Helen Bailey’s publishers have paid tribute to the “clever, funny, friendly” children’s author, after her partner was yesterday (22nd February) found guilty of her murder.
Ian Stewart, 56, was today given a life sentence for the crime and will serve a minimum of 34 years.
Anne McNeil, of Hodder Children’s Books, told The Bookseller of how “proud” Bailey was to be a children’s author and how the company was “very proud indeed to publish her”. Hodder publishes Bailey’s series of Electra Brown books.
The senior publisher told The Bookseller: “I first met Helen with her late husband, John, back in 2001 when we worked on a range of magical picture and novelty books to accompany one of their toy and licensing brands. She was clever, funny, friendly, open, honest, creative and extremely hard working. It was over lunch in 2003 when Helen said she would like to write her own fiction and over the next eight years we published 15 of her books. She never missed a deadline. She always was professional and fair – and my colleagues across the different areas of the business all enjoyed a good working relationship with her.
"Helen’s children’s books ranged from sparkly books for the smallest children to teenage fiction, so it wasn‘t a surprise that she went on to write for adults. Helen was proud to be a children’s author. Her readers mattered hugely to her and we were very proud indeed to publish her.”
Meanwhile Emily Thomas, Bailey's editor at Blink, which published her memoir When Bad Things Happen in Good Bikinis, and also previously at Hachette, told BBC Radio 4’s "World at One" programme: “I’ll remember her as a great writer, a great friend and a great communicator. I could quite cheerfully talk to her for hours, because she was great company. So warm, great fun, every single phone conversation I had with Helen was an absolute delight and the thought of not having one again is pretty devastating.”
Bailey’s partner Ian Stewart was found guilty of killing Bailey yesterday, as well as of fraud, preventing a lawful burial and three offences of perverting the course of justice. The jury delivered its unanimous verdicts at St Alban’s Crown Court following a seven-week trial.