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Friday 13 December 2019

Ian Bailey launches 'John Wayne State of Mind' poetry volume

Tried in absentia: Ian Bailey was convicted in France of killing Sophie Toscan du Plantier in 1996 and insists he is innocent. Photo :Mark Condren
Tried in absentia: Ian Bailey was convicted in France of killing Sophie Toscan du Plantier in 1996 and insists he is innocent. Photo :Mark Condren

Ralph Riegel

Ian Bailey is to unveil his latest book of poetry, 'A John Wayne State of Mind', which reflects on what he endured as he faced trial in absentia in France over the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Three Paris judges convicted the Manchester-born freelance journalist last May of killing of the 39-year-old mother-of-one on December 23, 1996 - despite his vehement protestations of innocence over the past 22 years.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ruled out any action against Mr Bailey in Ireland some 18 years ago.

Mr Bailey (62) maintained "sinister attempts" were made to frame him for a crime he had absolutely nothing to do with.

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The French court imposed a 25-year prison sentence.

Now he faces the prospect of a renewed French bid to have him extradited from Ireland - despite the Supreme Court rejecting the first French extradition bid in 2012.

Mr Bailey's new volume of poems reflects on his life in Ireland and his bid to remain calm "in the eye of the hurricane".

The volume includes 41 poems and pieces of prose with titles ranging from 'Hardened Steel' to 'Preparing for the Worst, Hoping for the Best' and 'Still in the Ring'.

Another poem is entitled 'In The Eye'.

"I am very pleased with it," he said.

"I will be reading some poems from 'A John Wayne State of Mind' at an 'open mic' evening in the Oasis Café in Ballydehob (west Cork) between 8pm and 10pm on Thursday.

"There will be other poets and artists participating in the evening."

Mr Bailey said his new collection, which follows his successful 2017 release 'The West Cork Way', will be available both in print and electronic formats.

He will also be the focus of a special BBC/Virgin Media documentary currently being made by Jim Sheridan and Donal McIntyre and scheduled to be released for the Cannes Film Festival in 2020.

The documentary will detail the Sophie Toscan du Plantier investigation since her death in 1996 and how Mr Bailey came to be the focus of Garda attention.

He was twice arrested by gardaí in 1997 and 1998 but was released without charge on both occasions after being questioned at Bandon garda station.

Irish Independent

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