Sunday 17 November 2019

'Ian Bailey was crying and said: 'I did it, I did it',' court hears

Witness tells trial Bailey was ‘obsessed’ with murder

Ian Bailey
Ian Bailey

JOURNAIST Ian Bailey was upset and crying when he put his arms around a man and said: “I did it, I did it”, a High Court jury has been told.

Richie Shelley said, when he asked Mr Bailey what did he do, Mr Bailey said: “I went too far.”

Mr Shelley said this happened sometime after 2am on January 1, 1999, at Mr Bailey’s home at the Prairie, Schull in Cork, after the journalist had been looking at newspaper cuttings about the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. 

Asked what he believed Mr Bailey was talking about, he said:  “I think the murder was heavy on his mind because it was the main subject of the night.”

Mr Bailey was “obsessed” with the murder and had earlier produced a shoebox of cuttings about it, he said. His understanding of Mr Bailey's remarks was he was admitting to murder.

Mr Shelley, then aged 24, said he was shocked by what Mr Bailey said and would remember it “until I die”.

Mr Shelley was giving evidence in the continuing action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State over the conduct of the investigation into the murder of French woman, Sophie Toscan du Plantier whose body was found in Schull on December 23, 1996.

The defendants deny all of Mr Bailey’s claims, including of wrongful arrest and conspiracy.

Mr Shelley did not accept a suggestion by Ronan Munro BL, for Mr Bailey, what Mr Bailey was actually upset about was people were saying he had done the murder.

There was no mention that night of violent incidents towards Mr Bailey’s partner Jules Thomas, he told counsel.

Asked about Ms Thomas' evidence Mr Shelley was so drunk he could not have accurately remembered events that night, he said he did not accept that.  He had had four or five drinks prior to coming to the house and drank two cans of lager when there.

He described as “absolute lies” evidence by shopkeeper Marie Farrell he had told her he could not remember what Mr Bailey had said.

He believed his girlfriend Rosie, now his wife, had heard Mr Bailey's remarks, made to him in the kitchen of the house.

She was nervous and they left Mr Bailey’s home by foot shortly afterwards, he said.

He was contacted by RTE's Prime Time in 2014 who said Marie Farrell had told them she had met Mr Shelley on the street some years previously and he had said Bailey did not do it and the guards "twist everything".

Mr Shelley said he had not said that, his conversation with Ms Farrell was about her saying she had been offered money from newspapers and was going to take it to buy doors and windows for a house she was building.

The court also heard from Geraldine O’Brien who was working in Marie Farrell’s shop on June 28, 1997, when Ian Bailey came in looking to talk to Ms Farrell. Ms Farrell was quite nervous and asked her to contact Detective Garda Jim Fitzgerald, she said.

Between November 2013 and February 2014, she said Ms Farrell, during a phone conversation, had said there was a case coming up in which Ian Bailey was involved. Ms Farrell said she had been told he would get substantial money, maybe a couple of million, and Ms Farrell would get some of that too, Ms O'Brien added.

She agreed Ms Farrell had denied making those comments.

Sergeant Mary Burbage, attached to the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said she was involved in the arrest of Jules Thomas on September 22, 2000, was not aggressive to her and had not told her she had met some “hopeless” men in her life.

She agreed Ms Thomas’ daughter Fenella, then aged 17, was upset the previous day, September 21, 2000, when arrested about 7.30am and interviewed during a 12 hour detention. 

She disagreed with Mr Bailey's counsel's suggestion it was “nonsense” to arrest Fenella who had no motive to cover up for Mr Bailey as she did not like him.

She denied Fenella was arrested to get across to Jules Thomas that gardai could arrest her children and “did not mind if a 17 year old child got caught in the crossfire”. 

The case resumes on Tuesday.

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