Ian Bailey: My life is a ‘living hell’ as French murder trial looms 

Ian Bailey: My life is a ‘living hell’ as French murder trial looms 

IAN Bailey has described his life as a “living hell” as French authorities confirm that they will try him for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in France in May.

A date has been set for the murder trial, which will run over four days from May 27 in Paris, and will be presided over by three magistrates.

Mr Bailey, who was arrested twice as part of the garda investigation into the 1996 murder in Goleen, West Cork, can be tried in France in his absence.

He was never charged in Ireland with the murder of the 39-year-old French film producer. Attempts by France to have him extradited were rejected by the Irish authorities.

Now, Mr Bailey is getting legal advice from his teams in Ireland and France on whether to travel to Paris for the trial.

He told the Evening Echo: “It is absolute torture. I have nothing to do with this. It is a form of living hell.”

In the 10 years since the French probe got underway, Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s remains were exhumed from her grave in France and re-interred 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 trial 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 original Garda probe

The case has gone through several twists and turns since the murder.

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.

After she withdrew the statements implicating Ian Bailey, a Garda team was set up to investigate the circumstances under which they were withdrawn. In late 2014, Ian Bailey took a High Court action for wrongful arrest against the State, which he lost.

ASSOPH, the French association established to seek the truth about the killing, has welcomed the setting of a date for the trial.

The association was founded by Sophie’s uncle, Jean Pierre Gazeau.

A statement from ASSOPH noted that Ms Toscan du Plantier was murdered “in particularly horrible circumstances”.

The murder caused widespread shock throughout West Cork, and has garnered international attention.

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