Sunday, December 1, 2019

The murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in her remote house in Cork, Ireland



The murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in her remote house in Cork, Ireland. There is an outstanding podcast series about this fascinating crime case 

I found this series mesmerizing and very eerie; it's called 'West Cork', by Jennifer Forde and Sam Bungey, and is about a 1996 murder there of a French (beautiful) woman who was staying in Cork over the Christmas holidays, right before Christmas itself, alone in her desolate holiday home. Then something terrible happened. It is set to be claimed that the victim was surprised by the killer, who called to her holiday home late at night as she read on the night of December 22, 1996, or possibly during the early hours of December 23rd. When the conversation with the late caller “degenerated”, she first tried to get back into her house before fleeing. The young woman, injured, after first trying to reenter the house, fled across the field, pursued by her aggressor, before being trapped at a wall which she tried to scale, because her front gate was closed. But she was caught and beaten to death as she tried to climb the wall in order to escape. Her nightclothes were torn, partially stuck in the barbed wire fence; there was blood on her hair and on her night clothes, her fingers broken. The attacker also used a breeze block found along the escape route for this, as well as a blunt instrument with a “ridged” edge. Ms Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s husband, French film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, said she had called him at around 11 PM Irish time on from bed and was getting ready to sleep. The victim was found in her nightclothes. A trace of blood compatible with the victim’s profile was found on the outside of the back door. The case still hasn't been fully and satisfactory solved, but a lot has happened in the meantime and I found it such an atmospheric and interesting listen; you are thrown back and forth between suspicions of possible perpetrators. Very well made, a real in-depth psychological and crime based saga. 
But also more intense than seeing a documentary, because you only hear the voices and the recorded wind and the waves and the desolate wild nature of that place. Making up images and scenes in your own head can be more frightening than seeing it on TV perhaps. Below are also the different audio episodes. Placed here with the approval of the podcast makers. Scroll further down for photos on this case, as well as media updates (as of 2019), photos and case theories. - Or even better: listen to all the episodes here on Apple podcast. I only embedded the series on this blog because I was unable at the time to find an easy accessible source of this outstanding podcast series. But to ensure that the main traffic goes straight to the authors, who deserve all the credits for their hard work, please listen this series here, on the main apple podcast site, if possible. That is also the place were potential new updates from the author will appear. Or subscribe to their site yarn.fm for updates.

Below follow first the 13 podcast episodes and below those, I selected many news articles about this case, as well as video and photos about Sophie, the crime scene and other elements of this case. Latest case updates can be found near the bottom (I continue to update this blog post), as well as my personal thoughts, suspicions and theories regarding this case and whether or not Ian Bailey is deservedly or not the main suspect. 




Intro
You can find this same episode here as well.



Episode 1 (in two parts)
You can find this same episode here as well.
  



Episode 2
You can find this same episode here as well.
   
 


Episode 3 
You can find this same episode here as well.
 


Episode 4
You can find this same episode here as well.



Episode 5 
You can find this same episode here as well.


Episode 6 
You can find this same episode here as well.


Episode 7 
You can find this same episode here as well.


Episode 8 
You can find this same episode here as well.


Episode 9 
You can find this same episode here as well.


Episode 10 
You can find this same episode here as well.


Episode 11 
You can find this same episode here as well.


Episode 12 
You can find this same episode here as well.


Episode 13 
You can find this same episode here as well.

Episode 14 
New Update podcast from May 14th, 2021 
about the 
French court case can find this same episode here as well.
It also reveals that some male DNA wás found on Sophie's boot, 
after all, but it did not belong to Ian Bailey





*****






Photos relating to this case






Schull and West Cork



Sophie's cottage, the crime scene  
and some autopsy photos
warning, contains some graphic images

In the centre of the photo is Sophie’s cottage. A little further back and to the left is where Alfie Lyons lived. To the right is another cottage (most probably a holiday home), belonging to the Richardsons. 




the crime scene




Ian Bailey





Three castle head


Case file excerpts
neighbour


Policeman

Ian Bailey

"Witness" Marie Farrell

French friend living nearby who Sophie saw the day before

Former lover

Lies

Other case details

More Bailey




Videos
      
 
    




HERE you can watch Netflix' 3-part series on the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Click on the hyperlinks for the individual episodes Part 1; Part 2 and Part 3 Password: koudekaas




Sky's 5-part mini series on the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier is great but they keep blocking every attempt anyone makes to upload the episodes. Sorry..




Timeline of this case

1991
English journalist, Ian Bailey, relocates to Ireland, lives in Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford for a short time before moving to West Cork. He later sets up home in Liscaha, Toormore near Schull with Welsh artist, Jules Thomas, and her three daughters. Baieley completed a journalism course in the UK in 1980 after which he became a correspondent for a number of newspapers in the Cheltenham area.

1993
Paris-based French film producer, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, buys a holiday home near Toormore between Schull and Goleen.

December 25th, 1995
Ian Bailey makes advances on his wife Jules' 18 year old daughter Ginny Thomas. She reports it to the police on January 2nd, 1997. “Ian also made advances on me on Christmas Day 1995 - I was in the car with him when it happened - he didn’t touch me physically but he made me understand that he wanted to get off with me,” said Ginny Thomas, who had turned 18 four months earlier. In the statement, she also outlined details of two assaults which Mr Bailey had committed on her mother at their home at the Praire, Liscaha, Schull in April and May 1996. She said she knew he had beaten her several times and bitten her in the arm on one occasion.

December 20th 1996
Ms Toscan du Plantier flies into Cork Airport from Paris for a brief holiday alone in West Cork. She is due to fly back to Paris three days later.

December 23rd 1996
Sophie's battered body is found around 10.30am by a neighbour, at the entrance to a laneway leading to her holiday home. Gardaí launch a murder investigation. Around 2 PM Ian Bailey arrives at the crime scene, where police are already present, to report on the crime. He was contacted by another journalist from the Examiner about the body 'of a French woman' being found at that area and was asked to head over.

December 24th 1996
A French man shows up in a travel agency in Galway around 2.30pm, some four-and-a-half hours after Sophie's bludgeoned body was discovered. Travel agent Maurice Sweeney says he contacted the gardai about a suspicious Frenchman who made inquiries about bed and breakfasts in the west Cork area. "He came in looking for a hotel near Dublin Airport and also inquired about numbers for bed and breakfasts in west Cork," said Mr Sweeney. "He had been in a bed and breakfast there and had left without paying. It was two days before Christmas and I thought it was a bit odd." He tells Gardaí but does nt feel that his information is taken seriously and they do not look further into the information. 

January 11th 1997
From a public phone box in Cork city, Marie Farrell uses the alias ‘Fiona’ and phones Bandon Gardaí Station. She says she saw a man by Kealfadda Bridge around 3am on the night of the murder. She identified him as Mr Bailey. Shes daid she had also identified him as the man she had seen around Schull in the run up to Christmas, as well as the man she saw at Kealfadda Bridge on the night of December 23rd 1996, around 3am, and near the scene of the crime at Ms Toscan du Plantier’s house, some 2.6 kms away.

January 20th 1997
Gardaí issue an appeal on Crimeline asking ‘Fiona’ to contact them.

January 21st 1997
From a phone box in Leap, Ms Farrell uses the alias ‘Fiona’ to again phone Bandon Garda Station.

January 24th 1997
She phones gardaí again using the same alias - the call is traced to the Farrell home in Schull.

February 4th 1997
Schoolboy, Malachi Reid gives a statement to gardaí that when giving him a lift home, Ian Bailey told him that he killed Ms Toscan du Plantier, saying that he “went up there with a rock and bashed her fucking brains out”. Later, in 1998, Bailey while drinking at home with another couple after a night out, began talking to Richie Shelley about the killing and said "I did it, I did it - I went too far"

February 10th 1997
Mr Bailey is arrested at home in connection with the murder. Ms Thomas is also arrested for questioning. Both are later released without charge. When asked about the scratches on Baileys hand (which weren't there before the day of the murder according to witnesses), Ms Jules Thomas said Mr Bailey had killed three turkeys for Christmas on Sunday, December 22nd, 1996. She said he had then climbed up a tree to cut off the top to use as a Christmas tree and she noticed scratches on his hands when he came back down. [Bailey is supported in his explanation as to how he got the scratches by Jules Thomas and her daughters Virginia and Saffron]. She also said she went out socialising in Schull the night of December 22nd 1996. She was dropped home by a friend shortly before 2.30am on Monday, December 23rd, and went to bed. “I don’t know if Ian was at home or if he was at my grandmother’s (the studio house 250m away that was formerly owned by Beryl Thomas). I didn’t speak to anyone and I went straight to bed after returning home,” she said.

April 17th 1997 
A preliminary inquest into Ms du Plantier’s death is told she died from multiple injuries, including a fracture of the skull, caused by a blunt instrument.

September 29th 1997 
A 2,000-page gardaí murder file is sent to the DPP but after queries from the DPP’s office in October, no charges are brought.

December 18th 1997
Justice Minister John O’Donoghue denies claims in the Dáil that requests by Ms du Plantier’s family for information on the murder file have been ignored.

January 27th 1998
Mr Bailey is arrested and questioned again, and released without charge.

March 9th 1998 
State Solicitor for West Cork Malachy Boohig says he was approached by Det Chief Supt Sean Camon who asked him to press a Justice Minister to get the DPP to charge Mr Bailey. The focus of the investigation remains on Mr Bailey. Police learn that he had a history of violent assaults towards his partner, Jules Thomas and how he sometimes behaved very strangely including howling at the moon and drinking himself into oblivion where he had blackouts. Several Irish witnesses told French investigators that Mr Bailey liked to scare women living on their own. Ceri Williams testified that she once saw Mr Bailey howling at the moon near her house and so slept with an iron bar by her bed.

