French police seek Bailey interview
Published 22/06/2011 | 05:00
THE self-confessed chief suspect in the probe into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier has been asked by French police to give a voluntary interview about her death.
Ian Bailey, who has lodged a Supreme Court appeal against a High Court decision to extradite him to France, was asked in recent weeks to co-operate with the French authorities and allow them to interview him here. His partner Jules Thomas has also been asked to give an interview to French police.
The written requests were passed on to the couple by gardai at their home in Cork.
The Irish Independent has learned that the requests are being considered by Mr Bailey's lawyers, who have sought further details on the nature of the French investigators' inquiries.
Mr Bailey and Ms Thomas are among more than 30 Irish-based witnesses who have been asked to co-operate with the French authorities.
Most, but not all of these, have already co-operated with an extensive garda inquiry.
Ms Toscan du Plantier was found battered to death at the foot of a laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore outside Schull in West Cork. She had apparently tried to flee from an intruder, who caught up with her after her clothing became snagged on a piece of barbed wire.
Despite one of the biggest murder investigations in Irish history, nobody has ever been charged in relation to Sophie's killing 14 years ago.
Mr Bailey, who has always denied any involvement in the killing, was arrested twice during the garda investigation into the French woman's death but was never charged, despite a series of reviews by the office of the DPP.
Submissions in the Supreme Court appeal against extradition have been filed by Mr Bailey's lawyers, and the State, which supports the extradition, now has four weeks to reply.
A full, seven-judge Supreme Court is expected to be convened for the appeal, which may be heard before December because of the exceptional points of public interest the case has raised.
The request to extradite a non-Irish citizen from Ireland to France, for an alleged murder committed in Ireland, is unprecedented in both Irish and European law.
The French authorities have stated in their warrant seeking Mr Bailey's extradition that "serious and convincing clues" were accumulated against Mr Bailey during the course of the garda investigation.