Children's author Helen Bailey 'may have been suffocated in neck lock'

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    Children’s author Helen Bailey could have been put in a martial arts neck lock while drugged, and then suffocated, a court has heard.

    The 51-year-old’s body was found next to her dachshund Boris submerged in “human excrement” deep below her property in Royston, Hertfordshire, in July 2016, jurors at St Albans crown court were told.

    Her fiance, Ian Stewart, 56, from Royston, is accused of drugging and killing Bailey then dumping her body in a cesspit at the home they shared.

    He denies charges of murder, preventing a lawful burial, fraud and three counts of perverting the cause of justice.

    The court was told by Home Office pathologist Dr Nat Cary that, though there were no obvious signs of physical injury, the sedative Zopiclone was found in her system.

    The sleeping pills had been prescribed to Stewart but hair analysis suggested it had been in Bailey’s system for several months, including at the time of her death.

    Although the cause of death was undetermined, Cary said a sedated Bailey could have been killed without visual injuries by more “subtle” means.

    However, on cross-examination by Russell Flint QC, defending, he said this was only speculation.

    Cary said: “I am not sure but, on the basis of the case as a whole, it is my opinion that not only was she concealed by a third party, but it seems likely she died at the hands of the third party by some means.”

    Jurors were told it was possible Bailey had consumed the drug unknowingly, but Cary later said he could not be certain.

    It is alleged the killing had “money as its…



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