Ian Bailey claims ‘French connection’ not investigated

Bailey was ‘shocked’ Daniel Toscan du Plantier did not immediately travel to west Cork

Ian Bailey has said "very, very suspect" information came from France after the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier near west Cork in December 1996, but was never seriously inquired into by gardaí.

Mr Bailey said he was very interested in “the French connection” and had invited gardaí to his home to discuss that on January 14th, 1997. He was becoming aware, as “an investigative journalist”, of material in France and he and another woman had expressed their views to gardaí in that regard.

He believed there was an “overfocus” on him by gardaí and that matters in France should have been looked into more seriously.

“I believe to this day there is a French connection,” he said.

Earlier, he said he considered it “quite shocking” and “very strange” that Ms Toscan du Plantier’s husband Daniel had not come to west Cork to assist gardaí in the immediate aftermath of her murder, to identify her body and assist gardaí because he was too busy with business commitments.

When Luán Ó Braonáin, for the State, asked was he suggesting Daniel Toscan du Plantier was in any way involved with the death, Mr Bailey said he was not using those words, but counsel could "draw your own conclusions".

When counsel referred to “smoke and mirrors”, Mr Bailey said he was told a lot of information from France concerning the victim’s private life, including that she was leaving her husband and had been involved in a “catfight” with her husband’s mistress.

Earlier, he agreed that material he wrote in an article about the private life of Ms Toscan du Plantier, published about two weeks after her murder, was removed by a news editor.

When Mr Ó Braonáin suggested the Sunday Tribune had removed "lascivious" details about Ms Toscan du Plantier's private life from articles supplied by him to the newspaper in January 1997, he said he was not sure what was removed.

Mr Ó Braonáin said the material in question referred to Ms Toscan du Plantier’s “love life” and to her having “male companions” and “multiple partners”.

He said he did recall then Sunday Tribune news editor Helen Callanan telling him she had taken material about Ms Toscan du Plantier's personal life from an article.

He agreed another article written by him referred to Ms Toscan du Plantier saying, during a visit to a west Cork beauty spot, that she was experiencing a feeling of unexplained terror. Mr Bailey said he was given that information by a local woman.

He also agreed he had provided articles to the newspaper without disclosing he was one of the suspects for the murder.

Mr Bailey is under continuing cross-examination in his High Court action against the Garda Commissioner and State. They deny his claims of wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, assault, conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional and psychological harm arising from the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier in west Cork in 1996.

The body of the French filmmaker was found near Toormore, Schull, on the morning of Monday December 23rd, 1996.

Earlier, Mr Bailey said he assisted reporter Senan Molony from the Irish daily Star when he came to west Cork in early January 1997 to work on the story. He had shown Mr Molony the scene where the body was found and provided him with what information he knew.

He said he would have briefed Mr Molony on aspects of the case and Mr Molony would have integrated that into articles. He had not provided information that the clothes on the bed in the victim’s home were rumpled, he said.

He also said Mr Molony may have found out there was blood on the back door. Mr Bailey said he himself was aware of that from a neighbour and believed that information may have been reported earlier.

Part of an article stating the “best guess” is the victim was roused from her slumber by hammering on the back door was not provided by him, he said. That was speculative, he said.

A suggestion in an article that the killing may have been motivated by passion, jealously or hate rather than sexual assault or robbery also did not come from him and was speculative. He had also not given information to Mr Molony that locals were keeping “a veil of silence”. He declined a byline on a January 4th, 1997, story as none of the information in that came from him.

His concern about sensitivities of the local community was also a factor, he said.

The case continues.