Ian Bailey fears French secret service may attempt to abduct him from West Cork
Ian Bailey says he fears the French secret service may undertake a plan to kidnap him and bring him to France to serve a 25-year sentence for the murder of Sophie Tosan du Plantier.
The English journalist claimed the state has a history of abducting people on their “wanted” list and use paid mercenaries to do it.
The chief suspect in the case has always denied killing the 39-year-old French TV producer at her holiday home in Schull, West Cork, in December 1996.
But he said he is now constantly looking over his shoulder and believes an attempt will be made to kidnap him.
Mr Bailey was convicted of the murder in his absence at a 2019 trial in France, but was not extradited from Ireland after the court case.
Now 64, he says Sophie’s family are extremely powerful and have huge influence with the French government.
The tragic mum herself was a very close friend of former French President Jacques Chirac.
And Mr Bailey says he can’t understand why the family or French authorities have not looked at suspects other than himself in the case.
He said: “Why have they emphatically dismissed possible new evidence that a foreign man may have been with Sophie on the day she died? This new line of inquiry has to be investigated.
“The Garda interviewed a witness, Marie Farrell, about it last week.
“Under the EU Mutual Assistance Act, the French police were able to come to Ireland and interview witnesses.
“Surely the Garda should be allowed to go to France to follow this lead?
“A week after Sophie’s murder, three Garda officers went to France and stayed for a week.
“They were not allowed to interview any French witnesses such as her late former husband Daniel. In fact, they were deliberately kept a million miles away from him.
“What is good for the goose is good for the gander. So surely the Garda should be allowed by the French to interview whoever they want over there.”
Mr Bailey, an English journalist living in the area, has always believed a hitman killed her because someone close to Sophie wanted her dead.
The man Ms Farrell spotted outside her shop in Schull was either watching Sophie or was with her, she has said.
She believed when Sophie left the shop he followed her up the road and it looked like they didn’t want to be seen together.
Ms Farrell said the man was foreign, had sallow skin and was aged between his late 30s to mid-40s at the time.
Investigators from Jim Sheridan’s documentary, Murder At The Cottage, now on Sky, are believed to have identified the man and detectives have been given his name.
A picture of the male they showed to Ms Farrell is believed to be the image of the person she saw.
And while it is thought he is known to some members of Sophie’s extended family, no one knows where he is now living in France.
Sophie suffered a brutal death – the postmortem showed 50 injuries. Her face had been battered with a concrete block and a rock.
Her fingers were broken and she had apparently run through briars and barbed wire. There were no signs of sexual assault.
Last night, Mr Bailey told the Irish Mirror he is taking the kidnapping threat seriously.
He said he was very spooked by comments made last weekend by Sophie’s son Pierre who said: “Ian Bailey won’t get away with this, I won’t let him.”
He knows Pierre is naturally upset but he found the tone “very menacing”.
However, it is not the family he is afraid of but the might of the French state.
Mr Bailey stated: “I have lived with a few death threats over the years.
“One was made to me after I was first arrested and I was told if I didn’t own up I would be found dead in a field with a bullet in my head. It was also made clear the IRA would be pulling the trigger.
“And then last weekend out of the blue a fella rang me and said he was from Ryanair reservations and he had a one-way ticket for me for France.
“Professional kidnapping to get what they want is very much part of the French state’s psyche.
“I would be very wary of their intelligence services.”
- Ian Bailey has ‘no intention’ of watching Netflix’s ‘Sophie: A Murder in West Cork’ as he says ‘parasites and piranhas’ are feeding on his existence
Mr Bailey repeatedly said he wants to see justice for Sophie and any trial should only be held in Ireland where she was murdered.
He has been arrested twice by gardai but never charged here. He has refused to go to France where he was found guilty in absentia.
And he again refused to go to France to speak to the authorities about his hitman theory after being urged to do so by Sophie’s family lawyer Alain Spilliaert.
The Irish government has refused to extradite him following his French conviction.
Now gardai are hoping people’s memories will be refreshed by Sheridan’s documentary and a new three-part series by Netflix called Sophie: A Murder In West Cork which is being shown worldwide this week.
Meanwhile, Mr Bailey said: “I think when people look at the facts of this case they know I am innocent. There is no evidence against me except hearsay.
“I feel I am getting a large amount of support and really appreciate it.”
Asked whether or not officers will travel to France to follow up Mr Bailey’s hitman claim, a Garda spokesman said the interviewing of any witnesses overseas is done under the international crime mutual assistance process.