April 1999
Italian Ariana Boarina, a friend from Jules' daughter Ginny, who stayed with Mr Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas over Christmas 1996, testified to police that Ian Bailey had indeed a number of fresh and severe scratch marks on his arms, on the day the body of Sophie Toscan du Plantier was found in West Cork. She stated:“When I arrived at Jules’s house, I met Jules’s boyfriend, Ian and I immediately noticed heavy marks from scratches on both his hands. They were numerous on both hands and they were up as far as his forearms and they were fresh,” she said. She said Mr Bailey was agitated and drinking a lot and at some stage either Ms Thomas or Mr Bailey told her that the scratch marks were caused by Mr Bailey either cutting a Christmas tree or killing turkeys. “In my own mind, I doubted this as the scratches were too numerous and too severe,” she said. Ms Boarina told gardaí that she believed it was more likely that the scratches came from plants with sharp thorns rather than a Christmas tree and the only Christmas tree she saw at the house was a small one which was decorated with chocolate for the festive season. “When I saw Ian at first, he looked really rough …. she said. [Scarlet: However: Jules' daughter Saffron Thomas was interviewed on 10 February 1997 and she stated that “I can verify as I was a witness to him receiving cuts and scratches to his hands, arms and legs from more specifically the cutting down of the tree.” “We had to kill three turkeys and in doing so Ian was cut by the turkey wings flapping when their heads were cut off.”]

July 7th 2000 
Daniel Toscan du Plantier visits West Cork for the first time since the murder and is briefed by gardai in Bandon for two hours. He said: “There is an incredible difference in law between Irish law and French law - Irish law offers more protection to individuals. But when you are on the side of the victim it is more difficult to accept but obviously I accept Irish law.”

September 22th 2000
Ms Thomas is arrested a second time, and one of her daughters is also arrested. Both are released without charge.

August 18th 2001
Mr Bailey assaults Ms Thomas at their home. He later gets a three-month suspended sentence, and admits it was his third time assaulting her.

November 2001 
In a scathing report, Robert Sheehan, a solicitor in the DPP’s office, criticises the Gardaí investigation of the case, and says the evidence does not warrant a prosecution.

January 2002 
The analysis prompts a Gardaí review of the investigation. The review is carried out by Chief Supt Austin McNally.

December 19th 2002
Ms du Plantier’s parents, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol and her son, Pierre Louis Baudey, launch a civil action against Mr Bailey for her wrongful death.

February 2003 
Daniel Toscan du Plantier, who had remarried in 1998, dies of a heart attack aged 61.

March 2003 

In the wake of the McNally review, a new file on the case is submitted to the DPP James Hamilton who directs no prosecution.

December 2003
Mr Bailey begins a libel action against eight newspapers over their linking of him to the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier, losing six cases and winning two. Some eight witnesses testify for Mr Bailey and 20 testify for the newspapers, among them Marie Farrell who proves a key witness, confirming her statement to gardaí that she saw a man she later learned was Ian Bailey at Kealfadda Bridge on the night of the murder. In his judgement, Judge Patrick Moran comments that it appears from the media interviews that he gave after his first arrest “that Mr Bailey is a man who likes a certain amount of notoriety, that he likes perhaps to be in the limelight, that he likes a bit of self-publicity.”



March 2004
It emerges that Ms. Marie Farrell now claims that she lied in a complaint to gardaí about Mr Bailey threatening her in Schull. Mr Bailey’s solicitor, Frank Buttimer, says his client was actually in his office at a time of the alleged threat.

April 2005

Ms Farrell withdraws her statement placing Mr Bailey near the scene of the murder and says she was coerced into making the statement by gardai, knowing them to be false and she had been instructed what to say by gardai. She recants her statement that the man that she saw at Kealfadda Bridge was Ian Bailey. This triggers another Gardaí review into the investigation. It is led by Assistant Commissioner Ray McAndrew which was not published. 

April 2006
The civil action brought by Ms du Plantier’s family against Mr Bailey is withdrawn.

May 2007
Mr Bailey launches a High Court action against the Justice Minister and the Gardaí Commissioner for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment, conspiracy, assault, battery, trespass to the person, harassment, intimidation and breach of his constitutional rights.

November 2007
Ms du Plantier’s family and friends launch The Association for the Truth about the Murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier (ASSOPH) to campaign for justice for her.

June 2008
As part of a French investigation into the murder, a French magistrate orders the exhumation of Ms du Plantier’s body from the family plot at Combret in Lozere for a post-mortem and forensic examination by French.

July 2008
Following the completion of the McAndrew Inquiry, the DPP recommends no prosecution. The Gardaí file on the case is made available to the French authorities.

June 2009
French Judges Patrick Gachon and Nathalie Dutartre visit the murder scene and meet gardaí who investigated the case.

February 19th 2010 
Judge Gachon issues a European arrest warrant for Mr Bailey.

April 23rd 2010
Mr Bailey is arrested at home and brought before the High Court, where he is granted bail pending a hearing of the extradition case.

December 2010 
Mr Bailey graduates from UCC with a law degree.

March 18th 2011 
The High Court orders Mr Bailey’s surrender to the French authorities on foot of the arrest warrant, but grants him leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. He appeals.

October 2011
A team of French police investigators and forensic experts visit Ireland, and interview up to 30 witnesses.

March 1st 2012
The Supreme Court rules in Mr Bailey’s favour, blocking any extradition. He subsequently makes a formal complaint to GSOC.

September 2012
Lawyers for the Bouniols lodge a formal complaint against Ireland at the European Commission over the decision not to extradite Mr Bailey to France.

October 2012 
The Bouniols’s lawyers, Alain Spilliaert and ASSOPH’s lawyer in Ireland, James MacGuill, write to the Gardaí Commissioner Martin Callanan seeking a cold case review. Meanwhile, Mr Bailey complains that his phone has been illegally tapped for the past 16 years and Judge Carroll Moran is appointed to investigate.

May 10th 2013
The High Court orders the State to hand over documents to Mr Bailey in his civil action for damages.

April 2014 
It emerges that phone calls at Bandon Garda Station were recorded, and the Government says this will form part of the Fennelly inquiry.

October 2014
The High Court orders GSOC to share material it has gathered during its investigation into Mr Bailey’s complaints against gardaí.

November 4th 2014 
Mr Bailey’s High Court action for damages against the Minister for Justice and the Gardaí Commissioner begins. It is expected to take six weeks. But it runs for five months - hearing evidence from more than 90 witnesses over 64 days. 

March 30th 2015
Mr Bailey loses the civil action. The jury finds against him on the two Gardaí conspiracy charges they were asked to consider - whether gardaí conspired to implicate him in the murder of Ms du Plantier, and whether there was a Gardaí conspiracy to obtain false statements from Marie Farrell. The jury was not asked to consider any wrongful arrest issue, because it was not taken within a specified legal period. Bailey’s solicitor Frank Buttimer says his client, still believes he can prove that gardaí conspired to implicate him in the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier, and will consider an appeal over his unsuccessful court case,

July 27th 2016
French judge Nathalie Turquey orders a fresh arrest warrant for Mr Bailey.

August 2016
Mr Bailey writes to the DPP Claire Loftus asking her to consider the French investigation file and review the DPP decision not to charge him. He writes again in September and December asking for an update.

December 23rd 2016 
Sophie’s family have private ceremony in Paris to mark the 20th anniversary.

March 2017
Mr. Bailey is arrested in Ireland on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the French authorities. The warrant seeks to extradite Bailey to France to stand trial for the voluntary homicide of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. The High Court of Ireland endorses the warrant. Bailey is successful in avoiding extradition, and in 2018, a French court rules there was "sufficient grounds" for Bailey to face trial in absentia. 

August 3rd 2018
The policing watchdog has voiced “serious concerns” over the deliberate tampering with key documents held by gardaí relating to the investigation into the 1996 murder in West Cork of French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier. In a report the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) found no evidence of any high-level corruption by gardaí, as alleged by journalist Ian Bailey, his partner Jules Thomas, and witness Marie Farrell.

February 26th 2019
Ian Bailey has said that it seems "inevitable" that he will be found guilty of the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier — however, he has reaffirmed his insistence that he is an innocent man. Speaking to Virgin Media News in an interview aired yesterday evening, Mr Bailey said that he expects to be convicted at his French trial in May. “I’m greatly, greatly imperiled here,” he said. “I know that I had nothing to do with this and I’m going to finish up a convicted murderer. “I’m actually an innocent man and what will happen in France is that they will probably celebrate the fact that I’ve been convicted and believe me to be the killer,” he claimed, adding: “All they’ll have succeeded in doing is convicting an innocent man.”

May 20th 2019 
It is time to bring an end to a crime that is “neither a mystery nor a legend”. Appealing to locals in West Cork to travel to Paris to testify at the forthcoming trial of English journalist Ian Bailey, the son of murdered French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier said it was time to find peace. Pierre-Louis Baudey Vignaud travelled to Goleen, West Cork, with his uncle Betrand for a Mass in memory of his mother. He told Mass-goers that his idyllic childhood had been blighted by the violent killing of his mother in West Cork in 1996. His solicitor, Frank Buttimer, described it as “a show trial for the purpose of satisfying certain persons in relation to their own beliefs in relation to the matter”. Mr Buttimer said that Mr Bailey was in a “living nightmare”. He had been subjected to “this sort of situation” for almost 23 years.

May 312t 2019
Bailey is convicted of murder in France and sentenced to 25 years in prison May 31, 2019. The evidence includes Marie Farrell's initial statements about Bailey, despite her later recanting it. 

October 12th, 2020
Judge Paul Burns in Ireland's High Court rules that Bailey can not be extradited. Later that same month, the Irish State decides not to appeal the High Court's finding, effectively ending all attempts to extradite Bailey.













Older media articles about this case


 





A brutal death in black and white
The 13-page post-mortem report by Dr Harbison

The Irish Times
May 10, 2008
 
[source] The State pathologist's report on the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork in 1996, recently received by her family and seen by The Irish Times, gives a clear picture of the savagery of the attack, writes Lara Marlowe. AN UNPUBLISHED report on the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier conveys the savagery of the French woman's killing in west Cork in December 1996, and has provided her family with details of her death.

