Helen Bailey and Ian Stewart (Photo: SWNS)
Children’s author Helen Bailey may still have been alive when she was dumped in a cesspit at her home.
The body of the successful writer was found alongside that of her beloved dachshund Boris submerged in "human excrement" deep below her lavish property in Royston, Hertfordshire, in July 2016.
St Albans Crown Court was told the 51-year-old may have been placed in a ‘martial arts neck lock’ after being fed an insomnia drug before drowning in the cesspit.
Pathologist Dr Nathaniel Cary told the court it was "possible that she was put down the well in an unconscious state and then drowned".
Her fiance, Ian Stewart, 56, of Baldock Road, Royston, is accused of drugging and killing her, before dumping her body at the home they shared.
He denies charges of murder, preventing a lawful burial, fraud and three counts of perverting the cause of justice.
Dr added Nat Cary that, although there were no "obvious" signs of physical injury, the sedative Zopiclone was found in her system.
The sleep drug had been prescribed to Stewart, but hair analysis suggested it had been in Ms Bailey’s system for several months, including at the time she died.
Although the cause of death was "undetermined", Dr Cary said a sedated Ms Bailey could have been killed without visual injuries by more "subtle" means.
He said: "Subtle modes of death include smothering and compression of the neck by means including an arm lock, using the crook of the elbow … also called a sleeper hold, it is used in certain martial arts to reduce consciousness.
"That is another possibility to consider."
But on cross-examination by defence counsel Russell Flint QC, he said this was only speculation.
He added: "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 that Ms Bailey had consumed the drug unknowingly, but Dr Cary later said he could not know for sure.
It is alleged that the killing had "money as its driving motive", with Stewart in line to be a "substantial" benefactor of the author’s £4 million fortune in the event of her death.
The trial continues
This article was sourced from http://news5belize.com