“It was like something out of TV show Miami Vice,” the shopkeeper said.
Ms Farrell said, from early 1997, she had several daily conversations over months with Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald, during which they would discuss “everything,” including personal matters and the Garda investigation into the murder of French film-maker, Sophie Toscan du Planter, whose body was found near Toomore, Schull, on the morning of December 23, 1996.
Ms Farrell said her relationship with Det Fitzgerald developed after she agreed in late January 1997 to make a statement saying a man whom she had seen near Schull about 2am on December 23, 1996 — hours before the body of Ms Toscan du Plantier was found — was Ian Bailey.
Mr Bailey was not the man she saw, but she agreed to say he was after gardaí told her they knew he had killed Ms Toscan du Plantier and might kill again if gardaí didn’t stop him, she said.
She believed gardaí when they said her statement would help put away a “real dangerous” man.
Gardaí told her Mr Bailey was dangerous and “weird,” would howl at a full moon and had sat in a rocking chair on Barleycove beach “with 10 lesbians dancing around him, reciting poetry.”
Gardaí also told her not to worry about her husband’s conviction concerning driving insurance, and his appeal against that was later successful, she said.
She was told she would never have to give evidence in court and, once Mr Bailey was charged, he would admit it, she said. She understood she just had to provide a “two-line” statement.
Det Fitzgerald would refer to Mr Bailey as “that long, black bollocks” or that “English bastard”, she said.
Ms Farrell said she went to Ballydehob garda station on February 14, 1997, where she met a number of gardaí, including Det Fitzgerald. After she told gardaí there she was in a hurry, she said she was told they would write down what she told them. She stayed about half an hour and, before she left, agreed to sign between four and eight blank pages. “To be honest, I didn’t give it much thought really,” she said.
When shown various statements with her signature on them, including statements that the man she saw near Schull about 2am on December 23, 1996, was definitely Mr Bailey, she said she had not made those statements and believed they were made on the blank pages she had signed. She made certain other statements later in 1997 and rehearsed what was to go into those beforehand with Det Fitzgerald, she said. Some of the material in those statements was accurate, but other material was not.