Ian Bailey ‘very happy’ dating fashion enthusiast Ethna Staunton
24th October 2021
This is the Mayo woman who is the new love in Ian Bailey’s life.
Fashion enthusiast Ethna Staunton has been dating the prime suspect in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder for the past few months.
And last night, speaking for the first time about their secret romance, she said: “I really like Ian, we are very happy together and he has been the victim of a terrible injustice.
“I first met him a few months ago while on a trip to Schull in west Cork where he lived.
“I had been following his case and had obviously seen the two documentaries.
“He was really nice and I felt so very sorry for him and the way he had been treated.© Niall Carson/PA/PA Wire Ian Bailey
“As far as I am concerned he has been through a hell of a lot and is the victim of a terrible injustice.
“I even sent him a Mass card at the time and prayed that everything would work out for him.”
Ethna, who is in her 40s and has won many best dressed lady and hat competitions at Irish race meetings including the Galway races, lives in Mayo.© Family Handout/PA Wire Sophie Toscan du Plantier
She added: “Ian and I have a lot in common. I am really into the theatre and the arts , and he is very cultured.
“We get on really well and are very happy.”
Ian confirmed the romance and said: “She is a joy to be with. I am not saying anything else about my private life.”
Bailey split up amicably from his partner of 25 years, artist Jules Thomas, earlier this year.
He has since moved out of her home a few miles from where French beauty Sophie lived and was brutally battered to death before Christmas 1996 in Schull, west Cork.
He is now living in a rented house in Glengarriff, a village not far from the Kerry border.
The 64-year-old eccentric Englishman has always denied killing Sophie. He has also always claimed he never met her.
The French government is still trying to get him extradited to serve a 25-year sentence for the murder after he was found guilty by a Paris court in absentia in 2019.
Bailey’s lawyers branded the trial and verdict by a judge as a disgrace.
They said the majority of the evidence would not have been allowed in an Irish court.