Ian Stewart, the partner of Royston author Helen Bailey, appeared in court via video link this afternoon charged with her murder.

The 55-year-old appeared before St Albans Crown Court charged with murdering Ms Bailey on April 11, perverting the course of justice – reporting her as missing to police and hiding her body – and preventing lawful burial.

Mr Stewart, who is originally from Letchworth, will next appear in court on October 14 and a provisional trial date has been set for January 9.

A post mortem took place on Helen at Lister Hospital in Stevenage yesterday, and another was carried out on her dog Boris today. Pathologists are awaiting further test results for both.