Ian Stewart murder trial: Jury shown pictures of cesspit where body of Royston author Helen Bailey was found
PUBLISHED: 15:48 27 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:48 27 January 2017
The jury in the trial of Ian Stewart – who is accused of murdering his partner Helen Bailey – were today shown a series of pictures of the cesspit where the Royston author’s body was found.
The painstaking two-day excavation to remove the bodies of Ms Bailey and her dog Boris from the 19th century well, now used as a cesspit, came three months after the 51-year-old was reported missing by Mr Stewart.
The 56-year-old, who is from Letchworth, is alleged to have drugged and killed Ms Bailey for her £4 million fortune and dumped the bodies in the pit beneath the garage of the Baldock Road home they shared.
Det Ch Insp Jerome Kent, of the Herts, Beds and Cambs Major Crime Unit, told St Albans Crown Court of the moment he was shown the pit.
“I was informed on morning of July 15 that officers had found a body in a well,” he said.
“On arrival I was shown the entrance to the well, and I’m embarrassed to say it took me some convincing to work out what I was looking at.
“What I was faced with was a dry, hard crust of what I now know to be more than mud.
“There was dry material on top of it, and a pale white object in that, which I now know was part of Helen’s elbow.”
“It wasn’t easy to see, whatever it was held underneath the crust, like something trapped under ice.”
He said the team discussed various options of recovering the body and that they wanted to give Ms Bailey dignity in her excavation, so they approached it like they would recovering a body from open water.
Jurors were shown the images, and around 20 were spoken about at varying lengths by DCI Kent.
The first showed two tents in front of the garage, one shown in front of the well, and the other smaller tent.
The jury also saw the picture of the cesspit, which DCI Kent said was the image he was faced with at the house.
The image showed a half moon shaped opening, with dark matter covered by a crust.
DCI Kent told the court that the elliptical pale coloured object with black lines what was he later understood to be the 51-year-old’s white top, with blue or black stripes.
“Helen was wearing a striped blue or black and white striped top when she went into that well, in effect the white material has rotted away, but the black material has remained.”
The next images showed the side of the well exposed after the team had dug into the ground next to it. DCI Kent told the court that they had to go in sideways to recover the body. Each brick of a side section of the of the well was removed by hand.
“We didn’t want it to collapse in as that would have been disastrous, so as slowly and gently as possible,” DCI Kent said.
“Boris was the out of the well, we weren’t 100 per cent certain he was in there until we had a closer look.”
After the bodies, a pillow containing a dog’s toy and two bin bags were recovered.
The jury were not shown images of the bodies being recovered.
DCI Kent was told that: “Helen bailey’s dental records established that it was indeed her.”
“That’s correct, yes,” he replied.
The trial continues.