Ian Bailey claims anti-English 'xenophobia' made him ideal Sophie murder suspect

Ian Bailey claims anti-English 'xenophobia' made him ideal Sophie murder suspect

IAN BAILEY insists that anti-English "xenophobia" made it easier for locals to paint him as the man responsible for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

The Manchester-born former journalist said it was the fact that he was "an eccentric Englishman who had beaten up his former partner" that made him the "ideal suspect".

During an interview with Sinéad O'Connor earlier this week, Bailey claimed that the gardaí investigating the murder made a number of "menacing threats" towards him during questioning.

Bailey, the self-confessed prime suspect in the murder case, was arrested twice in the months following Sophie's death, but was never charged.

"During the first arrest I became aware that there was a large degree of xenophobia - what I felt was xenophobia - and a sort of reference to my Englishness," Bailey told O'Connor.

He also claimed that officers made out that they were going to physically assault him during the interview process.

"I was getting ready to take appropriate self-defence actions if I had to," the 64-year-old stressed.

O'Connor claims to have asked Bailey five questions about Sophie's murder that no reporter has ever asked him before.

The Nothing Compares 2 U singer said Bailey got "quite aggressive" and "lost his sh*t" in response to some of these questions, something the Englishman has denied.

Ms O'Connor described Bailey as "charming" while sober, but that after a few drinks, he became quite intimidating.

"And with each drink, and each question," O’Connor writes, "the sweet old gentleman vanishes some more, to be replaced by a brooding, angry giant".

Bailey has since insisted that he was well behaved throughout their meeting, and even claimed that O'Connor was intentionally plying him with booze in an attempt to loosen his tongue.

Despite a significant amount of evidence pointing the finger at Mr Bailey, the Englishman has consistently denied any involvement in Sophie's death.

She was murdered outside her home near Schull, Co. Cork on December 23, 1996.

Bailey was however convicted in absentia in a French court in 2019 for the murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison, though numerous extradition requests have been rejected in Ireland.