The jury in the case of tragic children’s author Helen Bailey have been shown photos depicting how police took a cesspit apart brick by brick to find her body.

Electra Brown author Ms Bailey’s elbow, clad in her stripey top, could be seen as officers unearthed her remains. Her fiance Ian Stewart, 56, is currently on trial for her murder. He is alleged to have been drugging her with sedatives in the months leading up to her death, before smothering her in a bid to get his hands on her fortune.

Three months after she was reported missing, her body was finally found in a cesspit underneath the garage of the £1.5m mansion the couple shared. She had been stuffed into the sewage pit along with her beloved pet dog Boris.

Painstaking task

It took two days of painstaking excavation for police to get to Ms Bailey’s body in a way that would not damage her remains, and potentially ruin evidence. Detective Chief Inspector Jerome Kent said it took him some time for his eyes to figure out exactly what he was looking at. He said he saw a dry, hard crust, which he realised was more than mud when he spotted a small, pale white object, which was part of Ms Bailey’s elbow.

Police then set up two white marquees outside the couple’s home, so that they could retrieve Ms Bailey’s body without members of the public or media seeing. Officers said it would have been impossible to get the popular author out from the top of the cesspit, so they had to dig down sideways until the side of the well was exposed.

They found Boris first, along with pillowcases and dog toys, before discovering that Ms Bailey was in there along with her dead pet. The author was identified through dental records.