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France

British journalist arrested for French woman’s 1996 murder

Video by Siobhán SILKE

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2010-04-24

British journalist Ian Bailey (pictured) was arrested in Bandon, Ireland, on Friday in connection with the 1996 murder of a French woman, Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

British journalist Ian Bailey was arrested late Friday night in Cork, Ireland, in connection with the 1996 murder of a French woman, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, the victim’s uncle said.
 
“Ian Bailey was arrested last night following a decision by a British high court to comply with the international arrest warrant [issued by French judge],” Jean-Pierre Gazeau told reporters. Gazeau, the victim's uncle, is president of the Association for the Truth on Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s Murder.
 
Bailey was reportedly arrested at his home in Bandon, Cork, overnight on Friday. Irish police did not confirm the detainee's identity, saying only that “a man was arrested in Bandon” in connection with the case and would be interviewed by Dublin’s High Court.
 
Du Plantier, who was married to famous French film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, was 39 when she was brutally murdered on December 23, 1996. She was found lifeless, her skull bashed in, on the path leading to her country home in southwest Ireland. Her murder was never solved.
 
The dormant investigation took an unexpected turn last February when French investigative judge Patrick Gachon issued an international arrest warrant for Bailey. According to French media reports, Gachon had found what appeared to be “inconsistencies between the explanations provided by the journalist and evidence collected by the Irish investigators" and therefore felt able to take action. 
 
Under French law, juges d'instructions, as they are known in France, have investigative powers.
 
Bailey, who lived near the victim at the time, became the prime suspect after a neighbour told the police that she had seen him in the area on the night of the murder. But the neighbour later retracted her claim, saying she had been pressed into making the statement by local police. Bailey has always protested his innocence and claims he was framed by the Irish police.

Bailey said in an interview this month with Britain's Daily Telegraph that there “is absolutely no foundation to any of the allegations made against me” and argued that he had been framed by the Irish police. He claims the entire investigation has been riddled with corruption and errors.

“I just want to be able to get on with my life,” he said.

Date created : 2010-04-24

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