'Kafkaesque' | 

Ian Bailey’s life is ‘surreal, devastating and ruined’ according to his solicitor

‘His life is ruined by this whole thing. When I met him in 1997, I could see damaged goods then’

Ian Bailey. Photo: Mark Condren

Allison BrayIndependent.ie

Ian Bailey’s life has been ‘Kafkaesque, surreal, devastating and ruined’ according to his solicitor Frank Buttimer.

As the 26th anniversary of the unsolved murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier approaches this Friday, his Cork-based solicitor said Bailey’s life has been a rollercoaster since he first met his client shortly after the unsolved murder of the French filmmaker at her holiday home in Schull, West Cork on December 23, 1996.

“His life is ruined by this whole thing,” he said of the various twists and turns in the case since the former journalist was arrested twice but never charged here in connection with Ms Toscan du Plantier’s murder despite being found guility in absentia by a French court in 2019 and sentenced to 25 years there in jail in 2019.

“When I met him in 1997, I could see damaged goods then,” he said.

But now, more than a quarter of a century later, Bailey’s life has been irrevocably changed, he said in an interview on The Fifth Court podcast yesterday with Mark Tottenham BL and Peter Leonard BL.

And despite a renewed appeal for information into the case by gardaí earlier this month, Mr Buttimer said he believes the case involving Bailey is now over.

“The only circumstance if is the French try to resurrect it,” he said, adding “he’ll (Bailey) never leave the country.”

He also revealed that he has always believed Bailey to be innocent.

“I knew intuitively he had nothing to do with it,” he said of meeting Bailey before he took him on as a client, adding that despite suggestions to the contrary, he is not friends with Mr Bailey despite having met him socially on a few occasions.

“He’s my client,” he said.

He also spoke of his shock when Bailey was arrested in the middle of the night in April 2010 and taken to the Bandon garda station on foot of a European arrest warrant before being brought to the High Court in Dublin where he was granted bail pending an extradition hearing.

He described the incident as “one of the most memorable events of my life” in which “Ian Bailey was going to die in France” if the extradition attempt by French authorities was successful.

“I’ve always regarded it as the only death penalty case I had ever done and hoped to do," he said.

Meanwhile, gardaí revealed earlier this month that they have identified new witnesses in the cold case and are in the process of interviewing them here as well as the UK, France and the US.

They also said they are looking to use new high-tech forensic tests in a bid to find new evidence that may identify the killer.

“We have engaged with Interpol, Garda HQ and they in turn liaising with garda liaison officers based in Paris and London who are in turn working with our police counterparts in those jurisdictions,” Supt Joe Moore said during a fresh appeal for information into the murder.

"This is very much a live and ongoing murder investigation," he said.

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