- Talk that he had something to do with murder ‘a dreadful, rotten, lie’
Ian Bailey said he contemplated suicide due to “a deep sense of despair and hopelessness” and “collapse of normality” after being twice arrested by gardaí investigating the 1996 murder of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
The second arrest was on January 20, 1998 — the day of his 41st birthday — and a garda from Dublin, Ted Murphy, allegedly told him there was “a nice little cell waiting for you in Mountjoy”, Mr Bailey said.
The first arrest had been almost a year earlier on February 10, 1997.
He told a High Court jury he was shocked by both arrests which followed a similar pattern, with gardaí in an atmosphere of hostility and aggression, insisting they and everybody knew he had killed Ms du Plantier — whose body was found at Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996 — despite his denials.
He was aware after the murder of talk he himself had something to do with it and that was a “dreadful, rotten, stinking lie”.
Mr Bailey said he experienced sleep disturbance and weight loss and his mind was so troubled after the first arrest he could not read a full book for five years, was unable to get work as a journalist, was “branded” in the community, and had also lost close friends.
A shop owner in Schull went “wild” and told him ‘Get out, get out’ when he went in seeking to sell courgettes, he said.
His mind was also troubled by what he considered as “a death threat” made by the driver of the patrol car which brought him to Bandon Garda station after his first arrest.
The driver, Garda Liam Hogan, allegedly told him: “If we can’t pin this on you, you’re finished in Ireland. You’ll be found dead in a ditch with a bullet in the back of your head,” he said.
The events in the 18 years since the murder affected him and his partner Jules Thomas, their families and the community and this was “still going on”.
“I don’t think I handled it very well in the early days,” he told his counsel Martin Giblin.
“I got to the stage where I was contemplating the possibility of suicide.”
Mr Bailey said he always believed in the power of prayer and “the truth would come out”.
When his solicitor Frank Buttimer told him some years later that Marie Farrell, who had given evidence against him at libel actions brought against various media, had retracted statements, that was “a great relief” and in many ways the answer to his prayer.
Mr Bailey was continuing his evidence in his action for damages against the Garda commissioner and State.
He alleges he was wrongfully arrested in connection with the murder of Ms du Plantier and gardaí conspired to manufacture evidence against him.
The defendants deny all the claims in the action before Mr Justice John Hedigan and a jury.
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