Sunday 19 November 2017

Former journalist faces yet another legal battle as French trial looms

Ralph Riegel and Dearbhail McDonald

IAN Bailey (56) was born in Manchester to middle-class parents in 1957. He attended Gloucester Grammar School before deciding on a career in journalism. He trained in Gloucester where he eventually worked for five years for a freelance agency.

He then operated his own freelance agency in Cheltenham where his work appeared in a range of publications like 'The Times', 'The Daily Telegraph' and 'The Sunday Mirror'.

He was based in Cheltenham for five years and was married to a fellow journalist, Sara Limbrick. When the marriage failed, Mr Bailey decided to start afresh in Ireland. He moved to west Cork in 1991, where he undertook odd jobs. He settled permanently in Schull in west Cork.

While working part-time in a fish factory in Schull he met Welsh-born artist Jules Thomas. He eventually rented a flat from Ms Thomas at her farmhouse home outside Liscaha, a few miles from Schull.

In early 1992, the couple became an item and Mr Bailey moved into the main house.

In 1995, Mr Bailey began making efforts to resurrect his journalistic career supplying items to both the 'Irish Examiner' and the Skibbereen-based 'The Southern Star'.

When Sophie Toscan du Plantier was killed on December 23, 1996, Mr Bailey supplied material in the following days to a host of Irish, British and French publications.

However, he was arrested on February 10, 1997, for questioning in relation to the killing but was released without charge. He was arrested a second time in January 1998 but again released without charge.

He has repeatedly protested his innocence.

Paris-based magistrate Patrick Gachon opened a French inquiry into the killing in 2008.

Mr Gachon sought the extradition of Mr Bailey to France in 2011 but this was unanimously rejected by the Supreme Court last year.

Mr Gachon will conclude his probe next November and is expected to recommend that Mr Bailey be tried in absentia in France.

Irish Independent

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