SCHULL resident Ian Bailey, who has been convicted of the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier by a French court, has refused a challenge issued by the author of a new book, to debate the evidence against him on live TV.
This week Nick Foster, the author of a new book on the murder, issued a challenge to Schull resident Ian Bailey to debate the evidence in the original Garda file. Foster, whose book Murder at Roaringwater has just been published, said he was annoyed to hear Bailey interviewed recently, saying ‘there has never been any actual evidence’ against him.
And the writer also told The Southern Star that he has been contacted by someone who has come forward with what he believes is a very vital piece of new evidence.
Bailey was convicted, in his absence, of the brutal 1996 murder of the French woman, when a court in Paris heard evidence in 2019. Bailey’s solicitor Frank Buttimer described the French trial as a ‘show trial for the purpose of satisfying certain persons in relation to their own beliefs in relation to the matter.’
Sophie was murdered at her holiday home in Toormore, near Goleen, two days before Christmas. Bailey was never charged with the murder in Ireland, despite having been arrested twice. Foster, who also worked closely with director Jim Sheridan on the forthcoming documentary Murder at the Cottage, says he was annoyed to hear the ‘no evidence’ comment from Bailey, and wished to debate elements of the garda file on Irish TV. Foster also offered to donate €1,000 to the Irish charity Women’s Aid if Bailey agreed.
‘That is an excellent organisation, which is working hard to keep women safe from domestic violence,’ Foster told The Southern Star this week, adding that he believed the murder of Sophie was a vicious ‘act of misogyny’ on a completely innocent woman, who had felt safe in her home.
He also told The Southern Star that a woman has come forward to him with a piece of what he thinks may be crucial new evidence. He is hopeful the female will agree to give that information to the gardaí. ‘All I can say is, over time, allegiances change and anything can happen. We all thought the Madeleine McCann case would never be solved, and now it looks like it will. This could happen here too.’
‘When Mr Bailey was found guilty of Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder in 2019 [in France], the prosecutor said the evidence against Mr Bailey was “overwhelming”,’ said the writer.
‘That’s why I issued this challenge to Mr Bailey,’ he added, saying he wished to ‘discuss the specifics of the evidence in the Garda file – which he told me was “corrupt”.
But this week Mr Bailey told The Southern Star that he would not be debating the evidence. ‘The gardaí have no evidence against me and this has been acknowledged on numerous occasions by the DPP,’ he said. ‘The DPP’s critique said the investigation was flawed and prejudiced. Mr Foster has taken this particular narrative for nothing more than financial gain.’
On Foster’s claim of new evidence from a female, Mr Bailey said: ‘If Mr Foster does have new evidence he is under a moral obligation to bring that to attention of An Garda Síochána, as there is an open and ongoing investigation here in Ireland.’