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Ian Bailey trial in Paris hears he 'confessed' to killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Bailey is being tried in absentia in the French capital.

Ian Bailey outside the Four Courts in Dublin. (File, 2014)
Ian Bailey outside the Four Courts in Dublin. (File, 2014)
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

IAN BAILEY, WHO is accused of killing Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Cork in 1996, indicated he had committed the crime afterwards, according to several witnesses who gave evidence at his trial in Paris.

Two Irish witnesses appeared today and a third sent a written statement to court in the French capital. Bailey is being tried in absentia after Ireland refused an extradition request for the 62-year-old former journalist.

The first witness, Amanda Reed, told the court that Bailey had confessed to her son a few months after Toscan du Plantier was beaten to death at her holiday home in County Cork in southwest Ireland.

Reed’s son, who was 14 at the time, gave a statement to gardaí afterwards, but declined an invitation to testify at the French trial because he remains traumatised by the case.

“He was terrified. I believed my son and I have never questioned what he said,” Reed, 60, told the court, according to a French translation of her remarks in the witness box.

Bailey, who was twice arrested by gardaí but never charged, denies killing Toscan du Plantier, the wife of Daniel Toscan du Plantier, the former director-general of the Gaumont Film Company and who died in 2003.

His DNA was not detected at the scene of the crime, although he was found with scratches afterwards which he attributed to a Christmas tree and cutting up a turkey for dinner.

A lawyer for Bailey, who now sells pizzas in the village of Schull where the murder occurred, has called the French trial a “judicial error.”

Odd conversation

A second witness, Bill Fuller, a cook and former friend of Bailey’s, told the court that the suspect had confessed to him in an odd conversation during which he referred to himself in the second person.

“It’s you who killed her,” Fuller remembered Bailey saying, adding that Bailey had been sexually attracted to Toscan du Plantier and often talked about himself in the second person.

“You went to her house at 2am to try your luck. You scared her and to calm her down you hit her, but it went too far,” Fuller quoted Bailey as saying, according to remarks relayed by the French court translator.

Ian Bailey court case Pierre-Louis Baudey-Vignaud, son of Toscan du Plantier who was just 14 at the time of her killing. Source: PA Images

A third witness, an editor at The Sunday Tribune newspaper in Ireland who had employed Bailey to write about the murder, sent a statement to the court.

She said that Bailey had told her he had killed Toscan du Plantier to resurrect his journalism career.

French authorities automatically open an investigation when any French citizen is killed abroad and the decision to prosecute Bailey was taken following a complaint by the family of the victim in 1997.

A verdict is expected on Friday.

On the basis that the Irish judicial system has found no case against Bailey, his lawyers spoke of “a judicial error” in France, adding that their client had “already been condemned” there.

© – AFP 2019

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