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fair opportunity Ian Bailey demands RTÉ involve him 'in any Late Late feature on Sophie Toscan du Plantier'

Journalist demands right to defend himself if show is aired

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'If RTÉ does not give me the opportunity to set out my innocence and defend myself, I will be making a complaint to the broadcasting authorities,' said Ian Bailey. Photo: Collins

'If RTÉ does not give me the opportunity to set out my innocence and defend myself, I will be making a complaint to the broadcasting authorities,' said Ian Bailey. Photo: Collins

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

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'If RTÉ does not give me the opportunity to set out my innocence and defend myself, I will be making a complaint to the broadcasting authorities,' said Ian Bailey. Photo: Collins

Ian Bailey has warned RTÉ he will complain to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) if a reported Late Late Show slot on the Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39) murder does not afford him a fair opportunity to defend his innocence.

Mr Bailey (64) admitted he was deeply concerned at reports RTÉ will broadcast a Late Late Show segment to mark the forthcoming 25th anniversary of the unsolved murder of the French mother-of-one in west Cork.

Sophie's son, Pierre-Louis Baudey-Vignaud, has been linked with an interview on the opening programme of Ryan Tubridy's autumn season of the show.

Mr Baudey-Vignaud was just 15 when his mother was savagely battered to death by an intruder on a laneway leading from her isolated holiday home at Toormore, outside Schull in west Cork, on December 23, 1996.

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Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

The attack saw the film executive killed after being repeatedly beaten with a stone and a concrete block.

Mr Baudey-Vignaud named his eldest child Sophie in honour of his mother and has insisted on keeping the Toormore cottage she described as her "dream home".

He vowed that he will never stop campaigning for justice for his mother.

Mr Bailey, who has consistently protested his innocence in relation to the crime, insisted if he is to be mentioned as part of any Late Late Show programme, he wants the opportunity to defend himself on air.

"I cannot imagine that they will have any kind of interview about the case without my name being mentioned," the writer said.

"If RTÉ does not give me the opportunity to set out my innocence and defend myself, I will be making a complaint to the broadcasting authorities.

"But I have heard nothing so far about it."

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RTÉ has remained tightlipped about potentially dealing with the Sophie Toscan du Plantier story on the Late Late Show, insisting full details of its autumn schedule will be released shortly.

"We will announce our guests next week. Tune in for the first show on Friday, September 3," a spokesperson said.

Mr Bailey said he has been the focus of threats, intimidation and being ostracised since 1997, as a result of being wrongly linked to the crime.

Over the years, he has had a rat stuffed in his letterbox, a noose displayed near his home and been subjected to anonymous threats, both in writing and over the telephone.

"It has been a nightmare - a nightmare that I can't seem to escape from," the Manchester-born poet, journalist and law graduate said.

"There are times when I feel like a hunted animal. There are devils who know I am innocent but they stood by and watched as I was bonfired.

"I am an innocent man. I have been saying that for almost 25 years.

"But there are times I feel as if people are trying to feed off my carcass while I am still alive."

Interest in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier case is at an all-time high, with two major TV documentaries broadcast by Sky and Netflix over the summer on the killing, as well as four books being published between 2020-2022 in Ireland, the UK and France.

Jim Sheridan's documentary, Murder at the Cottage, which was broadcast by Sky, is now set to be released in the US by the major network NBC.

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