At a Glance: the week in court at the Ian Bailey case

The testimony of Marie Farrell and Jules Thomas made for a sensational week


Jules Thomas

, Ian Bailey’s partner.

Marie Farrell

, a resident of Schull, Co Cork in 1996-97.


Cross-examining Ms Thomas, senior counsel Paul O’Higgins said a visitor to Mr Bailey’s and Ms Thomas’s house in early 1999 told gardaí that Mr Bailey had said, “I did it, I went too far”, and began to cry after a discussion of the murder of French film-maker

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

. Ms Thomas said the man,

Richard Shelley

, and his wife, Rosie, were not “compos mentis” in the early hours of January 1st, 1999, and they did not understand that Mr Bailey was telling them that “people were saying he did it”.

Mr O’Higgins put it to Ms Thomas that her daughter Fenella told gardaí that Ms Thomas and Mr Bailey went out for about two hours on the morning of December 23rd, 1996, the same day that Ms du Plantier’s body was found. Both Ms Thomas and Mr Bailey have told the court they did not leave the house until about 2pm, after they learned about a body being found. Mr O’Higgins put it to Ms Thomas that she had phoned Fenella in May this year and tried to pressure her to change that statement, but that Fenella had declined to do so. Ms Thomas agreed that she had phoned her daughter last May, but denied pressuring her.

Giving evidence, Ms Farrell said that from early 1997 she had several daily conversations, over a period of months, with Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald, during which they would discuss "everything", including personal matters and the Garda investigation into the murder. Ms Farrell said her relationship with Det Garda Fitzgerald developed after she agreed in late January 1997 to make a statement saying that a man she had seen near Schull at about 2am on December 23rd, 1996 – hours before the body of Ms du Plantier was found – was Ian Bailey. Mr Bailey was not the man she saw, she said,but she agreed to say he was after gardaí told her they knew he had killed Ms du Plantier and might kill again if gardaí didn't stop him.

Gardaí told her that Mr Bailey was dangerous and “weird”, would howl at a full moon and had sat naked in a rocking chair on Barleycove Beach “with 10 lesbians dancing around him reciting poetry”. Gardaí also told her not to worry about her husband’s driving-insurance conviction, and his appeal against that was later successful, she said.

Ms Farrell said she went to Ballydehob Garda station on February 14th, 1997. She stayed about half an hour and, before she left, agreed to sign between four and eight blank pages. “To be honest, I didn’t give it much thought really.”

She said she approached Mr Bailey in a bar in Schull in June 1997, told him that the gardaí were trying to set him up and arranged for him to come to her shop.

Answering questions from Tom Creed SC, for Mr Bailey, Ms Farrell said that an "intoxicated" Det Sgt Maurice Walsh exposed himself to her in the ladies' toilets at the local golf club before saying: "Isn't it a real turn-on fitting up the long black bollocks or the English bastard or whatever they called Ian Bailey?" She "just pushed him away", said "for feck's sake, Maurice, Pauline's out there", fixed her clothes, and walked out.

Ms Farrell said she lied during the 2003 hearing of libel actions by Mr Bailey after gardaí “told me to stick to the story”. Those lies included claims that she saw Mr Bailey at about 2am on a road near Schull on December 23rd, 1996, just hours before the body of Ms du Plantier was found, and that she had been harassed by Mr Bailey on several occasions, she said.

The case resumes on Wednesday.