"It is hard to read, but it gives a far more clear and precise picture than newspaper reports, which were all we had to go on,"
says Jean-Pierre Gazeau, the dead woman's uncle and the president of the Association for the Truth about the Death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Gazeau, a professor of astrophysics, provided a copy of the report to The Irish Times. He does not want his ageing sister, Marguerite Bouniol, Toscan du Plantier's mother, to read it. In a landmark defamation trial, Judge Patrick Moran ruled in January 2004 that six newspapers had been entitled to identify the English journalist Ian Bailey as the chief suspect in Toscan du Plantier's killing. Bailey said scratches on his face, hands and forearms, first noticed the day Toscan du Plantier's body was found, were caused by his killing three turkeys and chopping down a Christmas tree. Newspapers reported that the dead woman had organic matter from her assailant under her fingernails and a clump of hair in her hand. The then State pathologist, Dr John Harbison, recorded: 

"I took scrapings from the fingernails of both hands and placed them in plastic bags . . . A number of hairs, almost a dozen, were adherent to and even wound around fingers of the right hand. Because of dried blood these were removed with difficulty and some of them parted. I found one long and one very short hair adherent to the back of the left hand."

Bailey gave gardaí a sample of his DNA in January 1997. Liam Horgan, the Garda superintendent in charge of the investigation, confirmed in a telephone interview that three sets of DNA tests have been conducted "over time, as the technology improved". The tests have been inconclusive so far, but Supt Horgan said the samples, held in a secure place in Dublin, could still yield the identity of Toscan du Plantier's killer. Several years have passed since the tests were last conducted. "Some blood samples are so minuscule that they could not be analysed. As technology advances, we can go back to it," Supt Horgan said. Most of the 20 pages that the coroner sent to Bouniol comprises the 13-page post-mortem report by Dr Harbison. The document also includes a cover note to Marguerite Bouniol, dated April 8th, from the coroner for south and west Cork, a summary signed by Dr Harbison three months after the killing, a two-page report by the Garda Síochána to the coroner, and results of toxicology and chemical pathology tests on the dead woman's body, all of which were negative.

The report
THE GARDA REPORT notes that Toscan du Plantier's body was found "in suspicious circumstances", surely one of the great understatements in the history of crime. In the clinical language of the State pathologist, Dr Harbison describes the scene at Dunmanus West on December 24th, 1996: "In the approach to these cottages, I observed the dead body of a female lying on the grass verge on the roadway. The principal feature of the body was that the head, shoulders and both arms were heavily blood stained." Dr Harbison describes the body in terms of a multitude of wounds, bruises, lacerations and haemorrhages. Her mother had told me that her beautiful daughter's face was "a pulp". Dr Harbison lists "laceration and swelling of the brain, fracture of the skull, and multiple blunt head injuries" as the cause of death. The dead woman wore a short cotton top, a pair of cotton "long johns" style underpants and boot-like shoes with socks sewn into the top. The underpants had caught on barbed wire as she fled and were stretched for about three feet between the wire and the body. "The dead woman had long hair which had become entangled in vegetation," Dr Harbison wrote. This writer couldn't help recalling the Yeats poem found beside Toscan du Plantier's bed. It began: "Nor dread nor hope attend/ A dying animal . . . " "It was obvious that she had severe head injuries because there were gaping wounds on the right side of the forehead and the right ear was severely lacerated at its lower edge," Dr Harbison continued. He identified two possible weapons near the body: "Beside the deceased's left shoulder and head was a flat slate like a stone which was heavily blood stained . . . Between the deceased's body and the wire fence and within 9in of her left hand was a 9in cavity block." The block rested on the dead woman's blue dressing gown, and appeared to have been taken from a hut built around an electric water pump, 20-30ft further up the hill. Dr Harbison mentions two blows on the dead woman's shoulder blades. "These could have been the imprints of that block, administering a glancing blow," he wrote. The body did not appear to have been dragged over the ground. Her killer must have pursued her as she ran down the hill, towards a neighbour's house.

"It was obvious that she had severe head injuries because there were gaping wounds on the right side of the forehead and the right ear was severely lacerated at its lower edge" 

Ian Bailey covered the killing for several newspapers. He denied allegations that he reported things only the killer would have known. In the Sunday Tribune, dated December 29th, 1996, Bailey wrote: "The evidence indicates that she was pursued down the rocky track from her home and killed by repeated blows to the back of the head." Rumours initially oriented the investigation towards France. In the same article, Bailey erroneously reported that "Ms du Plantier . . . had recently informed [her husband Daniel] she intended to remarry her first husband," adding, "on several occasions she had visited west Cork with different companions". Sophie Toscan du Plantier was not raped or sexually assaulted, Dr Harbison writes. When I interviewed Daniel Toscan du Plantier in 1999 (he died in 2003), he speculated on the motive of his wife's killer. "I can imagine it well," he said. "She could be extremely cutting. She faced someone who was probably drunk, and he made a pass at her and she rejected him in an insulting way and he went crazy. It was like her to go outside to talk to him; she wasn't afraid of anything." In December 2003, when Bailey sued newspapers for libel, a landscape gardener, Bill Fuller, testified that Bailey, speaking of himself in the second person, told him: "You did it. You saw her in Spar on Saturday. You saw her walking up the aisle with her tight arse. You fancied her. You went up there to see what you could get. She ran off screaming. You chased her to calm her down. You stirred something in the back of your head. You went too far. You had to finish her off." In addition to Fuller, Bailey is reported to have told or strongly implied to at least seven other people (Helen Callanan, Yvonne Ungerer, Malachi Reed, Richard and Rosie Shelley, Diane Martin and Marie Farrell) that he killed Toscan du Plantier. Farrell, who had earlier said she was threatened by Bailey, retracted her testimony in 2005. Bailey has claimed the "confessions" were misunderstood, that he was either joking or recounting what other people said about him [Scarlet: read more about this here, under point 9. When reading the statements in full, all 'confessions' of Bailey seem to have been dragged out of the context of him mocking what gardai accused him of. In other words; him using black humour, indeed. Which in itself is the antithesis of an admission. But witnesses took out the irony]. The coup de grâce was apparently administered once Toscan du Plantier was already prostrate. "I was able to look at the ground when the body had been moved to note that there was a slight depression with blood on it where the head had lain," Dr Harbison wrote. "This indicated to me that the body had been in that position when the blows were struck."

Two mysteries
THE STATE PATHOLOGIST'S report raises two mysteries: what caused "the curious situation that the drops of blood on the clothing were for the most part quite circular, a few with slight 'blobs' on the edges, as if they had fallen vertically on to the long johns rather than dribbled downwards from the deceased's head onto her legs"? The folded part of the cloth was not stained, creating "the impression that this blood therefore fell on these trousers while in that infolded state". Could the drops on the dead woman's pyjamas be the blood of her killer? Future DNA tests may tell. And what caused the "fine parallel abrasions" that Dr Harbison said resembled "the imprint of a 'Doc Marten' boot" on the dead woman's neck, face and right forearm? Did her killer stomp on her body?

No one told Toscan du Plantier's family they had a right to receive the post-mortem report. "When I was in Dublin in February, the sister of a murdered man told me we could ask for it," Gazeau explains. "I asked Marguerite to write to the coroner, which she did." The coroner, Frank O'Connell, promptly forwarded the report to Bouniol when he obtained it from his predecessor, who retired in December 2006. Under normal circumstances, a coroner's inquest is held when a murder investigation is concluded. The family is entitled to be invited. But no inquest has been held in this case, because the Garda investigation continues. "The coroner's inquiry was opened by my predecessor solely to take formal evidence of identity, to determine the cause of death and release the body," O'Connell explained. "The inquiry was opened and adjourned until after the police inquiry, as required by section 25 of the Coroner's Act of 1962 . . . I gave Mrs Bouniol everything I have. As long as the police are conducting an investigation, particularly one as difficult as this, they keep the evidence to themselves. This is one of the saddest cases I have come across. My heart goes out to Mrs Bouniol." Supt Horgan regrets that the case has not come to trial. "Somebody killed Sophie Toscan du Plantier in December 1996," he says. "My responsibility is to bring that person to justice. I am hopeful that we will." There is always the possibility of new DNA results, a confession, or that "other witnesses come forward with evidence not offered until now," he continues. "People are still very interested and anxious to help; I still think we are gaining a bit of ground. It's a priority here and will remain so."








Recent (2019) media updates on this case

Ian Bailey trial shown images of injuries sustained by Sophie Toscan du Plantier

(Source) May 28th, 2019. Back to Ian Bailey trial Ireland Home. "The investigation into the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier has always been stalled by the lack of forensic evidence from the scene of the crime. On the first day of trial, the court saw graphic images of the Ms du Plantier's body where it was found next to the gate of her neighbour’s property. Next to her head was a large, flat, blood-stained rock while her dressing gown was found under some brambles at the same level as her hip, pinned down by a blood-spattered breeze block. She was wearing a white t-shirt and long johns, as well as walking boots with no socks. The leg of her long johns was caught on some nearby barbed wire. The wounds to her head were so acute that the bones of the skull were exposed. There was a deep cut at the level of her right ear while she had several scratches to her right cheek. On her neck was a graze of nine parallel scratches that some investigators believe match the soles of Doc Marten-style boots. She also had injuries to her hands and a fracture to her chest, which indicated she had tried to defend herself during the attack. Samples were taken from under her nails as well as intimate samples, but despite the violence of the attack no forensic evidence that could uncover the identity of the killer has been found. The French Court was so frustrated by the lack of clues yielded by the crime scene that in 2008 it ordered Ms du Plantier's skeleton be exhumed and a second post mortem carried out.

On July 2, 2008, pathologist Marc Taccoen began his own examination of Ms Toscan du Plantier. He told the court that the biggest wound to the victim’s head was 8cm across but there were multiple fractures to the skull. Mr Taccoen said there was a fracture to the thorax but that the spine was intact and there were no injuries to the lower limbs. The court was shown first a sketch of Ms Toscan du Plantier’s skull detailing all the fragments, before being shown a picture of the skull itself that Mr Taccoen had pieced together. He said the injuries had been caused by a blunt weapon and could have been caused by driving a rock into the victim’s skull. The pathologist said Ms Toscan du Plantier had been “battered considerably” and that her injuries were consistent with her skull being “crushed”. The original investigation noted there was an indentation in the earth beneath the victim’s head, indicating she was already on the ground when she received the fatal blows. Mr Taccoen’s investigation confirmed the findings of the post mortem carried out by Dr John Harbison 11 years beforehand, that Ms Toscan du Plantier died from head injuries from a violent assault. No further clues that could have unlocked the case were found."





