Sunday 8 December 2019

'I spent night in Mountjoy prison cell you wouldn't put a dog in,' Ian Bailey tells court

Ian Bailey arriving at court yesterday
Ian Bailey arriving at court yesterday
an Bailey and his partner, Jules Thomas (Left) pictured leaving the Four Courts yesterday (Wed) after Mr Bailey gave evidence in his High Court action for damages.Pic: Courts Collins
Ian Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas arrive at the Four Courts in Dublin
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

FOLLOWING his arrest on foot of a European Arrest Warrant in 2010, Ian Bailey was taken to a cell in Mountjoy Prison which "you wouldn't put a dog in, never mind a human", a court has heard.

Mr Bailey said there was an open sewer in the cell and he was unable to eat a sandwich given to him due to the "stink of sh*t and urine".

He said he complained to prison officers telling them the cell was "not fit for a human" but he was told the cell was "one of your best".

Mr Bailey said his arrest on foot of the EAW took place two weeks before he was due to sit his final exams for his law degree. "I can't help but feel this was a deliberate act to discombobulate me", he said.

Mr Bailey is in the witness box for a third day giving evidence in his wrongful arrest action against the State.

He said he feels "like a prisoner in Ireland" because he cannot travel due to the EAW.

Mr Bailey became upset when he said he had been unable to travel to England for his mother's funeral, saying this was the "cruellest abuse" and he has still to mourn properly for her.

Mr Bailey said that an enquiry set up to look into the conduct of gardai during the investigation into the murder of French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier was "like a ray of light after a long period of darkness".

Mr Bailey told the High Court he hoped that the investigation - led by Assistant Commissioner Ray McAndrew - would "vindicate" him.

Mr Bailey said that he heard in 2006 that Marie Farrell was recanting her original statements to gardai in relation to alleged sightings of him at Cealfada Bridge around the time of Ms du Plantier's murder.

As a result of Ms Farrell's revelations, Mr Bailey said his solicitor, Frank Buttimer, wrote to the garda commissioner and in 2007 an investigation was set up, which lasted two years.

Mr Bailey said he had five or six meetings with investigating officers and he made a number of statements but said no action was taken as a result of the investigation against any garda.

"The enquiry was set up as a result of my complaints but I never received the fruits of it, so to speak. I felt I was entitled to it, and had hoped for some positive outcome from the enquiry", he said.

Mr Bailey also said he had no faith in the garda complaints procedure as it existed in 1997.

In his evidence yesterday, Mr Bailey said he has always prayed and he believed in the power of prayer and "that the truth would come out".

He said the false allegations has caused great strain to him, his partner Jules Thomas and their wider family.

Mr Bailey was arrested twice on suspicion of the murder of Ms du Plantier, first in February 1997 and again in January 1998, on the day of his birthday.

Mr Bailey said he continually tried to tell gardai he had nothing to do with her murder but they didn't want to listen, repeatedly telling him "we know you did it, everyone knows you did it, just admit it".

In the years immediately following the arrests, Mr Bailey said he did not cope well.

He said he contemplated suicide as he could "see no way out" and was "overcome by a deep sense of despair and hopelessness".

Mr Bailey also suffered sleep disturbance and could not finish a book because "everything seemed trivial compared to what was going on in my life".

He lost a lot of weight, was branded as a prime suspect and became a "social pariah".

He said he was aware of talk that he had something to do with the murder, but that was a "dreadful, rotten, stinking lie".

Mr Bailey said gardai attempted to create a false narrative - that he killed Ms du Plantier - and this permeated through the media and was embraced by people.

Mr Bailey said he remembers going into a shop in Schull in July 1997 with a basket of courgettes he hoped to sell and the owner told him "get out, get out of my shop".

He also received a dead rat in the mail, there was paint on his walls and items were thrown into his garden.

Mr Bailey is suing the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General for damages for alleged wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, conspiracy, assault and intentional infliction of emotional and psychological suffering.

The State denies all claims made by Mr Bailey and will say there was a lawful basis for his identification as a suspect, the High Court heard.

The case continues before Mr Justice John Hedigan and a jury of eight men and four women.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News