Thursday 22 August 2019

'Narcissist' Ian Bailey's personality 'based on violence', court hears

Trial: Lawyer Marie Dose with Sophie’s best friend Agnes Thomas and her brother Bertrand Bouniol. Photo: PA
Trial: Lawyer Marie Dose with Sophie’s best friend Agnes Thomas and her brother Bertrand Bouniol. Photo: PA

Sarah Collins

Journalist Ian Bailey displayed traits of a "borderline" personality disorder and was a narcissist, a Paris court has heard.

Mr Bailey is being tried in his absence for the murder of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39), who was found dead near her cottage in Toormore, Co Cork, on December 23, 1996.

Psychiatrist Jean Michel Masson and psychologist Katy Lorenzo-Regreny said Mr Bailey displayed traits of a "borderline" personality, a disorder that can lead to extreme emotions and impulsive behaviour.

The two experts, who were not present in court yesterday, said that Mr Bailey had "no impairment" to influence him in carrying out a criminal act and that he was not psychotic.

The psychiatric profile was ordered by the French magistrate overseeing the case in 2014, and was based on Mr Bailey's diaries and Garda interviews following the killing.

Egocentricity

The report concluded that Mr Bailey had a personality based on "narcissism, psycho-rigidity, violence, impulsiveness, egocentricity with an intolerance to frustration and a great need for recognition".

Ms du Plantier's family yesterday appealed for justice to be served and for her murder to be solved.

"She should be here now, walking free," her aunt, Marie-Madeleine Opalka, told the court. "It's important for justice to be done."

Her son, Pierre-Louis Baudey Vignaud (38), made an eloquent plea to the court to help him "feel secure" and to decide what to do with the remote west Cork hideaway his mother had loved.

He still maintains that house exactly as it was when she left it, with her coat still hanging on the back of the door and the tea she drank still on the shelf. He says the Irish landscape and the house embodied her personality perfectly.

"When I go back to Ireland, I don't go back to a crime scene," he told the court. "The house is how she left it, and her spirit lives on there."

It was the third day of the trial of Mr Bailey (62), who is accused of the "voluntary killing" of Ms du Plantier (39) near her home in Toormore, Co Cork, in December 1996.

Mr Bailey has consistently denied the charges and is being tried in his absence. He has described the Paris case as "a show trial".

The Irish courts have denied French prosecutors two extradition requests for Mr Bailey, in 2011 and in 2017.

Ms du Plantier was battered to death, police believe, after fleeing an attacker who called to her home late on the night of December 22-23.

She was in Ireland alone for a few days, but intended to return home to her son and her husband, renowned French filmmaker Daniel Toscan du Plantier, before Christmas, her family said.

"Maman didn't go to Ireland to flee Daniel Toscan du Plantier, but to escape from the very public life she had with him in Paris, to recharge and take a breather," her son explained.

Maître Pettiti, one of the three lawyers representing Ms du Plantier's family, said of Mr Bailey: "He prefers to express himself on Irish television rather than in front of French judges and police."

Mr Bailey failed to send in a statement in his defence, but presiding judge Frédérique Aline read out various interviews he had with gardaí.

According to Mr Bailey, he was at a pub in Schull, the Galley, on the night of the murder, with his partner Jules Thomas. They left the bar around closing and drove home, stopping once briefly along the way, then went to bed.

Ms Thomas took some painkillers that made her drowsy and she didn't wake until the next morning.

After written evidence by Ms Thomas's daughters, Mr Bailey admitted that he did get up during the night to write, but he did not leave his home.

The prosecution pointed to the testimony of shopkeeper Marie Farrell about the night of the murder, despite the fact that she retracted her statement years later. She said she saw Mr Bailey heading in the direction of Ms du Plantier's home at 3am on December 23. "She is credible, even though she changed her story," said another of the family's lawyers, Maître Dose, "because she was a victim of [harassment by] Ian Bailey."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News