Ian Stewart was the main beneficiary in Helen Bailey's will
Ian Stewart was in line to get two houses, pensions, life insurance payments and enough cash to ensure a “very comfortable” lifestyle, jurors heard.
But the inheritance would have been worth around £1million more if they had got married.
Stewart broke down in the dock as details of the will were read out. One of Ms Bailey’s closest male friends then described how Stewart had confronted him over her disappearance.
Ms Bailey and her dog were found in a cesspit at the house
Five days after she was reported missing, Ian Stewart allegedly rang Tony Hurley and demanded: “Is she staying with you?”
Mr Hurley assured Stewart he had no idea where she was, jurors were told. As Mr Hurley recalled the conversation, Stewart began sobbing in the dock.
Stewart, 56 denies murdering Ms Bailey, 51, in April last year and dumping her body in a cesspit at their home to claim her fortune.
The successful author's estate is worth £3.3million
He also denies fraud, perverting the course of justice and preventing a lawful burial. Ms Bailey’s remains were discovered at the house in Royston, Herts, three months later.
The body of her dog Boris was found next to her. Jurors were told the successful teenage book author was worth £3,326,316.
Her main asset was a property portfolio estimated at £1,850,000, including the Royston house and a cottage in Broadstairs, Kent.
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She had £60,000 in a savings account plus £90,000 in a joint account with Stewart.
According to the will, he would get £235,000 in pensions and could have received £1.28million in life insurance payments, St Albans Crown Court heard.
Ms Bailey owned an estimated £1,850,000 worth of property
He and Ms Bailey had planned to marry in September last year. But Stewart would still get the money even if they had second thoughts about the wedding, the jury was told.
The will included the proviso: “My marriage to him does not revoke this will. This will still be effective even if I do not marry Ian.”
Mr Hurley was appointed the will’s executor, the jury was told. Simon Russell Flint, QC, defending, pointed out that Stewart would have to pay inheritance tax if the wedding did not go ahead.
He read an email written by Mr Hurley saying: “Almost £1million of tax saved by tying the knot.”
Stewart had around £162,000 in the bank when Ms Bailey went missing.
The court heard that when widower Stewart’s wife Diane died he received £28,000 from her employers and £16,000 from Legal & General.
He had £50,000 left over from the sale of his former home. Mr Hurley described the call from Stewart shortly after the children’s writer went missing.
He said: “It was an unusual telephone conversation because Ian had said to me directly, ‘I’m in a terrible state at the moment.’
“He said to me, ‘I wanted to look you straight in the eye and ask you the following question. I’ve been looking at Helen’s emails and I wanted to ask – is Helen staying with you?”’
Mr Hurley told Stewart if she had been, he would have told her to go to the police as many people were searching for her. The trial continues.