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Ian Bailey 'suicidal' over Sophie Toscan du Plantier 'conspiracy'

Ian Bailey arrives at the Four Courts in Dublin Image copyright PA
Image caption Ian Bailey pictured outside the Four Courts in Dublin

A former journalist who claims he was framed for the unsolved murder of a French film-maker has said he felt suicidal over the alleged conspiracy.

Ian Bailey, 57, was arrested twice over the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Bailey, originally from Manchester, is suing the Irish state for wrongful arrest and mistreatment by police.

He told the High Court in Dublin that in the year after the killing, he could see no other way out.

"I don't think I handled it very well in the early days," he said.

"I got to the edge, where I was contemplating the possibility of suicide.

"I was in a place of complete despair and hopelessness."

Ms Toscan du Plantier was found dead outside her holiday home at Toormore, near Schull, County Cork, two days before Christmas 1996.

The 39-year-old Frenchwoman had been beaten to death and, 18 years on from the attack, her killer has still not been found.

Mr Bailey, who has lived in west Cork for 23 years, was first arrested in February 1997 and again in January 1998.

'Death threat'

He was never prosecuted over the murder, on the instructions of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

He began a lawsuit against the state on Wednesday.

During his second day of evidence, Mr Bailey also gave details of a death threat he claims was made by a policeman when he was first arrested.

He said he was told: "Even if we don't pin this on you, you are finished in Ireland; you will be found dead in a ditch with a bullet in the back of your head."

"I interpreted that as a death threat - it haunts me to this day, honestly," he said.

Mr Bailey told the court he became a pariah in west Cork after he was arrested and publicly identified over the "dreadful, rotten, stinking lie that I had something to do with the murder".

He said the second time he was arrested was on his birthday, 27 January 1998, while he only realised he would not be prosecuted over the unsolved killing was almost 10 years later in 2007.

As well as his claim for wrongful arrest, Mr Bailey is suing the state for false imprisonment, assault, battery, trespass of the person, intentional infliction of emotional and psychological harm, harassment and intimidation, terrorising and oppressive behaviour and a breach of his constitutional rights.

The Irish state has denied all of Mr Bailey's claims.

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