Bailey guilty verdict has ‘brought peace’

Bailey guilty verdict has ‘brought peace’
Ian Bailey at the country market in Bantry, West Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

THE elderly parents of Sophie Toscan du Plantier have been “brought peace” by the guilty verdict against Ian Bailey in a Paris court and are hoping his extradition could be finalised by the end of this year.

Mr Bailey was attending the Schull market, as usual, today and said he was concerned about the impending attempts to extradite him to France, but added that he was getting great support in west Cork.

He and his partner Jules Thomas sell pizzas at local markets.

He told The Echo: “I know there are people here in Ireland who know I didn’t do this.”

Today, the family of the Frenchwoman, who was murdered near Toormore, Schull, in 1996, were hoping that the first steps in France’s third attempt to extradite Mr Bailey will be successful.

The family’s lawyer, Alain Spilliaert, said that under European law, the maximum delay for a warrant is six months, including appeals.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier 
Sophie Toscan du Plantier 

He said that if extradition of Mr Bailey is granted by Ireland, he will then have to face a fresh trial held in his presence.

Mr Spilliaert added: “The family has had a very hard week after all these years but they are incredible people with a lot of dignity and courage. The verdict has brought her parents’ big peace.”

Mr Bailey was found guilty in his absence in Paris on Friday evening after a three-day trial.

The former journalist was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder and Judge Frederique Aline ordered that a new EU arrest warrant be issued for him.

Sophie’s elderly father, Georges Bouniol, was in court on Friday when the verdict was passed, along with her son Pierre Louis Baudey Vignaud and other family members. Her mother Marguerite had attended court earlier in the week but was not there on Friday.

In the 10 years since the French probe got underway, Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s remains were exhumed from her grave in France and reinterred after a fresh autopsy.

Mr Bailey has always argued his innocence and has fought against his extradition to France for the trial. However, his fight to prevent a French trial in his absence was rejected in France’s Supreme Court last year.

Investigators came to Ireland a number of times to question people who were witnesses in the garda investigation.

In 2005, a woman originally thought to be a key witness, Marie Farrell, withdrew her statements that she had seen Ian Bailey at Kealfadda Bridge, near the murder scene. She said gardaí had pressured her into making the statements.

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