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I feared for life over threat, witness tells Bailey trial

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Martin Graham leaving court yesterday. Photo: Courtpix

Martin Graham leaving court yesterday. Photo: Courtpix

Martin Graham leaving court yesterday. Photo: Courtpix

A former British soldier who claimed gardai provided him with quantities of cannabis to get close to journalist Ian Bailey said he believed his life was at risk.

Martin Graham is being cross-examined by lawyers for the gardaĆ­ and the State in the ongoing action by Mr Bailey for wrongful arrest.

Paul O'Higgins SC, for the State, put to Martin Graham that his claim of being threatened by gardai with the 'Provos' after speaking to journalists was "a fancy". Mr Graham replied: "You put yourself there - someone mentions Provos, you don't bloody argue."

The lawyer suggested it was "extraordinary" for Mr Graham to say he left Ireland and remained out of circulation for 18 years as a result of a threat allegedly made in June 1997. Mr Graham said much of what had happened was extraordinary.

Becoming upset, Mr Graham said he was forced out of Ireland when he was having a relationship with a woman here, who later had his child whom he had never seen, and his life was "ruined".

The cross-examination of Mr Graham continues today in the civil action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State arising from the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found at Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996.

The defendants deny all of Mr Bailey's claims, including of wrongful arrest and conspiracy to manufacture evidence.

Mr Graham said he gave an interview to a newspaper in February 2014 after he got an anonymous text, which he later established was from a female friend "Pip".

The text said the gardai needed help finding who murdered "the French girl", that he was "a witness" and should help the family put it to rest.

That prompted him to do the interview, which featured his claims gardai gave him cannabis to get close to Mr Bailey, he said.

He took the text from Pip seriously because it used the words murder and witness. He was not a witness to any murder but rather "a witness to police corruption".

Asked for Pip's phone number, Mr Graham said he did not wish to provide it because it was a person's identity.

Mr Justice John Hedigan told him he must disclose it but could write it down for lawyers and need not read it out in court.

Asked whether he had regular phone contact with Mr Bailey, Mr Graham said that only happened after he made Mr Bailey aware gardai had "given me drugs to get close to him". He might have met Mr Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas up to five times and also had phone conversations.

He denied a suggestion that his telling gardai that Mr Bailey tells Ms Thomas to "shut up" when she tries to say something indicated he had more regular contact with them.

Mr O'Higgins said gardai "absolutely" denied Mr Graham's allegations he was being supplied with cannabis.

Irish Independent