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exclusive ‘There was xenophobia towards my Englishness' – Ian Bailey tells Sinead O’Connor why he was the ‘ideal suspect' for Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder

Watch as Bailey recounts his arrest in extraordinary interview with singer


Ian Bailey has consistently protested his innocence. Photo: Mark Condren

Ian Bailey has consistently protested his innocence. Photo: Mark Condren

Sinéad O'Connor and Ian Bailey have lunch

Sinéad O'Connor and Ian Bailey have lunch


Ian Bailey has consistently protested his innocence. Photo: Mark Condren

Ian Bailey admits he was “the ideal suspect” for the murder of French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier in West Cork almost 25 years ago – because he was an eccentric Englishman who had beaten up his former partner, Jules Thomas.

In an extraordinary interview with singer Sinéad O’Connor, Bailey said he thought he would have to defend himself physically after his arrest in 1996.

“During the first arrest I became aware that there was a large degree of xenophobia – what I felt was xenophobia - and a sort of reference to my Englishness,” Bailey says, in an interview which took place at the Perrin Inn, Glengarriff on Wednesday.

O’Connor, now a Sunday Independent columnist, filmed the interview on her iPhone, after being given permission by Bailey to do so.

The chief suspect in the murder investigation claimed gardaí interviewing him made “menacing threats … and trying to make it appear that they were going to hit me ... I was getting ready to take appropriate self-defence actions if I had to,” he said.

In an interview to be published in the Sunday Independent tomorrow, O’Connor recounts the full story of her encounter with Bailey, which ended abruptly when he was angered by her persistent line of questioning about the 1996 murder.

O’Connor writes that her first impressions of Bailey were positive and she found him “intelligent” and “empathetic”.

InFocus Podcast: Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder: the unanswered questions

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However, Bailey’s mood altered after he drank heavily during their lunch and throughout the subsequent recorded interview.

“And with each drink, and each question,” O’Connor writes, “the sweet old gentleman vanishes some more, to be replaced by a brooding, angry giant”.

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She had been due to have dinner with him that night, intending to ask him further questions, but decided to “get out of Dodge” and checked out of the guesthouse early.

For the full story, see tomorrow’s Sunday Independent or Independent.ie

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