Witness tells court that Sophie Toscan du Plantier feared 'weird' poet was stalking her
(Source) May 2019.She was suspicious of him and she did not want to see him,’ Ms Thomas told the second day of Ian Bailey’s trial. The alleged victim of murder-accused Ian Bailey, feared a suspicious ‘weird man’ who wanted to recite verses to her in the days before her savage death, her best friend told a French court today. Chilling details of Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s unnamed stalker emerged in the Paris Assizes, where Manchester-born Bailey, 62, is being tried in his absence and faces 30 years in prison. He is accused of beating Ms Toscan du Plantier to death outside her holiday home in Schull, West Cork, on December 23, 1996. She was 39 at the time and a successful Paris TV producer and mother-of-one who was married to the late Gaumont cinema executive Daniel Toscan du Plantier. Agnes Thomas, who was part of the family’s upmarket social circuit in France, on Tuesday told the Paris court of how she almost joined Ms Toscan du Plantier on her trip to Ireland 23 years ago. ‘I wanted to go, but because of a birthday could not,’ said Ms Thomas. ‘Perhaps if I had been there, Sophie would still be alive.’ Ms Thomas said she spoke to her best friend ‘by phone every day’ and that in early December she had complained about a ‘weird man’ who lived close to her in Cork and wanted to recite verses of his poetry to her. ‘She was suspicious of him and she did not want to see him,’ Ms Thomas told the second day of Bailey’s trial. Ms Thomas admitted her memory was ‘a bit polluted’ and could not say if Ms Toscan du Plantier had used Bailey’s name, but she knew he was an aspiring poet at the time. 

Before her departure, Sophie had first told her friend about an appointment with this poet: “She told me that she was going to meet this guy - a poet - to talk to him about his work. She said he was a ‘weird guy’ and I advised her that she should not meet him if he was weird.” Ms Thomas said Ms Toscan du Plantier did not name the man she was due to meet. Agnes Thomas told court in Paris she warned her friend against meeting the aforementioned ‘weird guy’. Ms Thomas had visited the cottage where Ms Toscan du Plantier stayed in Cork once, adding: ‘She loved being by the sea and she was fascinated by the beautiful view outside her house.’ Daniel Toscan du Plantier rarely travelled to Ireland with his wife, because their house there was ‘cold and drafty,’ Ms Thomas said, and he "liked comfort". But she said they had a strong marriage and a happy life together at the time with their son, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud, who was 15 at the time, and they were planning a second child together. Another family friend confirmed the strong relationship between Sophie and her husband. Gilbert Jacob, a close friend of Mr Toscan du Plantier who also worked in film, told the court he had spent a lot of time with the couple before the victim’s death. He said: “At the time Toscan (Daniel Toscan du Plantier) had become a sort of ambassador for French cinema, he was extremely well known and extremely brilliant. Toscan went all over France, he knew people in high levels of government and everyone was interested in his career.” He said Mr Toscan du Plantier had been attracted to her because she was the opposite of all the glamorous actresses and was not a “provocateur”. Mr Toscan du Plantier is said to have adored his wife, as she was not like any other woman he knew and he had bought the holiday home in west Cork as a present so that she could have somewhere to retreat to and take refuge when she wanted a break from life in Paris. Ms Thomas did not tell police about her fateful conversation with Ms Toscan du Plantier until 2015, even though French magistrates had begun investigating the case in 2008. ‘The brain is very complicated,’ said Ms Thomas. ‘I had lost my best friend. It was very shocking. Something was blocked inside me, and it took many years for it to come back, when I saw that footage that mentioned something about poetry.’ - Bailey was arrested twice but released following the murder, and still lives close to the crime scene with his partner, Jules Thomas."   -   [Note from Scarlet: Agnes Thomas remembered these details many years after the fact. Around 2015, apparently. She herself calls it 'one of those curious workings of the memory'. But to me this honestly raises suspicions. To suppress such a vital piece of evidence for decades, only to remember it again when France is trying to get Ian convicted in absentia? Especially in light of the relentless attempts from Paris/France to get Ian Bailey convicted in recent years]. 

Gardaí InvestigationThe evidence gathered by the gardai against Ian Bailey was entirely circumstantial. He had cuts and bruises on his hands. He would say these were from killing turkeys for Christmas. He made admissions to some local people. The admissions were subsequently characterized as being sarcastic or attempts at dark humour. Yet the gardai felt they had their man. They ascribed a sexual motive to the murder. Bailey had, they believed, gone to her house on the night in question looking for sex. When she rejected his advances, he killed her in a brutal manner. The problem for the gardai was finding evidence to flesh out the theory. There were no witnesses. There was no forensic evidence. Bailey had an alibi. The guards drove on [his wife..]. Crucially, a witness came forward. Marie Farrell initially made an anonymous call on 11 January 1997 but the gardai traced her. She gave a description of a man she claimed to have seen on the night in question at a bridge near the Du Plantier home. The description fitted Bailey, or so it seemed. He was arrested in February 1997. That same month gardai wrote to the DPP that it was “of the utmost importance that Bailey be charged immediately with this murder as there is every possibility he will kill again.” The DPP ruled that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to press charges. Bailey was arrested again in 1998. The DPP’s decision remained the same. In the twenty-plus years since the initial Gardaí investigation little new has emerged to further a case that Ian Bailey could be in any way responsible for the murder of Sophie. If anything subsequent events would further damage the Gardaí presumption that they knew who the murderer was. In 2001, an official in the DPP’s office compiled an excoriating analysis of the Gardaí investigation. Robert Sheehan found that there was no case to prosecute Bailey and went further in some instances, pointing to his likely innocence. He mentioned Bailey’s co-operation with the investigation. “If Bailey had murdered Sophie, he would have known that there was a definite possibility of forensic evidence such as blood, fibres, hair or skin tissue being discovered at the scene. His voluntary provision of fingerprints and a specimen of his blood is objectively indicative of innocence,” Sheehan wrote. The analysis attributed his “confessions” to “black humour”. It stated that the arrest of Bailey’s partner Jules Thomas was in all likelihood illegal. In a prescient observation the official also questioned the reliability of Marie Farrell as a witness. The critique was not published and would remain within the DPP’s office for nearly a decade. When it was completed it was sent to senior gardai. They in turn responded with a 33 page rebuttal of Mr Sheehan’s analysis. In 2002, Gardaí Commissioner Pat Byrne appointed chief superintendent Austin McNally to review the original investigation. His report was never published but was believed to be critical of some aspects of the investigation. Following the review a file was again submitted to the DPP. Again, the DPP ruled there was no enough evidence for a prosecution against Bailey.

Libel action
In December 2003, Bailey started a libel action at Cork Circuit Court against eight newspapers. The trial heard evidence of serious violence perpetrated by Bailey against Jules Thomas.
 “What kind of a person would hit a defenceless woman,” counsel for the newspapers, Paul Gallagher, asked Bailey. “It was in the heat of the moment,” the witness replied. “Does that mean you are a person who loses control? Are there any other occasions in life when you lost control and hurt someone like this?” Bailey replied that he had hurt Ms Thomas on another occasion. Marie Farrell gave evidence at the trial. A plain clothes Gardaí accompanied her in the courthouse. The judge ruled in Bailey’s favour in two of the eight actions. In his ruling, Judge Patrick Moran referred to an interview Bailey had given to RTE following his first arrest. It appeared, the judge said, “that Mr Bailey is a man who likes a certain amount of notoriety, that he likes perhaps to be in the limelight, that he likes a bit of self publicity.” Following the completion of the trial the DPP once again reviewed the file on Ian Bailey. Once again the DPP came to the conclusion that there was no case to prosecute him for murder. An appeal of the libel action in 2007 was settled after three days hearing. The newspapers involved stated that they never intended to suggest that Bailey was responsible for the murder.

Gardaí review of Gardaí Investigation
In 2005, Marie Farrell wrote to Bailey’s solicitor Frank Buttimer, claiming she had been coerced by the gardai into making false statements. Her statements had been a central plank to the Gardaí case against Bailey. As seen above that case was considered by the DPP to be fatally flawed. Now the main witness was declaring that she had provided false statements under alleged duress. She had also given evidence in a libel trial in which she had expanded on these statements. Her change of heart retrospectively rendered her evidence in the libel trial as false. The DPP analysis in 2001 had cast doubt on her reliability. This admission on her part effectively torpedoed any credibility she may have had as a witness. Frank Buttimer contacted the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell with this information. As a result Assistant Commissioner Ray McAndrew was appointed to carry out a review of the Gardaí investigation. The McAndrew team interviewed 90 witnesses including fifty serving or retired gardai. The review has never been published. Among the issues examined by McAndrew was allegations that the gardai had provided drugs to one individual who knew Bailey, in order to induce him to get the suspect to confess. Following its completion in 2008, a file was sent to the DPP, this time about the Gardaí handling of the investigation rather than the murder itself. The DPP recommended no prosecution. Soon after that the Gardaí commissioner directed that the file on the murder be made available to the French authorities. Bailey, on foot of Marie Farrell’s volte face, launched a civil action against the state for wrongful arrest.

French investigation
Meanwhile, in France, the family of Sophie Toscan du Plantier were increasingly frustrated at the failure to hold anybody to account for the death of their loved one. They formed a group and lobbied for French intervention. In 2008, Judge Patrick Gachon was appointed to examine the case. He ordered the exhumation of her body for further tests. He used the Gardaí file on the case as a roadmap for his investigation. The following year two gardai who had been involved in the initial investigation travelled to Paris to be interview by the judge. As a result of his investigation the judge applies for the extradition of Bailey under a European Arrest Warrant. On 24 April 2010 Bailey was arrested at his home in Schull for the third time in connection with the murder. He was held overnight and released on bail. The process of having him extradited to France was underway. In this, the government supported the French application. Such a move may, on one hand, be expected of a fellow EU state. However, this state also had an interest in being shot of Bailey. If he were to depart to France there was a high likelihood he wouldn’t be back. In such an instance, his civil action against the state would die.

