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I was suicidal after murder case arrests, says Ian Bailey

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Ian Bailey arrives at the Four Courts in Dublin for the hearing over his claims that he was wrongly arrested for murder

Ian Bailey arrives at the Four Courts in Dublin for the hearing over his claims that he was wrongly arrested for murder

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Ian Bailey arrives at the Four Courts in Dublin for the hearing over his claims that he was wrongly arrested for murder

JOURNALIST Ian Bailey considered suicide in the years after he was arrested on suspicion of killing French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a court has heard.

Mr Bailey (57) told the High Court he has always denied any involvement in the murder of the film-maker and has tried to clear his name.

He was in the witness box for a second day giving evidence in his wrongful arrest action against the State.

Allegations

He said the false allegations has caused great strain to him, his partner Jules Thomas and their family and that he didn't cope well in the years following his arrest in February 1997.

Mr Bailey said he also contemplated suicide as he could "see no way out" and was "overcome by a deep sense of despair and hopelessness".

He suffered sleep disturbance and could not finish a book because "everything seemed trivial compared to what was going on in my life".

He lost a lot of weight, was branded as a prime suspect and became a "social pariah".

Mr Bailey said gardai attempted to create a false narrative - that he killed Ms du Plantier - and this permeated through the media and was embraced by people.

Mr Bailey said he remembers going into a shop in July 1997 with a basket of courgettes he hoped to sell and the owner told him "get out, get out of my shop".

He also received a dead rat in the mail, there was paint on his walls and things were thrown into his garden.

Mr Bailey said he suffered flashbacks for a long time after a garda made a veiled death threat to him after his arrest on 10 February 2007.

While he was being taken to Bandon Garda Station, Mr Bailey claimed a garda told him; "Even if we can't pin this on you, you're finished in Ireland. You'll be found dead in a ditch with a bullet in the back of the head".

Nightmare

Mr Bailey said the comment "haunts" him to this day.

He also said the arrest was "awful" and "a bit of a nightmare really".

Mr Bailey said he tried to tell gardai he had nothing to do with the murder but they wouldn't listen, repeatedly saying "we know you did it, everyone knows you did it, just admit it".

Mr Bailey said gardai told him, during questioning, a witness could place him at Cealfada Bridge, not far from Ms du Plantier's home, in the hours before her death.

At the time, he did not know who was saying this but he knew he was being implicated for something he did not do.

When he heard in 2006 that Marie Farrell was recanting her original statements to gardai, he said he felt huge relief.

"I believed in the power of prayer that the truth would come out," he said.

Mr Bailey is suing the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General for damages for alleged wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, conspiracy, assault and intentional infliction of emotional and psychological suffering.

The State denies all claims made by Mr Bailey and will say there was a lawful basis for his identification as a suspect, the High Court heard.

The case continues.

hnews@herald.ie


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