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Garda 'stripped naked and asked me for sex'

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Marie Farrell

Marie Farrell

Ian Bailey

Ian Bailey

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Marie Farrell

FORMER shopkeeper Marie Farrell has told a High Court jury a garda stripped naked and asked her for sex while she was looking after a house in west Cork.

"I told him to get the f*** out," she said under continuing cross-examination in journalist Ian Bailey's case against the Garda Commissioner and the State over the investigation into the late 1996 murder in west Cork of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

When Paul O'Higgins SC, for the State, suggested this was "wholly incredible", Ms Farrell said: "Everything that happened down there was wholly incredible."

When counsel put to her she was telling lies, she said: "I am not a liar."

The officer, Det Garda Jim Fitzgerald, had a growth low down on his stomach and she would not know that if she had not seen him naked, she said.

Ms Farrell gave that evidence after being repeatedly pressed by Mr O'Higgins to tell what "dark secret" she had regarding Det Garda Fitzgerald which she had referred to, but not identified, during a phone call to Bandon Garda Station.

Ms Farrell said the matter was personal and she did not want to say it, it would cause "huge embarrassment".

On being pressed by counsel, she looked to Mr Justice John Hedigan who told her she must tell the whole truth.

She said the incident happened when she was looking after a house in Schull which was rented to tourists and she had work cleaning it.

She was not sure of the date of the incident, it might have been 1997 or 1998, but it would have been a Saturday, the changeover day for the house, and in the summer.

She said Det Fitzgerald called to the house, she went upstairs to do something and when she came downstairs he had stripped naked in a downstairs bedroom and asked her for sex.

investigation

When Mr O'Higgins said no normal person could forget when such an incident happened, she said she remembered the incident well but could not say exactly when it occurred.

The only people she had told about the incident to date were her husband and, recently, Frank Buttimer, solicitor for Ian Bailey.

She knew Det Fitzgerald's wife and liked her and this was not a matter you would speak about to people, she added.

The defendants deny all Mr Bailey's claims in his civil action, including of wrongful arrest and conspiracy, arising from the garda investigation into the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier whose body was found at Toormore, Schull, on the morning of December 23, 1996.

Yesterday, Mr O'Higgins told Ms Farrell Det Sergeant Maurice Walsh would deny evidence she gave last week that he exposed himself to her in the toilets of Schull Golf Club one night in summer 1998 and told her words to the effect fitting up Mr Bailey was a "turn on".

Sgt Walsh would say these claims were "the height of fantasy", counsel said.

Two women - Linda Horgan and Bernie O'Shea - also disputed Ms Farrell's evidence that one of her tasks at the golf club was to check the toilets or that she had referred to the incident with Sgt Walsh, counsel said.

Ms Farrell said the incident did happen in the ladies toilets, she believed she had told Ms O'Shea about it and her tasks did include checking the toilets.

She did not make a big deal about the matter, such incidents happened when people have drink on them and when she was younger, incidents like that happened "every other weekend", she said.

When counsel said Garda Kevin Kelleher will say a video he gave Ms Farrell did not feature, as she had claimed, Mr Bailey reciting poetry but featured a Christmas day swim in Schull, Ms Farrell said Mr Bailey was reciting poetry on the video.

The case continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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