The man convicted of killing children’s author Helen Bailey in 2016 was “in bits” following the death of his wife six years earlier, his youngest son told a court.
Ian Stewart, 61, is on trial accused of the murder of 47-year-old Diane Stewart at their home in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire in 2010.
Prosecutors said he was initially able to “fool medical professionals by suggesting that she had died in the course of an epileptic fit”, but that subsequent analysis of her brain indicated it was likely her breathing was restricted from an “outside source”.
Their son Oliver Stewart said he was 15 years old at the time of his mother’s death and was brought home from school by a neighbour.
He said he saw ambulances outside the house and initially thought “oh, Dad’s going to have another spell in hospital” as he had the condition myasthenia gravis, which he described as “muscle weakness”.
Oliver Stewart said that someone from either the police or ambulance service told him his mother had died.
Wiping tears from his eyes, he told the jury that he identified his mother’s body.
“She had foam coming out of her mouth,” he said.
He said he gave his mother “one last kiss”.
Asked by defence barrister Amjad Malik QC how his father was at this point, Oliver Stewart replied: “In bits.”
He said that at a later date he was given information from the pathologist about how his mother died.
“I knew she was epileptic, I had seen the foam in her mouth, it added up,” he said.
He described the relationship between his parents as “loving, caring, kind, family-orientated”.
Their elder son Jamie Stewart, who was 18 at the time, told jurors he was taking his driving test on the morning his mother died.
“My driving instructor had driven us back from Cambridge then when we pulled into our street there were three ambulances outside our house,” he said.
He said his father was “in tears and very upset and I think the neighbour and paramedics were trying to console him”.
Jamie Stewart said he knew his mother was epileptic but had not seen her have a fit before and was aware she took two tablets every morning.
He said he remembered there were “raised voices… between my mother and father” when he was at home on study leave for A Levels the week that his mother died.
Questioned by Mr Malik, he said he “couldn’t hear what was being spoken about”.
He said he had seen his parents argue over the years but it “wasn’t a regular thing”.
Asked how he would describe his father at the funeral, he replied: “Devastated.”
The trial continues.