The man who killed children’s author Helen Bailey and dumped her body in a cesspit appeared in court today charged with murdering his first wife.
Ian Stewart, 59, met and wooed widow Helen, 51, a year after wife Diane Stewart died in their back garden in 2010, aged 47.
They got engaged but in July 2016 Helen’s body was found in the cesspit under the garage at their home.
When Stewart was jailed for life for her murder in 2017, Diane’s mum, Noreen Lem, welcomed news police were probing her mystery death.
But we can reveal the 88-year-old sadly passed away before the decision to charge Stewart was announced.
Diane’s brother, Chris Lem, today admitted the past year had been difficult for his family.
The 60-year-old said: “We just want justice to take its course.”
It is understood Noreen died of pneumonia last May after a hip operation. One friend said: “She had been very poorly. You can imagine how distressing it (the police investigation) was for her.
“She was upset, especially as she had no reason to suspect anything until Helen was murdered.”
Stewart and Diane tied the knot after meeting at university and had sons Jamie and Oliver. They had been married 24 years when school secretary Diane died at their home in Bassingbourn, Herts, in June 2010.
The following year, Stewart met Electra Brown author Helen through a Facebook page for widows and widowers. Her husband John Sinfield, 65, had drowned on a holiday in Barbados in February 2011.
After he was jailed for murdering her at their £1.3million home in Royston, Herts, police said they would probe Diane’s death.
Last month, Diane’s sister Wendy posted an emotional tribute marking the 10th anniversary of her loss.
She wrote: “You’re missed enormously. Whenever I see sisters together, I smile then feel so sad that you’re not here, how I miss your love and friendship.”
At St Albans crown court today, Stewart appeared before Judge Michael Kay charged with murder.
No plea was taken and he was returned to custody for a hearing in September.
Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “Ian Stewart appeared at St Albans crown court charged with the murder of wife Diane.
“The 47-year-old died on 25 June 2010 at their home in Bassingbourn. A re-investigation into her death began after Stewart was convicted of the murder of fiancee Helen Bailey.”