Ian Bailey: Who Is The Famous Journalist Involved In the Sophie Toscan du Plantier Case?


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Ian Bailey is a British journalist who was arrested twice in regards to the death of French TV producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier. In this post, we will learn more about him and the shocking murder case. Let’s get started.

Ian Bailey: All You Need To Know

How was Ian Bailey arrested? 

On February 19, 2010, the examining magistrate Patrick Gachon issued a European arrest warrant against Ian Bailey. He considered that there were enough serious and corroborating clues to arrest the journalist, the main suspect since the start of the case. On March 9, Irish justice acknowledged receipt of the warrant. Ian Bailey is therefore again suspected of the savage murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Indeed, a third arrest, if it does not lead to an indictment, is equivalent to a dismissal of the case, under Irish law. The examining magistrate, therefore, decided to put the journalist Ian Bailey directly in front of a European arrest warrant.

Ian Bailey does not understand what happens to him. According to his lawyer, Maitre Franck Buttimer, “he has not received any information on the existence (of the arrest warrant) apart from questions from the Irish media (…) it is something that leaves him perplexed”.

When was Ian Bailey arrested?

On the night of April 23, 2010, Ian Bailey was arrested by Irish law enforcement at his home, a few meters from the scene of the assassination. He is suspected for the murder of the wife of Daniel Toscan du Plantier. Released the next day, the High Court of Dublin still places him under judicial control.

If the French justice requests his extradition on April 24, the journalist, in his last year of law at the university, contests his transfer to France before the Irish High Court. He risks doing the same before the Supreme Court, which will delay his arrival in France by a few months.

But the French justice, as well as the family of the deceased awaits it firmly. Even though he has a presumption of innocence, the family has already delivered their verdict. Ian Bailey is guilty.

What did the victim’s family say about Ian Bailey’s arrest?

For Marguerite Bouniol, mother of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, this arrest warrant constitutes “the start of an action which in principle should go to the end (…) the judge has everything he needs in hand so that the guilty be arrested and tried ”.

How was Sophie Toscan du Plantier murdered?

In December 1996, Sophie Toscan du Plantier arrives in Ireland at her holiday home in Toormore, approximately 3  miles from Schull, County Cork. During this stay, she is preparing two thematic evening projects for the Arte television channel.

The evening of December 22, 1996, while she is in night clothes, Sophie Toscan du Plantier is punched in the face by her murderer, the police will later find Sophie’s blood on the front door. She starts running in the garden. Her murderer follows her, hitting her several times. Arrived at the metal fence of the garden, the murderer grabs a block of cement and throws it on Sophie’s face. Neighbours discovered her body on the morning of December 23, 1996.

What were the initial speculations of the police?

For the police, the murderer was very familiar with the surroundings of Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s vacation home, located in an isolated location difficult to access due to very bad roads. The investigation is difficult because the time of his death could not be determined, the medical examiner had arrived 36 hours later. In addition, the blood samples do not give anything regarding the DNA examination or the identification of the blood group., the samples having been badly carried out or the rain falling in the night following the murder having cleaned everything. The weapon which was used to kill Sophie Toscan du Plantier has never been found. It would be a very sharp hatchet because the victim presented numerous wounds to the head.

What were the results of the initial investigations?

A suspect was reportedly seen by a witness the night of the murder a few meters from the house. This same man would have confided in a friend: “I went to see her, she got angry and I smashed her skull”. Malachi Reid, a teenage neighbor of Ian Bailey, whom he hitchhiked, claims to have heard him say while he was drunk ”  everything was fine before I got up there and slashed his f … brains out. porridge”.

Ian Bailey, a local English freelance writer who lives on a farm a few kilometers from Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s residence, is suspected of the murder. He raised suspicion by being among the first at the scene of the crime, and then reporting in articles about things that only the investigators and the murderer were supposed to know. Finally, he had scratches on his face, hands and forearms and would have confessed, drunk, the crime to several people. He was interviewed twice on February 10, 1997, and January 27, 1998, then released for lack of evidence.

On Aug 22, 2001, he was arrested at Cork airport, his partner Catherine Jules Thomas accusing him of assault and battery. In 2003, Ian Bailey sued eight Irish and British newspapers for libel, accusing him of making him the ideal culprit. At the stand, several witnesses overwhelmed him so much that Ian Bailey interrupted the legal proceedings. 

Bailey is particularly targeted by the testimony of a woman, Marie Farrell, who claims to have seen the independent journalist on the night of the murder near the victim’s home. But Farrell retracts in 2005, accusing the Irish police for having whispered his statements to her, after having indicated at first that Bailey had repeatedly threatened her to withdraw. French justice will take into account the first version of Farrell’s testimony. In addition, the companion of Ian Bailey, the painter Catherine Jules Thomas, provided him with an alibi on the night of the murder, while also having indicated that it was possible that he had committed the acts that were committed against him. 

How many investigations were opened against Ian Bailey?

A separate investigation was opened in France in 2008. On April 24, 2010, Ian Bailey was arrested again, following a European arrest warrant issued on February 19, 2010by the Parisian judge Patrick Gachon, then released under judicial supervision. After the refusal of the Supreme Court of Ireland to execute the European arrest warrant concerning the extradition of Ian Bailey so that he can be heard by the French examining magistrate Patrick Gachon, the two lawyers of the family (the parents of Sophie, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, with the help of the Assoph collective, Association for the truth about the assassination of Sophie Toscan du Plantier) attack Ireland by filing an appeal with the Commission of the European Communities for non-compliance with Community law on the principle of reciprocity (in) of judicial competences.

Did Ian Bailey sue the Irish police?

In November 2014, Ian Bailey brought a lawsuit against the Irish state and police, for “unlawful arrest” and “wrongful implication”. On March 30, 2015, the jury unanimously refused to award him the damages he is claiming.

A second European arrest warrant was issued on July 13, 2016 and notified to the Irish authorities by Nathalie Turquey, the Parisian examining magistrate in charge of the case. On July 27, 2016, the latter signs an order returning Ian Bailey to the Paris Assize Court not for murder but for intentional homicide (no premeditation required). However, taking into account Irish practice, Ian Bailey was not extradited and the trial then proceeded by default.

What happened in Ian Bailey’s lawsuit in France?

Ian Bailey’s trial opens in Paris on May 27, 2019 before the Assize Court, without the presence of the accused. Ian Bailey was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of French producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Ian Bailey was arrested on December 16, 2019 by Irish police before being released a few minutes later. This arrest follows a decision of the High Court confirming the validity of the arrest warrant issued by France, and which must then rule on a possible extradition.

Was Ian Bailey extradited?

Following the third attempt by the French authorities to obtain the extradition of Ian Bailey, a judge of the High Court of Ireland ruled on October 12, 2020 that he could not be extradited. A second attempt had failed in July 2017 on the grounds that the request constituted an abuse of process


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