Extradition hearings On 18 March 2011, the High Court approved Bailey’s extradition but allowed leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. Later that year, a team of French detectives arrived in the country to carry out further investigations. They interviewed thirty people, including Marie Farrell, and were assisted at every turn by An Garda Siochana. Then, an old file resurfaced. The long retired DPP Eamon Barnes made his former office aware of the analysis that had been conducted into the Gardaí investigation in 1991. Reportedly, he felt this should be included in any appeal to the Supreme Court on the matter of Bailey’s extradition. As it was to turn out, the Supreme Court ruled in Bailey’s favour on points of law. Once again, it looked as if the pursuit of the Englishman had run into a brick wall. In his ruling, the late Judge Adrian Hardiman touched on some of the background to the case. “Mr Bailey has been very thoroughly investigated in Ireland in connection with the death of Madame du Plantier. There was certainly, as will be seen, no lack of enthusiasm to prosecute him if the facts suggested that there was evidence against him. He has been subjected to arrest and detention for the purpose of questioning. He has voluntarily provided, at the request of the gardaí, forensic samples which have failed to yield incriminating evidence. The fruit of the investigation have been considered not once, but several times by the DPP who has concluded and reiterated that there is no evidence to warrant a prosecution against him.” The outcome of the failed French attempt to extradite him was that Bailey was effectively confined to these shores. Travel to any other country that had an extradition arrangement with France would incur the danger of not returning home. In 2013 his mother in the UK became ill and was close to death for a period of weeks. He was unable to attend at her bedside or to travel to the subsequent funeral. In 2016, the French issued another European Arrest Warrant. This time they said they wanted their man for “voluntary homicide”. Once again, the application was supported by the Irish government. High Court judge Tony Hunt refused the request to extradite. He dismissed the application for a number of reasons, including “abuse of process”. He also ruled that the underlying theme of the application was that there was “a conviction that the majority of the Supreme Court were in error” in ruling on the previous application.

Recordings TribunalA few years previously, in late 2013, the state solicitor’s office made a startling discovery. In the process of providing information for the forthcoming High Court action by Bailey, secret recordings were discovered in Bandon Gardaí station. Dominos began to fall. It turned out that there were dozens of stations around the country that had made secret recordings of telephone conversations going back decades. By late March 2014, this information came to the attorney general and the Taoiseach. At the same time, the Maurice McCabe case was rocking both Gardaí management and the government. Now this. The outcome was the resignation of the Gardaí commissioner Martin Callinan. Retired judge Niall Fennelly was appointed to chair a tribunal into the recordings. The recording from Bandon were subsequently played during the High Court action but didn’t yield any bombshells. On 4 November 2014 Ian Bailey’s High Court action against the state opened. It was expected to run for six weeks. The hearing was in front on a jury. The option had been open to Bailey to opt for a judge only. A decade earlier, he had brought his libel action to the Circuit Court in front of a judge only, where the limit to any award was €38,000. If he had brought that action to the High Court, and won, he could have received damages of many multiples of what was available in the Circuit court. But back then little had emerged about the Gardaí investigation. The DPP analysis was not known publicly. Marie Farrell’s credibility as a witness was not questioned. Now all had changed. Now, Bailey quite obviously hoped that public sympathy in some quarters for his case might be reflected in a jury room. The six week schedule turned out to be very wide of the mark. The hearing ran for 64 days over five months – one of the longest in the history of the state – and involving 90 witness. On 30 March 2015 the jury delivered its verdict. It found against Bailey on the two conspiracy allegations they were asked to consider – whether gardai had conspired to implicate him in the murder of Ms Du Plantier and whether there was a Gardaí conspiracy to obtain false statements from Marie Farrell. The jury was not asked to consider any wrongful arrest because it had taken place outside a specified legal period.

GSOC complaints
A report into complaints about Gardaí conduct made to GSOC by Ian Bailey, Jules Thomas and Marie Farrell was published on 2 August 2018. GSOC found that the gardai had “a reasonable belief” when arresting Bailey and Thomas in 1997 that they may have been suspects in the killing. “There is no evidence to suggest that Ian Bailey was ‘framed’ for the murder or that evidence was falsified, forged or fabricated by members of the Garda Siochana,” the report stated. It found no evidence to support Marie Farrell’s claim that she had been intimidated into making false statements about Bailey. There was no definitive outcome into Jules Thomas complaint because of the failure of a number of gardai or former gardai to co-operate. Apart from that GSOC found some disturbing elements to the Gardaí investigation. A catalogue of items of evidence, including 139 original witness statements had gone missing or could not be located. 

Among the items missing was a blood splattered gate. Speaking on RTE at the time, Frank Buttimer said, “one might wonder how does one lose a gate.”

Other details
(Source) Dr Taccoen carried out an autopsy on Ms Toscan du Plantier’s body following an exhumation in 2008 and he carried out a reconstruction of her skull which confirmed the findings of Irish pathologist, Dr John Harbison, that Ms Toscan du Plantier died from head injuries inflicted in a violent attack. He said injuries and fractures and wounds on the right side of her skull were consistent with a blow from a flat stone found near her body which was delivered with force from the side rather than from in front of her while the fatal blow was delivered when a block was dropped on her from a height. French investigators spoke to a number of witnesses who had seen scratches on Mr Bailey’s hands in the days following the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier on December 23rd, 1996, which were not there before the day of the murder. The French prosecution were satisfied Mr Bailey’s scratches were caused by coming in contact with briars which surrounded the murder scene and were not consistent with having been caused by cutting the top off a Christmas tree or by being nicked by a turkey as claimed by Mr Bailey (and his wife) when interviewed by gardaí.

Psychology
Asked by advocat, Marie Dose for Ms Toscan du Plantier’s family if the victim might be characterised as gullible and naïve, Mr Larousse - a French psychologist who built up a profile of Ms Toscan du Plantier for French investigators when they began their inquiry in 2008 - said she was clearly very trusting as evidenced by the fact that she once invited a homeless person to sleep in her car and invited another homeless person for a meal. Mr Larousse said Ms Toscan du Plantier was “very independent and wasn’t afraid of much” even in situations that carried a risk and the evidence indicated the person who killed Ms Toscan du Plantier was not someone she was afraid of and she didn’t suspect that she was going to be attacked. Her mother, Marguerite Bouniol, testified that 

Sophie refused to be subsumed by the superficiality of the Parisian cultural milieu where she worked as a film producer and instead, to maintain her sanity, sought out an oasis of calm and serenity to which she could escape.

Inspired by a romantic view of Ireland, in particular by the poetry of WB Yeats, she found her rural retreat in the rocky hills of West Cork, where she relished in the peace and solitude. In diaries, she wrote about being at ease in West Cork. She loved to visit her dormer property, a converted farmhouse, and appeared to have easily overcome any fears of isolation in the rural setting she had chosen. “The Irish love their country in a more exclusive way than the Lozerians,” she wrote, referring to her birthplace and upbringing in the south-central region of France.“It is a country of endurance, of resistance, pride in a flag, more than mere roots! “I really love this country, I an adapting to it, and at the same time my body is, more or less, getting used to the cold. I am becoming hardened to it and I feel at ease here, with the people, their language and their thoughts.” She wrote of her desires to find a house and to spend time there.“Perhaps its doesn’t need to be too isolated for me to find serenity.” The home she found, near Toormore, in between the peninsula villages of Schull and Goleen in Country Cork, Ireland, was a five-bed farmhouse on a hillside above a rocky landscape with sheep-grazing fields, and where the sky and sea met the horizon as she would have looked across a sweeping valley. She had a small number of friends in the locality. Occasionally, she had been joined by family from France and other friends but, in many respects, she seemed also to enjoy being on her own. Later she penned: “The scenery is to die for; it changes all the time, going from English-type countryside with Swiss chalet-like houses to stony desert and red dust.” Sophie not only loved West Cork, she trusted it. And it was that trust which prompted her to open the door to her killer one night in December 1996. Mr Larousse was also asked if Ms Toscan du Plantier had any lovers and he confirmed she had a lover while she was married to her second husband, Daniel Toscan du Plantier but he found no evidence of her having a lover in Ireland and she was on good terms with her husband when she went to west Cork. - The three-judge trial were also shown crime scene photographs including photographs of Ms Toscan du Plantier’s badly beaten body when it was found near the gateway leading to her holiday home on the morning of December 23rd, 1996 by her neighbour, Shirley Foster.










Important article: 'Did gardaí target Bailey to shield Sophie’s killer?'
(Source) July 22nd, 2018
Gemma O’Doherty 

"As the French courts prepare to prosecute Ian Bailey in absentia, there is growing speculation that gardaí targeted him for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in order to protect the real suspect.

The skies were still dark over the West Cork countryside when Martin O’Sullivan set off from his home in Goleen on a crisp morning two days before Christmas. It was just after 7.30am as he made his way to work along the quiet road to Durrus passing a winding boreen that leads to the white-washed home of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. As he drove north towards Bantry, leaving the French filmmaker’s secluded farmhouse behind, a blue Ford shot up behind him at high speed. O’Sullivan was forced to slam on the brakes as the car overtook him on a dangerous bend and nearly ran him off the road. He noticed its headlights were on and the rear number plate was red. He believed it was a Fiesta. Several hours later, shock and sadness replaced the festive mood throughout Ireland as news filtered through that the 39-year-old mother of one had been found murdered on the laneway leading to her holiday home overlooking the Atlantic in Toormore, Schull. It was December 23, 1996. Du Plantier was found in a blood-soaked T-shirt, white leggings and a pair of laced-up boots. She had been bludgeoned to death with a rock and a concrete block. She put up a considerable fight but sustained more than 50 injuries to her head, face and body in the attack and was left almost unrecognisable. She had lacerations on her hands and arms. The then State pathologist John Harbison also believed she had been kicked or held down by the neck and wrist with a ‘Doc Marten’ boot, whose prints were also found on the laneway near her remains.

