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Witness tells Bailey jury of garda apology

FORMER shopkeeper Marie Farrell has insisted she told the truth when she told a garda inquiry a detective sergeant apologised to her over an incident in which she alleged he exposed himself to her.

Ms Farrell said she had told the truth in her statement to the inquiry that Det Sgt Maurice Walsh came to a bedroom where she was staying in Dublin's Ashling Hotel in 1999 and had apologised to her over the alleged exposure incident in Schull Golf Club in the summer 1998.

Paul O'Higgins SC, for the State, said Det Sgt Walsh was an Inspector stationed in Dublin in 1999 and will say he had gone for a drink with Ms Farrell and then drove her back to her hotel, but never went into her bedroom, counsel said.

When counsel suggested "no normal person" would go for a drink with Sgt Walsh if the incident in Schull Golf Club happened as alleged, Ms Farrell said "these things happen, that is what happened". She had never said she was afraid of Sgt Walsh, she added.

Ms Farrell was giving evidence on the 21st day of the action by Ian Bailey against the Garda Commisisoner and State over the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found near Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996.

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

Actress

The court also heard evidence yesterday from Claire Wilkinson, a former West End actress who became friendly with Mr Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas in 1995.

She said she became extremely uncomfortable following Ms Du Plantier's death because rumours abounded there was a murderer staying with her. Sometimes Mr Bailey and Ms Thomas would stay with her in her Union Hall home.

She said two gardai contacted her saying they wanted her to feel afraid of Mr Bailey and to make a statement to support them. They told her "ridiculous things in the strictest confidence" such as that over 200 women had made statements they were afraid of Mr Bailey.

She offered to be a witness for Mr Bailey as she was shocked at the "persecution" he and Ms Thomas had experienced.

When counsel asked if the 200 women she had referred to were "lesbians", Ms Wilkinson said: "They didn't mention lesbians."

The case resumes on Tuesday.

hnews@herald.ie


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