author was found in the garden of her home in Royston on Friday.

Detectives made the discovery three months after she was last seen walking her miniature Dachshund, called Boris.

Police officers search a wooded area at Royston Heath in North Hertfordshire, close to the home of missing children's author Helen Bailey.
(Chris Radburn/PA)

Ms Bailey was last seen several weeks after the fifth anniversary of the death of her husband, John Sinfield, who drowned on a holiday in Barbados in February 2011.

The 51-year-old Ms Bailey was well known for her character-based novels, including the coming-of-age series featuring lead character Electra Brown, and the subsequent Daisy Davenport novel aimed at slightly older readers. She also set up a blog, Planet Grief, about having become a widow.

In April, following her disappearance, extensive searches were carried out at Ms Bailey's holiday home in Broadstairs, Kent, where friends originally said they believed the author might have gone in order to have "some time to herself".

Undated handout file photo issued by Hertfordshire Police of missing author Helen Bailey.
(Hertfordshire Police/PA)

In a note issued in the wake of Ms Bailey's apparent disappearance, her partner Ian Stewart said: "Helen wherever you might be I hope you hear this message and listen carefully. We miss you and Boris so much. We are shattered in so many ways.

"You bring so much to so many people in ways you don't even realise.

"Whatever has happened, wherever you are I will come and get you and Boris and give you whatever you need."

Police officers search a wooded area at Royston Heath in North Hertfordshire, close to the home of missing children's author Helen Bailey.
(Chris Radburn/PA)

Stewart was re-arrested on suspicion of murder on Friday, having previously been arrested on Monday, when specialist teams began searching the property, Hertfordshire Police said.

Police said Stewart has also been charged with perverting the course of justice by reporting Ms Bailey as missing and hiding her body, and preventing a lawful burial.

 Undated handout photo issued by Hertfordshire Police of children's author Helen Bailey.
(Hertfordshire Police/PA)

A post-mortem examination is due to take place on Monday while specialist searches at her home continue.

He appeared before Hatfield Remand Court on Saturday morning and will remain in custody until his next appearance, at St Albans Crown Court on Monday.