How Donated Brain Tissue Helped Catch a Killer

Serial killer Ian Stewart could have gotten away with murder until brain tissue donated by one of his victims revealed her real cause of death, according to a story reported in The Guardian newspaper.

What to know:

  • An analysis of donated brain tissue helped convict a British man of murdering his wife, his second murder conviction in 5 years.

  • It was originally believed that Ian Stewart’s wife Diane died in 2010 of an epileptic seizure.

  • In 2017, Stewart was convicted of murdering his fiancée Helen Bailey.

  • Bailey had been drugged, suffocated, and her body dumped so Stewart could inherit her £4m fortune.

  • Diane had donated her brain for medical research and the conviction for Bailey’s murder prompted a reanalysis of her brain.

  • A neuropathologist determined Diane’s brain showed signs that “breathing had been restricted” for between 35 minutes and an hour before her death and that she, too, had been murdered.

This is a summary of the article “How brain tissue donation helped unravel Ian Stewart’s web of lies” published by The Guardian on February 9. The full article can be found on

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