Bailey case hears of ‘breakdown’

A former British soldier denied before the High Court he told gardaí in 1997 he and another man were thinking of going down to journalist Ian Bailey’s house to ask him to “give himself up”.

Bailey case hears of ‘breakdown’

Paul O’Higgins SC, for the State, said Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald will give evidence he met Martin Graham walking a dog near Russell Barrett’s house outside Skibbereen, where Mr Bailey had gone on the night of February 10-11, 1997, after he was released following his first arrest in connection with the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Counsel said the evidence would be Mr Bailey was in Mr Barrett’s house until February 12, 1997. Det Fitzgerald will say Mr Graham had said words to the effect, after all that happened in the house, Mr Barrett thinks Ian is guilty too and they were thinking of going down and asking him to give himself up.

Mr Graham, who has told the jury he overheard conversations between Mr Bailey and others while Mr Bailey was in Mr Barrett’s house, said that was “rubbish” and he and Mr Barrett “never colluded in anything at all”.

He was being cross-examined in the continuing action taken by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State who deny all his claims, including wrongful arrest and conspiracy, over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found near Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996.

Mr Graham said he had a mental breakdown while serving with the British Army in Northern Ireland between 1980 and 1982 and was still suffering from that. He could not remember events of 10 and 20 years ago but could recall events in West Cork in 1997 because he had spent 18 years “hiding from it”.

Mr O’Higgins said gardaí will testify Mr Graham told them Mr Bailey spoke to him on St Patrick’s Day 1997 about the murder and had said he knew the exact time of her death.

Mr Graham said that was not the case. He had been dropped off by gardaí between 500m-1,000m from Mr Bailey’s home that day and walked to the house but Mr Bailey would not let him in.

When told gardaí would say he rang them on March 11 saying he wanted to go and ask Mr Bailey to give himself up, Mr Graham said it was the gardaí who asked him to go to Mr Bailey’s house and he, himself, would not have suggested anything “so preposterous”.

Asked what he wanted out of this, Mr Graham said he was helping the gardaí because they asked him to. Asked if he was interested in money, he said he had a “vague interest in money, purely to survive”.

When Mr O’Higgins said gardaí would deny Mr Graham’s claim they gave him quantities of cannabis, Mr Graham said he was given cannabis, including about 7ozs when going to a music festival in Kilcrohane in March 1997.

He said he saw Mr Bailey briefly at Kilcrohane. Asked had Mr Bailey inquired if he made a statement, Mr Graham said Mr Bailey did ask him at one point, but he could not say when it was.

Mr Graham agreed he had signed two statements, dated February 25, 1997, and April 19, 1997, concerning Mr Bailey’s visit to Mr Barrett’s house. He said those were not read over to him at the time and he had just looked at some of the contents.

Asked if the February statement was accurate, he said he wasn’t disputing anything. He said he was being “led all the way through the whole thing” and doubted whether the statement incorporated his entire conversation with the gardaí.

Asked about references in the April statement to Mr Bailey talking about the murder and saying he saw a “dark cloud” over the house where Sophie had been staying, Mr Graham said what Mr Bailey had said was that he was told people were saying he had said such things. “Everything is out of context,” he said.

He said he told the police, when Mr Bailey was in Mr Barrett’s house, Mr Bailey was stressed and panicking, watching media reports, and saying this person says I’ve done this and that. He felt he was not getting “a fair crack”, Mr Graham said.

The case continues.

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