A blue Ford car speeding away from the crime scene
In the days that followed, Martin O’Sullivan gave a statement to gardaí about the suspicious car he had seen, telling them he was fairly certain it was not from the immediate locality. It was a critical sighting that occurred close to the time and location of the murder and could hold the key to unlocking the case.
O’Sullivan expected gardaí to carry out an appeal asking for the public’s help in identifying the driver but they never did; nor did they perform door-to-door inquiries in the locality where the suspicious car had been seen. Why was this? Did they have a motive in protecting the identity of the driver? - It is just one of the countless unsettling incongruences in an investigation which many people in Cork and across Ireland now believe was mangled not by accident but by design. There is a growing sense that the persecution of English journalist Ian Bailey (61) by the gardaí, which has endured for 22 years and continues to this day, may have been motivated by something more sinister than the need to find a suspect to satisfy her family and the authorities in France. Speculation is rife that gardaí targeted Bailey because they already knew who the real killer was and were protecting him. Allegations have emerged that a senior member of the force may have been responsible for Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s death. The  officer at the centre of these claims, who is now deceased, was a notoriously violent person and a sexual predator infamous for having affairs with women, particularly foreigners. A married man who was strikingly handsome, he was a rampant alcoholic who is described as having abused his power whenever he could. One local portrayed him as being “crooked as a ram’s horn”. He was known for rustling cattle and sheep from farmers who had committed minor offences and he was in a position to blackmail. He also drove a blue Ford car. It is believed the officer may have come into contact with du Plantier because of her fears about drug-dealing in the countryside close to her. Some in the area claim he had a sexual encounter with the French woman, whose love-life was complicated and fraught, but that he was subsequently rejected by her. The violent nature of the killing has always been indicative of a ‘crime of passion’ carried out by a scorned lover. The garda at the centre of these allegations was not involved in the investigation. On his deathbed, he was said to be a profoundly disturbed man. The shocking allegations against him however remain unproven.

Ian Bailey the loose canon and scapegoat
From the very start of their investigation, gardaí were keen to control the narrative of what might have happened to the French woman. For some reason, they dismissed suggestions that she had a guest in her home in the hours before the murder, rejecting rumours that two rinsed wine glasses had been found beside her kitchen sink. In his book about the case called ‘Death in December’, Michael Sheridan said the wine glass story was a myth. He was assisted in his research by the gardaí. But images from the crime scene disproved this claim and two wine glasses were indeed found draining in the kitchen. More suspicious still was the fact that no fingerprints were found on the glasses – at least according to gardaí. Apart from their relentless targeting of Bailey, the destruction of vital evidence from the crime scene supports the theory that the investigation was deliberately botched. The baffling ‘loss’ of a five-bar blood-splashed iron gate from the entrance to du Plantier’s property has never been explained nor has anyone been disciplined for it. Did the gate disappear because there were blood and finger- prints belonging to the suspect on it? The gardaí have also never accounted for the ‘loss’ of witness statements and suspect files as well as of a document outlining why Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas were to be classified as suspects. A bottle of wine found at the crime scene is also believed to have disappeared as well as a small red hatchet kept inside the doorway of du Plantier’s home which her housekeeper Josie (Josephine) Hellen noticed was missing.

Fresh skid marks on the laneway where she was found suggest a visitor had arrived and left in a hurry but they do not appear to have been identified. Did they belong to the Ford seen speeding nearby shortly before her remains were found? The brutality of the murder is reflected in images of the victim’s body which are horrifying. They also suggest the attack may have been prolonged and that she was chased to her death. When training to become police officers, young recruits, including gardaí, are taught a fundamental principle of forensic science – a phrase formulated, ironically, by a man known as the ‘Sherlock Holmes of France’ Dr Edmond Locard. It is that every contact leaves a trace. Given the number of injuries inflicted on du Plantier and the frenzied nature of the attack, it is inconceivable that the killer did not leave a single trace of hair, skin, blood, saliva or clothing at the scene yet gardaí claimed no such materials were ever found. The victim had a clump of hair in her tightly clenched hand, which they said was hers, another dubious assertion. The timeline of events presented by officers is also questionable. They said that du Plantier’s remains were found by her neighbours Shirley Foster and Alfie Lyons (with whom she had a testy relationship) at the bottom of their shared lane at 10.10 AM. Gardaí arrived shortly afterwards at 10.38 AM. Scandalously, it was another 24 hours before pathologist John Harbison arrived to carry out the post mortem. Because the body was exposed to the elements for an entire day and night, a time of death could not be determined. However, Harbison’s autopsy noted that the remains of a recently ingested meal of fruit and nuts were found in du Plantier’s stomach. This is more indicative of breakfast than of an evening meal. An uncovered loaf of bread in the process of being sliced was also found in the kitchen. While it appeared the victim had company the night before, there was nothing to suggest her guest stayed overnight. She had spoken to her husband Daniel before she went to sleep and had agreed to return to France for Christmas following some discussions on the matter.

Drug dealers near Sophie's house
Questions linger as to why du Plantier chose to come to Ireland on her own just five days before Christmas and was undecided as to whether she would return. Her marriage was an unhappy one but the idea that her husband ordered a hitman to kill her is unlikely as he seems to have been more focused on his next acquisition rather than worrying about his wife’s extramarital affairs. It was he who bought the isolated farmhouse for her in 1993 but rarely came with her when she visited. Du Plantier was worried about drug-dealing going on in the nearby countryside and could have made some dangerous enemies as a result, individuals who may have been in the pockets of certain gardaí who had ‘dirt’ on them. Her remains were found at the bottom of the steep laneway running down from her property, her nightwear caught in brambles and a navy dressing gown by her side. This had either been torn off during the struggle or discarded by her to ease her escape. The door of her home was on the latch with the keys on the inside. Her boots were laced up indicating she willingly went outdoors. There was no sign of a disturbance in her home, apart from a splash of blood found on the outside of her front door and believed to be hers. Having been rejected the night before, did her mystery guest return the following morning in a drunken rage, lure her outdoors and chase her to her death?

For more than two decades, An Garda Síochána have proactively targeted Ian Bailey, spending millions in public money in the process but failing to produce a single shred of evidence against him. He was first arrested on suspicion of murder on his birthday in February 1997, and again in January 1998. Two years later, the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) issued a direction that Bailey should not be prosecuted due to the lack of available evidence. Bailey, who was a reporter for the Sunday Tribune and the Daily Star at the time, was the first journalist on the scene on the day of the murder in December 1996. Being British and unlike the rest of the Irish media pack, he was somebody the gardaí were unable to control and, from the beginning, his stories took an independent look at the case. In his work, he asked awkward questions about du Plantier’s complex love life and enquired why officers seemed to be making no progress in the case. This embarrassed and irked gardaí, who were used to being able to manage the media and the message. It also explains their animosity towards him and why they may have wanted to shut him down. From then on, they engaged in a frenzied scheme to paint him as the chief suspect, spreading the word around West Cork that they had their man and falsely claiming his DNA had been found at the scene. After his first arrest in February 1997, Bailey claims he was told by a garda that even if they didn’t manage to pin it on him, he would be found dead sooner or later with a bullet in the back of his head. One of the more deplorable tactics deployed to implicate him in the murder was the gardaí’s use of local drug-dealers to make false statements against him. In 2010, Leo Bolger came before Judge Patrick J Moran in Cork Circuit Court charged with running a massive drug production plant near du Plantier’s home. During the hearing, a garda described his cannabis operation as the “most sophisticated” ever witnessed in West Cork. Bolger (45) had built a large bunker in an overgrown part of his land where he cultivated cannabis plants using advanced hydroponics, heating, watering and lighting systems that revolved around the plants to enhance cultivation. At the time, the street value of the plants was at least €150,000. Bolger pleaded guilty to the offence, which carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life imprisonment. However, the prosecuting garda informed the judge that the defendant had been assisting them with another case. To the consternation of the court and the defence team, Bolger was given a suspended sentence as the sympathetic judge stated he was “perhaps trying to survive in the magnificent peninsula of Dunmanus Bay”. Bolger had in fact been ‘assisting’ gardaí in their case against Bailey. Bolger, who had done odd jobs for du Plantier from time to time, claimed he was present at the property one day in 1993 when he saw her nearest neighbour Alfie Lyons introducing her to Bailey. Remarkably, Bolger only revealed this some 14 years after the murder. Alfie Lyons, also alleged to be a cannabis user, made a similar claim to gardaí about Bailey in the weeks after the murder. Bailey accepts he was present in Lyons’ garden about 18 months before the murder and that du Plantier was pointed out to him in the distance by Lyons, but he has consistently denied ever meeting or being introduced to her.

Pressurized
The most explosive document produced about the du Plantier case in the last two decades is a report written by the office of the DPP in November 2001. It was scathing in its assessment of the Garda investigation and expressed grave reservations about the veracity of statements taken from certain witnesses. It was withheld from Bailey for almost a decade. Among the litany of highly suspect witnesses referred to was Marie Farrell, a Longford-born mother of five who said she was coerced by gardaí into making a statement wrongly identifying Bailey as the man she claimed to have seen at Kealfadda Bridge in the early hours of the morning of the killing. The DPP pointed out that this bridge, which is on a main road about two kilometres from the du Plantier home, was not on the way to or from it in the context of Bailey’s property. Farrell said she had been in a car that night with a man who was not her husband. In 2005, she retracted her statement, saying gardaí had blackmailed her into making a statement against Bailey in return for not telling her husband about the man she was with. She said they had doggedly pursued her to make false allegations against Bailey and provided her with a Garda mobile phone for discussing the case. It is also alleged that in 2006, a senior officer queried as to whether Garda funds could be used to pay for fines, including speeding fines, owed by Farrell. Martin Graham, a destitute ex British soldier, convicted criminal and drug user living in West Cork, was also recruited by gardaí to implicate Bailey by befriending him and trying to ‘soften’ him up. In return, Graham said he was given significant quantities of cannabis in a Garda evidence bag, poitín and cash. Officers also offered to buy him clothes and said du Plantier’s family would be very grateful for a favourable statement that would link Bailey to the murder. [Scarlet: it was Detective Garda Fitzgerald who is alleged to have given cash, clothes and hash to Martin Graham in order to obtain incriminating evidence against Bailey. Martin Graham was destitute, had previous criminal convictions and was a drug abuser. Detective Garda Fitzgerald was also involved in taking a statement from Michael Oliver on 10 February 1998 on which date Oliver was awaiting sentence on a serious harm conviction. The statement flatly contradicts a questionnaire completed by Oliver a year earlier. This questionnaire was not volunteered by the Gardaí – it had to be sought. Martin Graham later told Ian Bailey how he was being used by the Gardaí and that he had received cash, clothes and hash from them as a reward for his assistance. After this, Gardaí suddenly tried to discredit Graham.] 

