Ian Stewart: Court to review Royston murderer's whole-life sentence
- Credit: Hertfordshire Constabulary/Metropolitan Police
The whole-life prison sentence for murderer Ian Stewart is being reviewed in London's Court of Appeal.
Stewart, who is from Letchworth, Hertfordshire and lived in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, is having his lifelong sentence reviewed in a special court alongside four more killers.
Among them is 49-year-old Wayne Couzens, the former Metropolitan Police officer from Kent who was found guilty of abducting, raping and killing Sarah Everard, aged 33, on March 3, 2021.
The appeal began today (Wednesday, March 4) at 10.30am.
Stewart, aged 61, was found guilty of murdering children's author Helen Bailey in 2017.
The body of Helen, his fiancée, was found in a cesspit at their Royston home in summer 2016 after a lengthy missing person appeal.
She was found alongside their dog, Boris, which had also been killed.
A trial heard that Stewart likely suffocated her while she was sedated using drugs.
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After Stewart's guilty conviction, Hertfordshire Constabulary reopened the case into the death of Stewart's first wife Diane, who died aged 47 in 2010.
They lived together in Bassingbourn, and after he was found guilty of murdering her in February this year, Stewart was handed a rare whole-life tariff, which means that the crimes are deemed so serious that he would never be released from prison.
Mr Justice Simon Bryan told Stewart: "You successfully passed off a murder as an epileptic fit in the circumstance I have identified playing out an elaborate, and indeed sophisticated, charade over a period of time."
He will appeal to Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Dame Victoria Sharp, Lord Justice Holroyde, Mr Justice Sweeney and Mr Justice Johnson to have his whole-life order overturned.
Couzens will also attempt to appeal his own whole-life tariff.
The former police officer, attached to the Met's parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, pleaded guilty to kidnapping, rape and murder - and was handed his sentence on September 30, 2021.
Emma Tustin, 32, of Cranmore Road in Solihull, who killed six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes in 2020, will have her sentenced challenged by the Attorney General's office.
The office argues that her 29-year minimum jail term is too lenient.
Tustin's accomplice Thomas Hughes, 29, will attempt to shorten his 21-year sentence, but the Attorney General will argue that it was "unduly lenient".
The Attorney General's office will also argue that the minimum 40-year term for child murderer Jordan Monaghan, 31, of Belgrave Close in Blackburn is too lenient.
The five judges are not expected to give their decisions today.