Investigation | 

Ian Bailey says ‘Italian girl's’ account that she saw him with bloodied clothes is ‘nonsense’

Gardaí are due to speak with Ian Bailey as part of new Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder probe

Ian Bailey. Photo: Collins Courts

Sophie Du Plantier


Gardaí want to speak with Ian Bailey as part of a new investigation into the 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

In an interview with the Indo Daily podcast today, the Englishman says he has had correspondence from gardaí, who “want to set up a meeting”. He is “keen to assist” with the probe.

In the interview, he also identifies a person living abroad who made a statement to gardaí that she saw him dealing with “bloodied clothes” in the immediate aftermath of Ms Toscan du Plantier’s murder.

He says that person’s account to gardaí, revealed in the Sunday Independent last weekend, is “absolute nonsense”.

Mr Bailey identifies the garda informant as “the Italian girl.”

She was staying briefly in Jules Thomas’s home outside Schull – where he was Jules’s live-in lover – over Christmas 1996 when Ms Toscan du Plantier died, Mr Bailey acknowledges.

The “Italian girl” is Arianna Boarina, who was a teenage friend of Ms Thomas’s daughter, Virginia, who in turn has also previously provided a separate statement setting out an allegation about Mr Bailey to gardaí.

Sophie Du Plantier

He further claims Ms Boarina was “coerced” into giving an on-screen interview to Netflix, broadcast last year, at a time when she was “emotionally vulnerable”.

Last night, the director of that documentary series, John Dower, told the Herald: “It is absolutely and completely untrue that she was coerced into any interview.

“She was happy to talk to us. She was interviewed remotely in southern California, near Santa Barbara, where she now lives, because it was the time of Covid.

“It was just a cameraman and an audio link at an Airbnb, because she has children at home. This claim of coercion by Bailey is outrageous and totally untrue.

“We interviewed Ms Boarina because she had previously provided a sworn statement to the French trial that convicted Bailey of Sophie’s murder.

“She was happy to cooperate with them in 2019, and with Netflix a year later. In fact, she told us that she wishes she had come forward years earlier.”

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Mr Bailey stops short of commenting on the circumstances of a recent garda follow-up interview with Ms Boarina, which is understood to have taken place in the US, in which she states she saw Mr Bailey dealing with bloodied clothes.

Mr Bailey maintains all such allegations are untrue, and he had nothing to do with the murder.

He tells the Indo Daily podcast he has been “bonfired on a pyre of lies” and there is “no evidence whatever, just a desire to put me in the frame”.

Ms Boarina’s alleged new statement about bloodied clothes echoes a statement made to gardaí last year by Bill Hogan, a former West Cork cheesemaker who knew Ms Toscan du Plantier well.

Mr Hogan said a woman had allegedly confessed to him in 2001 – at a time when Mr Bailey was on remand in Cork prison over assault charges on which he was later convicted – about having to deal with bloody clothes on a man’s behalf.

Mr Hogan has alleged to gardaí that the beneficiary of such efforts was Ian Bailey, whose clothes they are claimed to have been.

Mr Bailey tells the podcast he received a letter from Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll telling him of the review decision, made just before the latter’s retirement.

He says gardaí have also told him they want to “set up a meeting” with him.

Mr Bailey says he is “keen to assist” the new full probe by the Serious Crime Review Team.

He claims the evidence used to convict him in France of Ms Toscan du Plantier’s murder “would have been thrown out of an Irish court, without any doubt”.

Mr Bailey previously lost two Irish court cases he brought against seven newspapers and the State.

He also expresses uncertainty as to whether the identity of the killer will ever be established, bringing up a previous theory he has advanced that Ms Toscan du Plantier was killed by a man from Bantry who died in 2001.

“So many pieces of the jigsaw are missing,” he says.

The 65-year-old, who previously admitted he was garda detectives’ chief suspect for the murder, says he wrote to Commissioner Drew Harris seeking a full cold-case review because the former senior PSNI officer was “a clean pair of hands”.

He also says he was “constantly expressing my sympathy” with Ms Toscan du Plantier’s family.

“It can’t be easy for them, but at the end of the day I had nothing to do with this,” he says.

He also says a “false accusation was created and perpetuated” against him, adding that it was a case of fight or flight when he was whispered about.

“My inclination from the first was to fight,” he says.

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