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Briton says innocent of Frenchwoman's Ireland murder

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Dublin (AFP)

A British man convicted in his absence in Paris of the 1996 killing of a French woman in Ireland repeated Saturday that he was innocent.

Ian Bailey was given a 25-year prison sentence on Friday for beating to death Sophie Toscan du Plantier, the wife of a prominent French film producer, at her holiday home in County Cork.

The judges issued a new arrest warrant in a bid to put the 62-year-old former freelance journalist in jail.

Speaking to the RTE broadcaster in Skibbereen in County Cork, where he has a market stall, Bailey said the result was "water off a duck's back".

Asked if he was waiting to be arrested, he said: "It's a bank holiday on Monday, maybe on Tuesday I might be waiting for a knock on my door."

He asked "for somebody in Ireland to come out and have the courage to tell the truth, and to admit they know that it wasn't me".

"I know they are sitting on that, and my prayer has been that the truth will come out," he said.

He expressed "all sympathy" for the victim's family, saying: "They were told a bundle of lies right from the beginning."

Bailey has always proclaimed his innocence and refused to appear at the French trial.

French prosecutors accused Bailey of a "barbaric crime committed against a woman... who no doubt endured three minutes of terror."

The Irish government has refused to send him to stand trial, saying he was twice arrested for questioning by police who failed to find any substantive evidence.

It has also cited the lack of an extradition agreement with France, which moved ahead with a trial following a complaint by the family of the victim in 1997.

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