A DOUBLE murderer is to have his prison sentence reviewed at the Court of Appeal.

Senior judges will hear challenges or appeals to the prison sentences of five killers, including Ian Stewart, 61, previously of Royston.

The special court of five judges will consider how whole-life orders are imposed.

Stewart, who was convicted of murdering his first wife six years before he went on to murder his fiancee, is due to appeal against his whole-life order.

READ MORE: https://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/news/19911638.hellen-baileys-killer-ian-stewart-found-guilty-killing-first-wife/

Stewart killed 51-year-old children's book author Helen Bailey, who was brought up in Ponteland, in 2016, and dumped her body in the cesspit of the £1.5 million home they shared in Royston in Hertfordshire. She was in the cesspit for three months before she was found.

A trial previously heard it was most likely she was suffocated while sedated by drugs, and Stewart was found guilty of her murder in 2017.

After this conviction, police investigated the 2010 death of Stewart's first wife, Diane Stewart, 47.

The cause of her death was recorded at the time as sudden unexplained death in epilepsy, but, Stewart was later found guilty of her murder.

Stewart claimed in court, as his two sons listened to his evidence, that he had returned from the supermarket to the family home in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, and found his wife collapsed in the garden. He said he thought she had suffered an epileptic fit.

Mrs Stewart had not had an epileptic fit for 18 years and took daily medication, jurors were told, with consultant neurologist Dr Christopher Derry estimating that her risk of having a fatal epileptic seizure was about one in 100,000.

As part of the police investigation, following Stewart's 2017 murder conviction, consultant neuropathologist Professor Safa Al-Sarraj was asked to examine preserved parts of Mrs Stewart's brain, which had been donated to medical science.

Prof Al-Sarraj said there was evidence that Mrs Stewart's brain had suffered a lack of oxygen prior to her death, and he estimated that this happened over a period of 35 minutes to an hour.

Prosecutor Stuart Trimmer QC said her death was "most likely caused by a prolonged restriction to her breathing from an outside source", such as smothering or a neck hold.

The five judges are expected to give their decisions at a later date.