Ian Bailey reveals inside his year from hell – and ’emotional’ reason he couldn’t watch Sophie Toscan du Plantier docs
- 7:00, 22 Sep 2022
SELF-CONFESSED suspect Ian Bailey has revealed how a TV documentary on the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier led to a year of hell that saw him split from his partner and hit rock bottom.
But in an exclusive interview with The Irish Sun, the Englishman vowed to set the record straight, in his own podcast Ian Bailey: His Own Words.
The controversial figure said he snubbed the Netflix series on the infamous killing as it was “demonizing propaganda”.
But he is preparing to tell his story “in his own words” with the self-produced podcast.
Bailey, 64, was arrested twice in connection with the shocking killing but has never been charged.
While Bailey cooperated with legendary Irish director Sheridan, he said he had misgivings about the streaming giant’s production.
Bailey said: “I gave very limited cooperation to Netflix because I was distrusting of it and believed it to be what it was — a piece of demonizing propaganda.
“And that last year, my life was really, really . . . A number of things coalesced, came together, to completely change my life.”
Bailey split from his long-time partner Jules Thomas in March 2021.
She dumped him by letter, which she left for him to read on the kitchen table in her west Cork home.
He added: “I’d had a long-term relationship. A lady I loved — tried to love the best I could over the years. She said the journey was over.
“Then these two documentaries came out and, in fact, I was sort of becoming homeless.
“It was the end, but I just held on.”
Bailey told how he “stayed calm in the eye of the hurricane”.
He continued: “It’s about staying calm when everything around you is very crazy.”
Bailey was arrested and questioned twice by detectives over Sophie’s brutal death in 1996 on the night before Christmas Eve.
But he was never charged after the DPP ruled there was a lack of evidence against him.
He was subsequently found guilty of Sophie’s murder by a court in France in absentia in 2019 and sentenced to 25 years jail.
The Irish courts refused to extradite him on the basis much of the evidence used against him in France was “hearsay.”
Bailey has always denied any involvement whatsoever in the killing of the French woman.
Gardai are confident that new forensic and DNA techniques will help them finally find Sophie’s mystery killer.
There is also a suspect from France who was seen acting suspiciously and following Sophie around Schull village the day before she was killed.
He was later identified by film director Jim Sheridan and his team.
And while Bailey had no interest in the Netflix documentary, he explained that he gave Jim Sheridan “total cooperation” during filming.
He said: “I didn’t watch what he (Sheridan) produced.
“I had a go at watching a couple of episodes, but I couldn’t because it was too emotionally upsetting.
“And I didn’t want my nice, calm emotional core upset.”
He added: “I think choosing to ignore things very often is probably one of the best things that people can do.”
In July, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said “no stone will be left unturned” in order to find Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s killer.
Bailey is expected to be interviewed by cold case detectives before Christmas over the murder as part of the new probe.
Gardai are understood to be ploughing ahead with their review of the case and hope to initially speak to him by December.
Anyone alive who previously made a statement to the original Garda probe is being reinterviewed.
Bailey was contacted in a letter from former Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll before he retired, informing him that the cold case investigation was going ahead.
He also asked him if he would make himself available to be interviewed by the new Garda team.
Bailey then wrote back and said he would fully cooperate with the investigation.
He told the Irish Sun how he welcomed a fresh investigation and said that he’s “pleased that it’s happening”.
He said: “I’m hoping that as part of that process, it will be to indicate who was the true murderer and to vindicate me.”
But Bailey explained he learned not to count his chickens.
He said: “I’ve learned to detach myself from a huge amount of this.
“I just then carry on and do what I’ve tried to do as much as I can.”
And the Englishman explained how his method to staying calm amid the drama is “detachment”.
He continued: “I used to have to do it consciously, but I’ve been doing it for so long.
“It seems to become my default setting, which is good for me.”
The journalist and poet told how his poems reflect his life events and experiences.
He continued: “There’s a poem called Feckers.
“And every now and again, you’re going to meet a fecker. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are.
“In my case, it might be a little bit different because you know, there’ll be specific feckers.”
Bailey is planning to tell his story by producing his own podcast.
He explained: “Ian Bailey, his own words. Part one will be me talking about where I came from, how I got into journalism, where I grew up.
“Part two will be about when I came to Ireland, up to Christmas of 1996. Part three 1996 to maybe the beginning of 2000.
“And then the last part will be about what’s going on now, in the last year, what may be going on in the future.”
Bailey is currently looking for a professional who could collaborate with him to bring his plans for a podcast to life.
He added: “It would be much easier for me to do it in a controlled room, like a soundproof room, talking with somebody who’s au fait with the case.
“They would have to be fairly familiar with it and need a fairly detailed, nuanced knowledge.”
Bailey still lives in Schull in West Cork. He is now making a living as a performance poet in the region, selling poetry books and performing readings.
He will also be launching a new website in a bid to sell his latest books, DVD Ian Bailey Live and T-shirts.