Bailey names garda in 'death threat' allegation

Bailey names garda in 'death threat' allegation

Former journalist Ian Bailey has identified a detective whom he alleges told him that he would be 'found dead in a ditch' when he was arrested in connection with the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Mr Bailey (aged 57), an English reporter who moved to Ireland more than 23 years ago, was twice questioned about the French film-maker's death.

The 39-year-old producer was found by two neighbours beaten to death outside her holiday home on a remote west Cork hillside on the morning of December 23, 1996.

Mr Bailey was never prosecuted.

In a second day of evidence in his High Court lawsuit against the State for wrongful arrest, Mr Bailey detailed receiving what he interpreted as a death threat during his first detention.

“The driver of the car told me: 'Even if we don’t pin this on you, you are finished in Ireland,” Mr Bailey told the court.

“'You will be found dead in a ditch with a bullet in the back of your head.'

“I interpreted that as a death threat.

“It haunts me to this day, honestly. It’s just one of those things that you remember quite clearly. It’s a bit of a nightmare really.”

Mr Bailey said three officers came to his home in Co Cork on the morning of February 10, 1997 to arrest him.

He identified the driver of the Garda car as Detective Garda Liam Hogan.

Almost 20 years since the unsolved murder, Mr Bailey has taken a lawsuit for wrongful arrest and mistreatment by the Garda.

He claims false imprisonment, assault, battery, trespass of the person, intentional infliction of emotional and psychological harm, harassment and intimidation, terrorising and oppressive behaviour and a breach of his constitutional rights.

The jury of eight men and four women have been told the State denies all claims.

Mr Bailey told the court the first time he realised he would not be prosecuted over the unsolved killing was in 2007 – 10 years after the second arrest.

He described his life after being identified as a suspect in the case.

“People heard rumours. The dreadful, rotten, stinking lie that I had something to do with the murder,” Mr Bailey said.

Mr Bailey said two journalists said to him that he had been identified as a suspect.

He also told the court he sought to work on the story.

Mr Bailey said it was the only story in the whole of west Cork the following day, with locals talking about how Mme Toscan du Plantier had been beaten to death.

“It was like a mini nuclear device going off. It was a very big shock and it spread out,” he told the jury.

“There was no other topic of conversation. Everybody seemed to know the details of it, how they knew, I didn’t know.”

With standing room only in court number three of the Four Courts, Mr Bailey is continuing to give evidence.

The case is expected to last at least six weeks.

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