Monday 5 December 2016

French in fresh bid to extradite Bailey over the murder of Sophie

Ralph Riegel and Cathal McMahon

Published 05/08/2016 | 02:30

Ian Bailey
Ian Bailey

The French authorities are set to make a fresh bid to extradite British journalist Ian Bailey for questioning over the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

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Paris police have issued a fresh arrest warrant for the Manchester-born journalist who has been based in west Cork for the past 25 years after he was effectively charged in relation to the matter in absentia in Paris yesterday.

Papers were served by French magistrate Nathalie Turquey at the Paris-based Court of Assizes.

This follows an exhaustive eight-year long investigation by the French police into the death of Ms du Plantier (39) in 1996 at her west Cork holiday home.

The Paris prosecution will now underpin the fresh arrest warrant for Mr Bailey (59).

Ms du Plantier's son, Pierre Louis Baudey, is currently on holidays in the Toormore Cottage his mother described as her dream home.

Mr Baudey welcomed the French move and said his family have "waited almost 20 years for justice".

However, it remains unclear what will happen with the new warrant in Ireland given that the Supreme Court threw out a previous French extradition attempt for Mr Bailey in 2012.

Mr Bailey last night said he had "absolutely no comment" to make on the matter and referred all queries to his solicitor, Frank Buttimer.

Mr Buttimer described the move as "an outrage".

"We have received nothing from the French authorities and the first my client heard about this was from media inquiries and media coverage," he told the Irish Independent.

Mr Bailey will again vigorously contest any French attempt to extradite him over the du Plantier murder.

The mother-of-one and French film executive was found battered to death on an isolated laneway leading to her holiday home outside Schull in west Cork on December 23, 1996.

She had been beaten to death as she apparently attempted to flee from an intruder at her home.

Ms du Plantier had been spending a brief holiday in Ireland before planning to fly back to France to spend Christmas with her family.

Mr Bailey was arrested twice by gardaí in west Cork in connection with the matter in 1997 and 1998.

He was released without charge on both occasions.

He has since repeatedly claimed that attempts were made to "stitch him up" for the crime.

Mr Bailey also vehemently protested his innocence and claimed that being wrongly linked to the tragedy had destroyed his life.

When no-one was ever charged with the killing in Ireland, the French authorities - under pressure from Sophie's family and friends - launched their own probe in 2007.

This was under Paris-based Magistrate Patrick Gachon and enjoyed the full co-operation of the Irish authorities under European police co-operation regulations.

This included allowing elite French police units access to the original Garda murder file and the ability to re-interview all the original witnesses.

The Paris probe also involved exhuming Sophie's body from the French cemetery where she was buried.

Irish Independent

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