Ian Stewart stands accused of murdering his fiance Helen Bailey
Ian Stewart, 56, claimed he was attacked on his doorstep by a tattooed stranger named Nick who said: “If you tell anyone, you won’t see Helen again.”
Stewart said children’s author Helen, 51, was subject to a campaign of harassment by two men named Nick and Joe over past business dealings.
He claimed he was set upon by Nick as he opened the door at the house the couple shared in Royston, Herts, on April 11 last year.
Stewart told St Albans Crown Court: “He pushed me back into the hall and he must have tripped me at some point.
Ian Stewart claimed he was assaulted on his doorstep
“He said, ‘Helen is with us, she is helping us solve a problem. Don’t tell anyone’.”
Asked who he thought Nick meant by “us”, Stewart said he assumed it was Joe.
He added that the man told him they had taken Helen and her daschund Boris to Broadstairs, Kent, where they had a holiday home.
Stewart, who was tearful during his evidence, is accused of slowly drugging his fiancee over several weeks and murdering her in a financially-motivated plot.
The body of Helen Bailey and her dog Boris was found under her house
He said that Helen, whose body was found in a cesspit under their garage, had confiscated his sleeping medication and repeatedly fed herself the sedatives.
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A postmortem examination found traces of the anti-insomnia medication Zopiclone, which had been prescribed to Stewart.
The former software engineer, who insisted several times he had no hand in Helen’s death, claimed he rarely cooked for her and that she would have noticed the taste if he had laced her food.
Simon Russell Flint, defending, asked: “Did you administer Zopiclone to her surreptitiously in any way, at any time?”
Bailey's fiance denies all charges against him
He replied: “No, I never did.”
Asked if the couple ever argued, he said: “No. I can categorically say that because after we were in a relationship for six months Helen said to me, ‘This isn’t a proper relationship, we haven’t had an argument’.”
Stewart denied he was after Helen’s fortune, saying he had more cash than he could spend.
Stewart claimed in court, two men told him they had taken Helen
He added: “We were more than comfortable, we were very lucky financially.”
He denies murder, preventing a lawful burial, fraud and three counts of perverting the course of justice.
The trial continues.