Murder accused Ian Stewart got £28,000 from wife Diane's life insurance, court told

Ian Stewart was accused of murdering his wife, Diane, after being convicted of killing children's author Helen Bailey.
Ian Stewart denies murdering his wife Diane at their home in Cambridgeshire

A husband accused of his wife's murder received nearly £100,000 after her death, a court has heard.

Ian Stewart, 61, was paid £28,000 from a life insurance policy and further sums from her bank accounts adding up to £96,607.37, Huntingdon Crown Court was told.

He is on trial for murdering Diane Stewart, 47, at their home in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire in 2010.

Reading from a document of facts agreed between the prosecution and defence, prosecutor Neil King said Stewart also sold the family home in July 2014 for £530,000.

"There was only £2,500 outstanding on the mortgage at this time," he said. "This sum was put towards the purchase of a house where the defendant then moved in with Helen Bailey."

The cause of Mrs Stewart's death was recorded in 2010 as sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

Police investigated the case after a jury found Stewart guilty in 2017 of murdering his fiancee, children's author Helen Bailey, the year before.

Mr King said that when Stewart was arrested in 2018 for the murder of Mrs Stewart, he told officers: "You're joking. Haven't you got anything better to do?"

Mr King also told jurors about "evidence upon which" Stewart's 2017 conviction for the murder of Ms Bailey was recorded.

He said that Ms Bailey lived in a £1.5m home in Royston in Hertfordshire and had assets worth more than £4m.

She lived there with Stewart and his two sons Jamie, then aged 24, and Oliver, then aged 21, in April 2016, Mr King said.

Helen Bailey with Ian Stewart

Stewart had moved in during 2013, having been in a relationship with Ms Bailey since 2012, the court was told.

"By 2016, there were plans for a wedding," Mr King said.

"They had made financial arrangements that meant in the event of the death of Helen Bailey before the wedding, Ian Stewart would obtain the house and substantial financial advantage.

"The total capital payment on Helen Bailey's death to Ian Stewart would potentially total  #1,835,000, in addition to the main house and the second home in Broadstairs (in Kent)."

Mr King said Ms Bailey was murdered "by what a forensic pathologist found was most likely suffocation while she was sedated by drugs".

Her body was found in the garage cess pit together with that of her dog Boris.

The court heard that Stewart had "formally consented to the retention of microscope slides and tissue blocks from the brain, heart and lungs of Diane Stewart" following her death in 2010.

Mr King said: "Without this consent, the material would have been destroyed."

Stewart denies the murder of his wife. The trial continues.