A Murder in West Cork on Netflix: Evidence on alleged Ian Bailey comment viewed as ‘dangerously unreliable’ by DPP
A Director of Public Prosecutions file compiled in 2001 strongly criticised a number of things as it opted not to pursue a charge against Ian Bailey.
Witness reliability, alleged policing mistakes, and lack of forensic evidence were all factors as the DPP destroyed the garda case against him.
Netflix’s documentary has brought an big focus back on Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder – but how it presented some parts is very different to how it’s understood Ireland’s prosecutors viewed the same incidents.
We’ve already reported on what Netflix some of the stuff in this file, like how Netflix hadn’t mentioned a factor that may have contributed to Bailey’s “peculiar” comment to Jules on the night Sophie was killed, and how they missed some detail on the story of him being confronted at a party.
The file, which was made in 2001, was shared by a journalist online shortly after it was made available to Ian Bailey’s legal team ahead of a Supreme Court appeal almost ten years later.
Here’s another example of something the Netflix production mentioned but didn’t go into the full details on.
Richie and Rose Shelley
In Netflix’s piece Journalists Michael Sheridan, Barry Roche, and Schull resident Peter Bielecki tell the story of Ian’s alleged confession to Richie, saying they were in a pub together before going to Jules’s house for a nightcap.
Bielecki explains it’s like “that early morning thing after drinking when he’d get strange” and after Bailey’s alleged admission “they ran screaming from the house. They ran away”.
Rose does say she ran out of the house, but the DPP file notes all four had met up again in the pub the next day, which wasn’t mentioned in the documentary.
The DPP note that despite numerous attempts by Richie to get Ian to elaborate at the time he only ever repeated “I did it” and never explicitly said it was about the murder.
The DPP call their evidence “dangerously unreliable” owing to other factors too.
The file allegedly says: “The next morning, all four people met up in the pub again, and Richie Shelley is alleged to have said to Bailey ‘up to last night I thought you were innocent but now I think you are guilty’.
“From the report of Inspector Horgan dated 27 July 1999 it appears that Richie and Rose Shelley have indicated that they did not come forward with the above information previously because they did not want an involvement in the case.
“This diminishes the credibility of their recollection still further. In fact Richie Shelley in his statement dated 19 June 2001 states that he did not come forward with the information until he was approached by the Gardaí.
“If the alleged conversation took place he did not attach sufficient weight to it to even bother reporting it.
“Richie and Rose Shelley were collected from outside the Thomas house by John Shelley but neither Richie nor Rose bothered to tell John Shelley about the alleged admission.
“On an overall basis the Shelley evidence is dangerously unreliable.”