Senior gardaí put relentless pressure on Graham. He claimed on one occasion Detective Jim Fitzgerald, who also ‘managed’ Marie Farrell, took him to the pub and out for dinner. He said gardaí offered him cannabis to give to Bailey in an attempt to “loosen his tongue”. The DPP concluded that Graham was on the balance of evidence telling the truth about his dealings with the Garda and that their “investigative practices were clearly unsafe to say the least”. Pressure was also put on the State Solicitor for West Cork, Malachy Boohig. He was requested by senior gardaí to ask the then Fianna Fáil Justice Minister John O’Donoghue, a former classmate at UCC, to get the DPP to prosecute Bailey because there was “more than sufficient evidence to do so”. Boohig declined, saying such a step would be entirely inappropriate. He subsequently told the then DPP Eamonn Barnes of the “improper approach” made to him by senior officers. The DPP’s comprehensive report vindicated Ian Bailey and concluded the gardaí had no credible evidence to implicate him in the crime, and that a prosecution was not warranted. It noted that when the gardaí had first started to target Bailey in the days after the murder, he had willingly offered his fingerprints and blood for analysis even though he was under no legal obligation to do so at that point. The DPP also stated that being a crime reporter and aware of the nature of forensic evidence, Bailey would have known that the assailant must have left traces of blood, skin, clothing fibres or hair at the scene so to offer his own DNA at that point tended to indicate his innocence. The DPP’s report found that the arrest and detention of Bailey’s long-term partner Jules Thomas for the murder was unlawful and that she was arrested in order to obtain information which could be used against Bailey. During her interviews, she was wrongly told by gardaí that Bailey had confessed to the murder.

Manipulation
In their panic to have Bailey prosecuted, gardaí spread fear about him throughout the locality and urged the DPP that it was of the “utmost importance” that he be charged immediately as “there is every possibility he will kill again”. They also said witnesses living close to him were in imminent danger and that the only way to prevent a further attack or killing was to take Bailey into custody. Local people were made to feel that if they showed any support for him they would incur the disapproval of the Garda. The force also used the media to spread lies about their ‘suspect’ and many reporters willingly obliged without asking any questions. Hundreds of communications between journalists and gardaí were unearthed during Bailey’s civil action against the State. The press and photographers were tipped off about his arrival at Bandon Garda station after his first arrest. The PR campaign against Bailey was a success as many Irish people formed an impression in their mind that he must have been responsible. Du Plantier’s family have also been subjected to a stream of propaganda about Ian Bailey to the point that they too became convinced he was the killer. The officer in charge of liaising with France in the early stages was disgraced former commissioner Martin Callinan, whose career would eventually be brought to an end by the case, in 2014. The bizarre circumstances leading up to his resignation were fuelled by the discovery in 2013 of tapes of phone conversations unlawfully recorded at Bandon Garda Station, where the du Plantier investigation was headquartered. These included 36 conversations between gardaí and Marie Farrell, and about 18 recordings of conversations with Martin Graham. They only came to light as a result of a discovery order by Ian Bailey’s legal team. In March 2014, on the day the Government revealed the existence of the secret recordings, Callinan resigned with immediate effect. It subsequently emerged that he had sought permission to destroy the tapes but the then Attorney General Máire Whelan ordered him not to. On the day before Callinan’s resignation, she informed the Taoiseach Enda Kenny of her belief that gardaí had been involved in widespread illegal activity. This led to the establishment of the Fennelly Commission. It concluded that gardaí were prepared to “contemplate altering, modifying or suppressing evidence” that undermined their claim that Bailey was responsible. Máire Whelan originally told the Commission that the phone-tapping scandal involved “a complete violation of the law” by gardaí and was a “total disregard” for the rights of citizens. But a spectacular U-turn followed when she changed her story and said she had exaggerated the facts and regretted her trenchant language. In the eyes of a scandal-weary public, what looked like payback time materialised last year when Whelan was appointed as a judge to the Court of Appeal. The development caused uproar in the Dáil. Proper procedures had been ignored and it emerged that she had not even applied for the position. The Government was accused of rank cronyism by the opposition. Fianna Fáil said the law had been “circumvented” and that there would be consequences for their ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with Fine Gael. Their claim of outrage is just one of many that came to nothing more than that. Whelan’s promotion coincided with Leo Varadkar’s first week in office as Taoiseach. The cabinet must have known that the controversial appointment risked the stability of the Government yet they went ahead with it. Was this because Whelan had done them a favour by toning down her original claims about Garda criminality? Could it have been because she became aware of the unlawful measures gardaí had taken to implicate Bailey in a crime he did not commit?

Whelan is not the only member of the legal profession to have benefited from the Garda campaign to frame Bailey. Five judges who ruled in favour of the State against him were also swiftly promoted. The Garda Ombudsman (GSOC) has spent an inexplicable six years investigating Bailey’s complaint of corruption and misconduct to it. GSOC head Judge Mary Ellen Ring has yet to publish her report – one of numerous reprehensible delays involving her office. The authorities in France are forging ahead with their prosecution of Bailey, despite a ruling by the Irish Supreme Court that he should not be extradited. Before the end of the year, a Parisian court will try him in absentia relying on fake Garda ‘evidence’ which was demolished by the DPP here years ago. In a case which makes a farce of both the Irish and French justice systems, the decision of the court is likely to go against Bailey. It will be yet another sorry chapter in this sordid tale of corruption and cover-up which has denied Sophie du Plantier and her family justice while destroying the life of an innocent man and his partner. But it is unlikely to be the final one. It is now dawning on the people of West Cork that they have been duped by the gardaí and the mainstream media about the case for more than two decades. They are starting to ask why the force were so desperate to set up a man who clearly had nothing to do with the crime. Why did the gardaí instil terror throughout Cork about him? Why did they threaten so many gullible witnesses to make statements against him? Why did they claim not to find DNA belonging to the real suspect when he must have left a trace? Why did they ‘lose’ so much evidence, including a large iron gate? Many people are reaching the same conclusion: that it must have been done to shield the real killer who was clearly somebody they needed to protect." 



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Also read this excellent blog post, highlighting exactly what Ian Baily did and didn't tell gardai in the official investigations (and what they invented themselves, subsequently). An example:
"In a report submitted to this Office on 26 February 1997 for the purpose of a consultation the Gardaí stated the following:

1. It is of the utmost importance that Bailey be charged immediately with this murder as there is every possibility that he will kill again.
2. It is reasonable to suggest that witnesses living close to him are in imminent danger of attack.
3. The only way to prevent a further attack or killing is to take Bailey into custody on a charge of murder and this point cannot be over-stressed.

It is understood that the Gardaí issued similar warnings about Bailey to members of the community. In the report of Detective Inspector Liam Hogan submitted to this Office on 7 June 2001 the concern expressed by Paul O’Colmain that he was being associated by the Gardaí with Ian Bailey is noted and that he had explained to the Gardaí that over the previous six months he had tried to distance himself and his family from Ian Bailey and Jules Thomas. It had been highlighted in the original investigation file that Paul and Marie O’Colmain were very closely aligned with Ian Bailey and Jules Thomas. This alignment was clearly shattered as is demonstrated by the approach to Inspector Walsh on 28 September 2000 by Helen Hoare, Solicitor, on behalf of Paul O’Colmain who explained that her client had been in contact with her to express his concern that the Gardaí were associating him with Ian Bailey. By inference, it seems that the O’Colmains are afraid that if they align themselves with Ian Bailey on any matter they will incur the disapproval of the Gardaí. At Page 105 of Inspector Hogan’s report it is stated that a small quantity of cannabis was found by the Gardaí in the O’Colmain house and a son of the O’Colmain’s is known to have a serious drug problem. It might, for this reason, be thought that the unfortunate O’Colmains under such circumstances are most anxious to ingratiate themselves with the Gardaí and as such are witnesses of very little weight. [The distressed Paul O’Colmain may have been anxious to please the Gardaí in view of the drug difficulties relating to his son.] P.164 and 165 of the initial Garda report provide evidence of the hysteria in relation to Bailey which existed following his portrayal as a ruthless and unrestrained killer. On the 20 February 1997 Bill Fuller, his partner and child had gone to the causeway at Kealfadda Bridge in order to pursue his own investigation of the murder. He was with his wife and child. He saw a man whom he thought to be Bailey and this caused them to run away in blind panic believing the man had seen them. They ran a considerable distance until they reached Toormore Beach where they ran along a lane way which led out onto the roadway to Goleen. Screaming and roaring they ran in front of the first car to approach them. It was being driven by a Ms. Breda O’Reilly. Her initial reaction was not to stop, but when she saw that Bill Fuller was carrying a three-year-old child under his arm she thought the child was sick. When Ms. O’Reilly lowered the car window both Bill and Kerri Fuller screamed at her that the murderer Ian Bailey was down the road, pointing towards Kealfadda Bridge. Ms. O’Reilly drove them directly to Goleen where Ms. O’Reilly contacted the Gardaí. In her statement Ms. O’Reilly describes the terrible state of shock and fear that the Fullers were in and she stated that they feared for their own safety. It transpires that a local farmer was working near their van that day and they had mistaken him for Ian Bailey in their high state of apprehension. On the same date Bill Fuller made a statement. In the context of the above it carries no incriminating weight. On 29 September 1998 Garda Kevin Kelleher advised that D/Garda Leahy was the sole officer assigned to dealing with Bill Fuller. Superintendent Twomey confirmed this to be the case. Such an investigative practice is unsafe. On 28 September 1998 Malachy Boohig, State Solicitor phoned to say that Bill Fuller had made a further statement which incriminated Bailey. [..] There has been a consistent flow of information to the media in relation to the investigation into the killing of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier. Once Ian Bailey was believed by the public particularly in the local area to be responsible for the murder the fear thereby engendered was bound to create a climate in which witnesses became suggestible. On 24 December 1998 the Irish Independent under the headline “Sophie’s Murderer Will Kill Again”, published a report stating that “the savage killer of French woman Sophie Toscan Du Plantier will murder again unless West Cork locals help Gardaí bring him to justice, her distraught family warned yesterday (23 December 1998)”.










