‘Tell the truth’: Ian Bailey urges his exoneration in du Plantier murder

After conviction in France, English man calls on ‘somebody... to admit they know it wasn’t me’

After his conviction in France for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, Ian Bailey was back at his stall in Schull selling Pizza and copies of his poetry. Video: Enda O'Dowd

 

Ian Bailey has said he wants a person or persons to come forward and tell the truth about the circumstances of Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s killing in 1996, after his conviction this week of her murder in Paris.

The former journalist on Saturday told RTÉ he wanted “somebody in Ireland to come out and have the courage to tell the truth and admit they know it wasn’t me”.

On Friday, Mr Bailey (62), of the Prairie Liscaha, Schull, Co Cork, was convicted in his absence by the three judges of the Cour d’Assises of Paris of the voluntary homicide of mother of one, Ms Toscan du Plantier (39) at her holiday home in Toormore, west Cork, on December 23rd, 1996. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The English man has repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing, and refused to attend the trial in Paris.

The court also ordered a new European arrest warrant to be issued, asking Ireland for the third time to extradite Mr Bailey to France.

Mr Bailey described as “water off a duck’s back” his conviction in the French court for the murder, more than two decades after Ms Toscan du Plantier’s badly beaten body was found.

“It was water of a duck’s back to be honest, but there we are,” he said about learning of the verdict and sentence handed down in the French capital’s high criminal court on Friday.

At a farmers’ market in Skibbereen, west Cork, where he usually operates a stall, he suggested he might be expecting a knock on the door from authorities next week, after the court ordered the new European arrest warrant.

“It is a bank holiday weekend,” he said. “Tomorrow is Sunday, it is a bank holiday on Monday. Maybe on Tuesday I might be waiting for a knock on my door.”

Asked how he was feeling, he replied: “Tá mé go maith – I’m actually pretty good. I’m surprised this morning. I’m under strict instructions not to make any comment.”

The Palais de Justice de Paris, where Ian Bailey was this week convicted of the 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The Palais de Justice de Paris, where Ian Bailey was this week convicted of the 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Mr Bailey told RTÉ news he had written a poem – “a sort of mantra and a poem” – to “stay calm in the eye of the hurricane and that’s what I’ve been doing all week”.

Eye of the hurricane

“Actually I decided this morning when I woke up, because the hurricane moves on – this is a metaphor and I’m a poet – I am just going to remain in the eye of the hurricane… in the sense of peace,” he added.

Mr Bailey said although he was at the farmers’ market as usual, he was not manning his stall “because I am a seasoned marketeer and doing a market while ‘tá sé fliuch’ [it is wet] is not much fun. It is difficult.

“From my point of view it is all business as usual. I am just going to carry on as long as I can, being myself and being as creative as I can be,” he added.

Asked what he wanted, he said for “somebody in Ireland to come out and have the courage to tell the truth and admit they know it wasn’t me”.

“That’s what I would ask because I know there are people in this country who know it wasn’t me that was the culprit, and I know they are sitting on that,” he said. “My prayer has been that the truth will come out.”

Mr Bailey said he has always had and still has sympathy for Ms Toscan du Plantier’s family.

“They were told a bundle of lies right from the beginning, that somehow I was the culprit,” he said. “They chose to believe that. They still have my sympathy.”