‘She was having memory lapses’ – Helen Bailey’s mother breaks down while giving evidence in Royston murder trial

PUBLISHED: 17:23 23 January 2017 | UPDATED: 19:55 24 January 2017

Helen Bailey.

Helen Bailey.

Alice Boagey

The mother of Helen Bailey broke down today as she gave evidence in the trial of her daughter’s partner Ian Stewart, who is accused of drugging and murdering the Royston author.

Eileen Bailey appeared at St Albans Crown Court via video link and was asked about Helen and Ian’s relationship, as well as the 51-year-old’s emotional state in the lead up to her going missing.

The children’s author was reported missing in April 2016 along with her pet dog Boris – with both their bodies found three months later in a secret cesspit beneath the Baldock Road home Helen shared with Mr Stewart.

When asked about Ms Bailey’s and Mr Stewart’s relationship, mum Eileen said: “Well I felt uneasy about it, I was quite unhappy, mainly because of Helen’s state of mind.”

The court heard how Helen kept in regular contact with her mum and that there were a number of incidents that caused concerned in the weeks and months before her daughter’s death.

“She was having [memory] lapses, and she just had such a good memory beforehand,” said Mrs Bailey.

Stuart Trimmer QC asked if she had spoken about losing her memory in the past.

“Only in jest,” she said.

There was one occasion, Mrs Bailey told the jury, that she had left Tesco supermarket in late 2015 and got into her car still holding a scanner used for self-service in the store.

There was also a time when she had left miniature dachshund Boris on the beach near her holiday home in Broadstairs, Kent.

In an incident on the Monday before she is alleged to have been murdered, Mrs Bailey said that her daughter had called her at about 1pm and was ‘very anxious’, saying she’d just slept for hours.

“I replied: ‘Well Helen you must have needed it’,” she told the court.

When Mr Trimmer asked if she knew what her daughter had to eat that day, Mrs Bailey said Mr Stewart made her poached eggs. But then under cross examination from defence solicitor Simon Russell Flint, she said that her daughter usually woke up around 8.30am and Ian Stewart didn’t wake up until around 10.30am, so that may not have been the case.

“What you were told was that she liked to cook herself eggs as soon as she woke up,” Mr Russell-Flint said.

“She would get up when living with Ian and cook herself poached or scrambled eggs.”

In response, Mrs Bailey said: “That must be so, I didn’t discuss that with her.”

She also said that her daughter had confided in her about experiencing dizziness and tiredness, and not recognising her own hands – something which happened previously when her late husband John Sinfield died.

After the Monday call about Helen sleeping in, Mrs Bailey said she told her daughter to go out and get some oxygen, and to take Boris with her. She said Helen didn’t reply.

“I said I would ring her later and I didn’t – I feel I was dismissive,” Mrs Bailey added, overcome with emotion.

Mr Stewart – who is 56 and originally from Letchworth – denies murder. The trial continues.

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