Sunday, November 8, 2009

Living next to a suspected Killer

On December 23rd 1996 French film maker Sophie du Plantier was brutally murdered at her West Cork home in Ireland. The killer was never convicted and there was only one suspect, Ian Bailey who lived with Jules Thomas. (You can google "Ian Bailey+Schull and you'll get dozens of links!)

Ian Bailey lived with his partner Jules Thomas
about 150 meters up the road from us. He beat here up a number of times, sometimes enough to hospitalise her.

I have been asked many times what it was like living next to these two. And many times I've been asked, did I think he was the murderer? I'll answer the first question only, although it is public knowledge he beat Jules up a number of times, once so badly she had to be rushed to hospital in Cork City some 65 miles away. You can make up your own mind whether he you think he murdered Sophie.

Although my relationship with Ian Bailey was initially cordial he soon showed an unpleasant streak and was prone to angry outbursts.

Although later we bought the house from them, initially Jules let me rent the place until the contracts were signed. My first brush with them occurred after the water supply broke down. Ian Bailey brought a litre bottle of water round. "we are getting someone to fix it" he said, as he bid me a jolly goodbye. No one came, that day. Or the next. So I got someone to fix it myself. A couple of weeks later Jules came round demanding the rent. I told her I had no money at hand but perhaps she'd like to settle this, and i handed her the bill for the water repairman. "You just can't win' she said as she threw the bill on the floor, and that was the last time I spoke to her.

Some weeks later just prior to the contract being signed I put outside one of the rusty old fridges that were rotting and rusting in the corner of what was left of the kitchen and stood it outside. I couldn't believe anyone would have wanted it anyway it was so rusty and dirty. Ian and Jules saw it and came immediately knocking at the door. Ian was tense and obviously angry. Jules sat quietly in the background. "You being here is costing me money" he frowned at me. I asked why and in reply he said that this was his studio where he wrote his material!! - I felt like telling him that he needed to ask Jules why she was selling the house to me then!. But he was angry and it was obvious there was no reasoning with him. Beads of sweat formed on his brow. He was clearly angry.

There were one or two unpleasant exchanges but nothing untoward until some time after we bought the house he approached me angrily swearing and shouting about me spying on him. Obviously he didn't like me birdwatching in the vicinity of his house.

Other than that we never spoke much as he was always rather sullen. But it all got worse once he'd taken the many newspapers to court for liable, claiming they had wrongly accused him of the murder.

Upset and angry that he'd lost his legal challenge and not liking the fall into obscurity he took some of his anger out on me.

His behaviour towards me changed dramatically. I'll post future posts about his outbursts, complaining to the police, my neighbour and of the numerous solicitors letters I received. Slightly more worrying he was collecting pictures of me whilst I was out walking!.

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