Saturday 17 March 2018

Teenage son 'did not tell gardai everything about lift with Ian Bailey' - witness

Ian Bailey arrives at the Four Courts
Ian Bailey arrives at the Four Courts

Tim Healy

A woman has told the High Court her teenage son had told her he had not told the gardai everything concerning his getting a lift with Ian Bailey.

Amanda Reid, known as Irune Reid, said she considered what her son Malachi told her was so serious she had contacted the gardai who took statements from herself and her son.

She said her son got a lift from Mr Bailey on Tuesday February 4th 1997, got home about 8.30pm or 9pm and seemed in good form and did not say anything to her then.

The next day, Sgt Kevin Kelleher asked her son questions in school before other children about his journey with Mr Bailey, she said. When Malachi came home from school, he seemed agitated and told her he had not told the gardai everything.

She then had a conversation with him and considered what he told her was very serious and contacted the gardai. Sgt Kelleher came and took statements from both herself and her son either that day or the next.

Under cross-examination, she said she did not know why her statement was dated February 19th 1997.

She agreed her statement said Malachi spoke to her about the lift the previous day and said the gardai had approached him about the time he got home. She said someone saw Malachi get into Mr Bailey's car and that was why the Garda asked him what time he got home.

She agreed her questioning of her son was prompted by the fact he appeared upset and agitated on his return from school.

She 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 Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found near Toormore, Schull, on December 23rd 1996.

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

Earlier Garda Martin Malone, now retired, conclude his evidence. The jury heard he  was a Garda stationed in Schull in 1996 who nominated Mr Bailey on December 27th 1996 as a suspect in the murder investigation.

Mr Malone has told the jury he was suspicious about Mr Bailey having gone to the home of Alf Lyons, a neighbour of Ms du Plantier, on December 27th. His other reasons for nominating Mr Bailey included that Mr Bailey lived about 4km from the murder scene and he had accompanied his partner Jules Thomas to Schull garda station in June 1996 when she withdrew a complaint of serious assault.

Today, Mr Malone said he first heard about the issue of scratches on Mr Bailey on December 28th 1996. He said he had not noticed scratches on Mr Bailey's face and hands on December 23rd 1996.

The court heard he made a number of statements including one dated January 1st 1997 concerning Mr Malone's arrival at the murder scene on December 23rd 1996. He agreed Mr Bailey was not mentioned in that statement.

He told counsel he was not certain whether Mr Bailey was the only suspect on January 31st 1997 when he made another statement. It said Mr Bailey arrived at the murder scene at 2.20pm on December 23rd 1996 and Mr Malone had asked him to leave the scene. It also said: "He departed too quickly and I was suspicious of him."

Mr Malone said he believed Mr Bailey was wearing a "nice long" coat, which he believed was black, and was well dressed when he was at the murder scene on the afternoon of December 23rd.

Counsel said a picture taken at the scene indicated Mr Bailey was wearing a waxed coat which appeared to be a purple colour. Mr Malone said he could not comment on that, he thought it was black, he could not remember exactly at this point. He was not saying Mr Bailey had changed his clothing.

Paul O'Higgins SC, for the State,  said he wanted to clarify there were two visits by Mr Bailey to the scene that day, one about 2pm and the second about 4pm.

Billy O'Regan said he was working in the shop in Lowertown creamery near Schull on the morning of Christmas Eve 1996 when Ian Bailey came in with a bow saw in his hand and went straight to the newspaper stand where he picked up and looked at The Examiner newspaper before putting it back on the stand.

Mr O'Regan said Mr Bailey asked to have the blade on his saw changed because it was cutting crooked and said he would return to collect it later. He noticed Mr Bailey had scratches on his hands which he considered might be got from cutting or clearing briars.

After Mr Bailey left, Mr O'Regan said he examined the saw blade and it seemed good and could do more cutting but he replaced it. Mr Bailey returned later and got briquettes, a bottle of bleach and feed for fowl, he said.

Under cross-examination, he said the blade was good but "the customer is always right". The blade was so good he put it back on the shelf and resold it, he added.

Sgt Frank Looney, now retired, said he had filled in questionnaires based on conversations with Marie Farrell on January 17th 1997 which included references to her seeing Ms Toscan du Plantier in her shop trying on jumpers. Ms Farrell also said she saw a man outside the shop wearing a long black coat and beret around the same time as Ms du Plantier was in the shop.

Ms Farrell had said she saw the same man the following morning on the road near Schull and had seen him again on January 17th 1997. He said she described him she saw on January 17th 1997 as more than six feet tall, wearing a purple mac and heavily built.

He said Ms Farrell kept talking and talking and he was writing as fast as he could.

He agreed he had described Ms Farrell as very helpful and had said detectives should talk to her.

He said Ms Farrell had told him the man she saw on January 17th was in another shop and he, Sgt Rooney,  had gone with her to stand outside that shop. When the man came out, Ms Farrell said "That's him", by that she meant the man she had seen near Schull on the morning of December 22nd 1997 and also outside her shop the previous afternoon.

The man she was pointing at on January 17th was Ian Bailey, he said.

The case continues.

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