A KILLER who murdered his fiancee tearfully told a court how he found his first wife “twisted” in the garden after he allegedly murdered her.
Ian Stewart, 61, is accused of killing Diane Stewart, 47, on the patio of the home she shared with him and their two sons in Bassingbourn, Cambs, in 2010.
An inquest concluded Diane suffered a “sudden unexplained death through epilepsy”.
But the court was told a pathologist found the death was most likely caused by “a prolonged restriction of her breathing from an outside source”.
In a “stroke of fortune”, Diane had donated her brain with tests showing she was either suffocated or strangled in the hour before her death, it is said.
Sobbing Stewart told jurors at Huntingdon Crown Court today how he returned home from Tesco to find Diane collapsed in the garden.
He said: “I just remember she was all twisted, her legs and arms were underneath her…. it didn’t look natural or normal.
“I started to panic obviously. The first thing I did was try to put her into the recovery position.
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“I knew because I had done quite a lot of first-aid, I had to get her into the recovery position and clear her mouth.”
He told how he cleaned Diane’s mouth of vomit and foam from the supposed epileptic fit she was suffering.
Stewart also claimed he was left “exhausted” by carrying out CPR for “quite a while” so popped to a neighbouring home owned by a doctor and nurse.
He said he left stricken Diane for up to five minutes before coming back when there was no answer.
Stewart then called 999, telling them: “My wife has had a fit. I think she has died”.
He added to jurors: “I was trying to save her life, I was trying to get her to breathe again.”
The court was told he was at home with his wife alone on the day she died and no one else had seen her that morning.
When paramedics arrived at the home, they discovered Diane without a heartbeat, jurors heard.
There was also no evidence Stewart had left the house on the day she fatally collapsed, the court was told.
He also gave “differing accounts” of what happened and where he had been, it was said.
Jurors previously heard how they rowed the day Diane died but Stewart claimed they never “had a big argument, a big falling out”.
He added: “We were very much in love, very happy. Very much so.
“Looking back, it was too perfect really. It was too good.”
Diane’s remains were cremated but her brain was donated to medical research and brain tissue was also kept.
Scientists were able to use this to find her chances of dying from epilepsy were more than one in 100,000, it was said.
The court was told she had not suffered a seizure for 18 years and it was an “extremely low” chance her “mild” epilepsy killed her.
Her brain also showed evidence of ischemia – when the brain is starved of oxygen for up to an hour, jurors were told.
Jurors were told jobless Stewart was convicted in 2017 of murdering his millionaire partner Helen Bailey, who was worth £4million.
The couple met in a Facebook bereavement group, which Stewart joined after Diane died.
The remains of the children’s author were discovered in a cesspit full of human excrement alongside her beloved pet dog Boris in April 2016.
Helen wrote the successful Crazy World of Electra Brown series and published 22 books of short stories, picture books and young-adult fiction.
It later emerged she had been drugged with sleeping medication before she was killed.
Police officers and scientists began re-examining Diane’s death after that “particularly callous crime”, it was said.
The trial continues.
If you have been affected by anything in this article, call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.