Helen Bailey's killer ordered to pay £98,000 to cover trial costs

Updated: 

The killer of children's author Helen Bailey has been ordered to pay almost £100,000 to cover the cost of his trial.

Ian Stewart, 56, is serving a minimum of 34 years for smothering the Electra Brown writer, his fiancee, and dumping her body in a cesspit below their £1.5 million Hertfordshire home last year.

The 51-year-old was slowly drugged by Stewart over the course of several months as part of a plot to inherit her wealth.

She was discovered in the foul sewage pit below their garage in July 2016, her dachshund Boris dead at her side.

During a brief hearing at St Albans Crown Court, Judge Andrew Bright confirmed £5,100 of the murderer's ill-gotten gains previously confiscated will go to Ms Bailey's estate.

He also agreed to prosecutor Stuart Trimmer's request for costs of £98,455 to be met to cover the expenses incurred by the six-and-a-half week trial.

About 40 witnesses appeared and legal teams were required to travel overseas to facilitate the appearance of some of Ms Bailey's loved ones in court, it was heard.

Stewart did not appear at the hearing due to ill health, prompting the judge to say: "I had my doubts when I first heard about it but having seen a nurse's letter I have no reason to oppose it."

He added: "That figure is a figure that I determined to be a conservative estimate of the total cost of the prosecution."

The money will be taken from several bank accounts of Stewart's to which the prosecution will have access, it was heard.

Stewart targeted the vulnerable widow on the internet in 2011, earning his way into her trust and later her £3.3 million estate.

He became the chief heir to her wealth, standing to gain around £1.8 million from her investment portfolio, plus the value of their home in Royston, Hertfordshire, and her coastal cottage in Kent.

After the killing, Stewart spent months lying to Ms Bailey's loved ones, telling them she had run away without explanation.

Later he claimed she had died during a bungled kidnap plot.

Sentencing him in February, Judge Bright told him: "I am firmly of the view that you currently pose a real danger to women with whom you form a relationship."

Stewart will have 14 days to contest the decision.