Living with a murderer

Ladies beware. Don’t fall into this trap.

In this day and age where many ladies are battling with the pressure, stigma and loneliness of being single, it’s easy to ignore red flags and rush into a potentially dangerous relationship or marriage.

This is what happened to Helen Bailey, British author of many successful teen oriented novels and series such  as the Electra Brown series. She was nominated for a “Queen of Teen” award in 2010. In Running in Heels (2011), she featured a new character, Daisy Davenport. Bailey also wrote books for younger children, including the Willow the Woodsprite series, the Topaz series, and the Felicity Wishes series. In all, she had 22 books of short stories, picture books and young-adult fiction published.

Body found in hunt for missing author Helen Bailey

Bailey was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She gained a degree in science at Thames Polytechnic in London before undertaking postgraduate research in a teaching hospital. She then changed career to work in the media, and worked on licensing and marketing campaigns for characters such as Rugrats and Garfield, and for Nintendo, feature film and cartoon characters

Helen Bailey was reported missing in April 2016; on July 15th 2016 her human remains were found at her home, and her partner was charged with her murder.


In February 2011, her husband John Sinfield drowned while swimming when the couple were on holiday in Barbados. They had been together for 22 years, and married for the last 15. Her first book for adults, When Bad Things Happen in Good Bikinis (2015), was based on her Planet Grief blog which sets out her “journey through grief” after he died. In October 2015, she discussed her experiences and the book on BBC Radio 4‘s Woman’s Hour.

Bailey was reported missing from her home in Royston, Hertfordshire by her boyfriend Ian Stewart. She was last seen out walking her dog on 11 April 2016. A note was reportedly found, saying she was going to stay at the family holiday home in Broadstairs, but it was later established that she had not been there. On 11 July, police reported that they had arrested a 55-year-old Royston man, and questioned him on suspicion of murder and disposing of a body. He was initially released on bail, but on 15 July police reported that human remains, and those of her dog, had been found in a hidden septic tank at Bailey’s house at Royston, and the next day her partner Ian Stewart was charged with murder, perverting the course of justice and preventing a lawful burial. He was remanded in custody to appear at St Albans Crown Court on 18 July. Police confirmed that the remains found were those of Bailey.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Terry Harris/REX/Shutterstock (5765039n) Police and forensics at the home of Helen Bailey Author Helen Bailey disappearance, Royston, Hertfordshire, UK - 12 Jul 2016

Stewart wasted no time in having some fun and spending Helen’s hard earned money as he went holidaying after her disappearance on a vacation that was originally planned for both him and Helen in Majorca. He was arrested immediately after his return.

He had made a so-called heartfelt appeal to track down his partner soon after she vanished.

He said she had left a note asking for time alone, and that she planned to stay at her holiday home in Broadstairs, Kent, with her dachshund.

If unfortunate victims like Helen Bailey had managed to escape the clutches of the murderers they were living with, here is some of the advice they are likely to give to other women so as not to fall into the same trap;



It’s always shocking when you hear of someone who has murdered their spouse. But there are signs that a husband or wife is the killing kind, says Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and author of “Till Death Do Us Part: Love, Marriage and the Mind of the Killer Spouse.”

Below are some traits you should beware of in your significant other.

Traits of a Potential Spouse Killer

Intense controlling behavior

Explosive feelings of rage

Difficulty forming intimate relationships

Poor impulse control

Inability to understand your feelings

Absence of emotions like remorse and sympathy

Searches out easy pleasure (i.e. a thrill seeker)

Intense feelings of victimization and rejection

Devalues human life

Pathologically idealizes partner


He might have not yet revealed the full extent of his astonishing malevolence. You might want to pack your bags and run screaming from the relationship before he does.  What follows are five tell-tale signs that your husband/partner may be a psychopath.

1. He was very gallant when you first met him, not so gallant now.

Psychopaths can be very superficially charming. It’s Item 1 on the 20-point Hare PCL-R psychopathy-spotting Checklist: Glibness/Superficial Charm. I knew a woman, Mary, who met an extremely gallant man while Internet dating. He was so gallant he’d even walk on the road side of the sidewalk. (I am so ungallant I didn’t even know that was a thing. I am not a psychopath.) Mary married her man and he turned out to be a pedophile and a bigamist and a fraudster — a textbook psychopath. Okay, give your husband the benefit of the doubt if the intensity of his gallantry has diminished since the the courtship days. That’s normal. We can’t keep that level up. But if he’s replaced the gallantry with being a remorseless, unempathetic bastard, you may have a problem.

2. He’s grandiose.

That’s Item 2 on the Checklist: Grandiose Sense of Self Worth. In my book “The Psychopath Test,” I meet an enormously wealthy former Fortune 500-type CEO, Al Dunlap, to ask him which of the 20 Hare psychopathic traits he felt most applied to him. He instantly confessed to Grandiose Sense of Self Worth, which would have been a hard one for him to deny as he was at the time standing underneath a giant oil painting of himself. Does your husband have giant portraits of himself? Is he an overly-snappy dresser? Does he tell a lot of stories about himself in which he’s always the hero? Does he bulldoze his way through conversations to talk about himself in this grandiose way?

3. He Had Early Behavioral Problems.

Recently I was chatting to a guy and I happened to ask him about his childhood. Had he been a bully or bullied?

“Oh,” he said quite cheerfully. “I was a bully. I used to hide behind a tree and jump out and hit my enemies with lumps of wood.” He paused and added wistfully: “I’d hurt them quite badly!”

“How did it make you feel?” I asked.

“Good!” he said. “I enjoyed that feeling of power. I still enjoy thinking about it, all these years later.”

Psychopaths are very good at hiding their psychopathy beneath a veneer of normalcy. You don’t have to be Hercule Poirot to spot someone bipolar, say, or in the grips of an OCD attack, but you do have to be Hercule Poirot sometimes to spot a psychopath. Which is why Early Behavioral Problems is such a handy item on the Checklist. It’s harder to hide a hoodlum childhood — there’ll be your husband’s school record to sneakily read. Was your husband a terrible bully as a child, pulling the wings off flies, etc? If he says yes, or if he school record confirms it, run. Don’t look back. Run!

4. He Engages In Promiscuous Sexual Behavior.

As much as your husband will definitely be wanting to have an affair, he probably won’t be. This is because doing so would make him feel incredibly guilty and remorseful. It’s those creeping feelings of anxiety that kind of stop us from hurting other people. We want to empathize. We want to be good people. The consensus amongst neurologists is that the part of the brain that shoots the signals of remorse and fear and distress back and forward from the amygdala to the central nervous system under-performs in psychopaths, which frees them up to behave in remorseless, amoral promiscuous ways. They just don’t care. So they do it.

5. He Spends too Much Time Learning How To Spot Psychopaths By Using the Hare Checklist

I’m a big fan of the Hare Checklist. I think it’s scientifically correct. I think a bizarre facet of human nature is when our brains go wrong, they go wrong in uncannily similar ways. The Hare Checklist is brilliant at anatomizing the barely noticeable character traits evident in psychopaths. However, once you become a trained psychopath spotter, you kind of go drunk with power. So if you see your husband reading this and looking too interested, run. Don’t look back. He’s a menace.


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