Ian Bailey case: at a glance

Jules Thomas denies putting pressure on her daughter to change statement on Ian Bailey

Witnesses

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Jules Thomas

, Ian Bailey’s partner

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Marie Farrell

, a resident of Schull, Co Cork in 1996-1997

Snapshots

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Cross-examining Ms Thomas, senior counsel Paul O’Higgins said a visitor to Mr Bailey 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

.

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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”.

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Mr O’Higgins put to Ms Thomas that a statement she later made to gardaí concerning the Shelleys’ visit was accurate, including her statement that Mr Bailey had a lot to drink that night and that she felt the couple had left her home because “they had heard enough”.

She did not know why the couple left but they did not seem upset, she told the court. She thought they were unhappy with the sleeping arrangements.

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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.

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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 she had phoned her daughter last May but denied pressuring her. She said Fenella would not have known her movements that morning, as she was in bed all morning and was under pressure and very young when she gave the statement. She said the fact that her daughter would not change her statement had caused her sadness.

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Mr O’Higgins said Fenella’s husband, Tadhg O’Driscoll, would give evidence that in his presence Jules Thomas tried to get Fenella to change her statement.

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Ms Thomas was asked about interviews with gardaí during her second arrest in September 2000. She said part of a statement she was asked to sign was shielded from her by gardaí and she was “terrified”. “I felt under enormous pressure to sign that; they weren’t going to take no for an answer.” When the barrister suggested that was untrue, and that she had never before made any suggestion that gardaí shielded pages, she said the statement was handed to her and she was told “you sign there”.

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She agreed she had not told her solicitor about gardaí shouting at and putting pressure on her. “I was in too much shock,” she said.

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Mr O’Higgins put to Ms Thomas a written account of events, written by her, which was taken by gardaí during a search of her house in 1998.

In this narrative, dated August 1997, Ms Thomas wrote that as she and Mr Bailey were driving to the crime scene after hearing of the killing on December 23rd, 1996, they met and spoke to a French journalist who was stopped at the side of the road and appeared to be lost.

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Mr O’Higgins put it to Ms Thomas that the French journalist was an invention that she had created to explain how they knew the murder victim was French. Mr Thomas denied this.

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Marie Farrell began her evidence late yesterday afternoon. Questioned by

Tom Creed

SC, for Mr Bailey, Ms Farrell said she saw a male stranger on the road between Goleen and Schull at about 2am on December 23rd, 1996, some hours before Ms du Plantier’s body was found.

She told the court she had seen the same man standing across the road from her shop in Schull the previous Saturday afternoon, when Ms du Plantier was browsing inside. She did not know the man but he was “not Ian Bailey”.