During the court case against Ian Bailey, the Irish Times reported that Ian Bailey had photos of a badly beaten woman developed by a local photographer

(SourceCork resident being tried in absentia in Paris for Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s 1996 murder, Wed, May 29, 2019, 09:18 Updated: Wed, May 29, 2019.

"A man who ran a photograph developing business in west Cork identified Ian Bailey as the person who came to him more than three years after the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier and asked him to develop a roll of film which showed her badly beaten body. Patrick Lowney, who died in 2016, told gardaí that a man he later identified as Mr Bailey came to his home in Clonakilty in May 2000 after phoning to ask if he developed photographs. Mr Lowney’s statement, made to Det Garda John Moore in November 2000, was read into evidence by Judge Frederic Aline at the Cours d’Assises in Paris during the trial in absentia of Mr Bailey (62) for the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier (39) at Toormore in Cork in December 1996. Mr Lowney told gardaí he confirmed to the caller that he did develop film and the man then asked would he be prepared to develop a roll of film discreetly. When he confirmed that he would do so, the man said he would call shortly. The man arrived some 45 minutes later and produced a 36-shot roll of film and they went into the dark room together. Mr Lowney said the man remained there as he developed the roll of film, which included about seven or eight family type photos at the start. “After that I noticed that the remainder of the shots were of a woman lying on the ground,” said Mr Lowney. He said she appeared to be on stony ground in front of a closed gate on a laneway leading into a farmer’s yard while there was a growth of briars and a stone wall to the side. Mr Lowney said the shots seemed to be taken at night given how the light was projected and the woman on the ground appeared to be fully clothed. Some of the shots seemed to be taken right above the woman’s body as the tips of the photographer’s shoes were showing in some pictures, he added. He said the man became uneasy when he started examining the shots and he began to take the shots from him before they were fully dry. Mr Lowney explained to him that the pictures needed to be left to dry in the dark room. He said the man’s demeanour changed when he began to examine the shots, which showed an item of clothing spread or caught on the gate. Mr Lowney said the man left once the negatives were dry, telling him he might see him again to save the pictures to a disc. 

Mr Lowney said he met Det Sgt Gerry McCarthy five months later and the Gardaí showed him photographs of various men. He identified the man who called to him with the roll of film as Mr Bailey. He later travelled with Det Sgt McCarthy and Det Garda John Moore to Ms Toscan du Plantier’s home and examined the entrance, where her body had been found on the morning of December 23rd, 1996. “I am satisfied that having looked at the location, this was a similar location as I had developed (pictures of) for Ian Bailey,” he said, adding that the only difference was that the briars at the side of the road were not as high as in the photos. Mr Bailey, who is not legally represented at the Cours d’Assises, has repeatedly denied having any involvement in the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier or that he ever made any admissions in relation to her death. Two witnesses in a 2003 libel action taken by him testified that Mr Bailey had contacted them to offer photographs of Ms Toscan du Plantier at the crime scene. However, Mr Bailey denied this and said he had offered them photographs of Ms Toscan du Plantier as he did not learn of her death until 1.40 PM on December 23rd, 1996 by which time gardaí had sealed off the crime scene - meaning he could not have provided scene shots. The case continues."










On May 31st 2019, Ian Bailey, who was tried in absentia by a French court, was found guilty of murdering Sophie and sentenced to 25 years in prison

(Source) May 31 2019 "Ian Bailey found guilty of the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier by French court. The court handed down a sentence of 25 years for murder. The court says it will issue a new warrant for Mr Bailey’s arrest. The former journalist has consistently denied all charges. His lawyer dismisses the proceedings in Paris as a 'farce'.
A COURT in France has found Ian Bailey guilty of killing French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork in 1996. The court handed down a sentence of 25 years and says it will issue a new warrant for Mr Bailey’s arrest. Presiding judge Frédérique Aline said “there is sufficient evidence” to convict Mr Bailey (62), despite the fact that he wasn’t prosecuted via the Irish courts. Mr Bailey, a former journalist, has consistently denied the charges. After deliberating for around five hours, presiding judge Frédérique Aline and two other judges returned the verdict, recapping the details of what she described as an “extremely violent” murder. [French prosecutors consider it proven that Sophie Toscan du Plantier was chased to death by Ian Bailey. Authorities further allege that the murder was entirely spontaneous and occurred after the killer called unexpectedly to the door of Ms Toscan du Plantier late at night and row broke out between them, Scarlet Nat]. She said that due to the violence of the crime, it was “undeniable” that Ms du Plantier had been killed with “homicidal intent”. Speaking on RTE Radio One, Mr Buttimer said he was not surprised by the verdict. “I am not surprised, I predicted this would be a rubber-stamping exercise.” The lawyer went on to say this was a "gross miscarriage of justice." "They will seek the removal of the innocent Mr Bailey, to serve a sentence for a crime that he did not commit," he added. Mr Buttimer pointed out that in 2012, the Irish Supreme Court decided that Mr Bailey could not be extradited for the crime “for which the French have now put him on trial, so called trial, and found him guilty.” The lawyer said that Mr Bailey has always been in jeopardy of being arrested if he left the country ever since the European Arrest warrant was applied for in 2008. “In fact, he’s been protected by Ireland… its always been the case that he’s been a prisoner since 2008." “Had he gone back to his mother’s funeral for example in and around 2011… he would have been arrested... because of the European Arrest Warrant, for his removal to France for some kind of criminal prosecution investigation then, would have caused that triggering effect.” The charges against Mr Bailey were brought by the French courts in July 2016, when a second request for extradition was made by French authorities. It was rejected by the Irish courts. Most of Ms du Plantier’s family were there to hear the verdict, though her elderly mother did not attend Friday. She had been in court the preceding three days. On Thursday her son, brother, aunt and uncle made emotional please for justice. Her son, Pierre-Louise Baudey Vignaud spoke of the “insulting” way his mother was portrayed in the press at the time of the murder. French Public Prosecutor Jean-Pierre Bonthoux said the verdict should be a “first step in a process” that should eventually lead to Mr Bailey being tried in person, and a new warrant issued for his arrest. “I hope one day to see Mr Bailey in this court, and to see his lawyers defend him,” Bonthoux told the Paris criminal court on Friday morning. Mr Bonthoux Mr Bailey’s absence - and that of his legal team - was a form of “cowardice”, and blasted him for using the media to mount his defence. “It would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic,” Mr Bonthoux said. “Mr Bailey is making fun of us.” Mr Bailey was tried in absentia for the murder of Ms du Plantier, who was beaten to death with a heavy object - either a flat stone or a breeze block, police believe - on the night of 22-23 December 1996. She had been staying alone at her remote holiday home in Toormore, near Schull, Co. Cork, and police believe she answered the door to her attacker, before trying to flee the house. Her body was found a small distance away, near the side of a road."








Villagemagazine added more details to the conviction, but seems very critical of the French investigation

(Source) "After a four-day trial and deliberating for five hours a panel of three judges sentenced Bailey to 25 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay a total of 1225,000 in compensation, 1110,000 of which is to go to Toscan du Plantier’s family. Bailey, who has always denied his involvement in the murder of the French woman, was tried in absentia. A peculiar aspect of French law allows the authorities there to prosecute people suspected of crimes against French citizens that were carried out abroad. The French had therefore tried twice before to have him extradited to stand trial. In both cases the Irish courts ruled against his extradition, with the High Court ruling in 2017 that the demand for extradition was an “abuse of process”. Nonetheless, the French went ahead and held a trial with Bailey’s absence noted. But Bailey was not the only person absent from the trial. Irish witnesses received a letter asking them to appear at the trial only two weeks before it began. In some cases they were given as little as one week’s notice. As a result, only three witnesses gave evidence, one of whom, Helan Callanan, had a statement read out on her behalf.

Callanan, one-time editor of the Sunday Tribune, wrote in her statement that Bailey had confessed to her that he murdered Toscan du Plantier in order to “to resurrect my career”. 

And it includes the apparent conversation between Bailey and Fuller. The DPP noted that Fuller’s statement came at a time when the gardaí’s actions were “bound to create a climate in which witnesses became suggestible”. At the time he was freelancing for, and wrote about the case for, the paper. Of the two other witnesses, Amanda Reed gave evidence on behalf of her son Malachi. As a 14-year-old he had received a lift home from Bailey on 4 February 1997, less than two months after Toscan du Plantier’s death. He claimed that Bailey said to him “I bashed her f**king brains in”. His mother related this to the French court. Back on the evening of 4 February 1997 Malachi arrived home, with no apparent concerns, having being dropped off by Bailey. The next day gardaí visited Malachi in school. There they questioned him about his journey with the journalist. And it was after he arrived home from school in an “agitated” state that he informed his mother what Bailey allegedly told him. The DPP report discusses the statement made by Malachi Reed. It noted that it was “abundantly clear that Malachi Reed was not upset by Ian Bailey” after the latter had dropped him home. In fact, the DPP pointed out that it was after a conversation with a Gardaí the following day that “he became upset and turned a conversation which had not apparently up until then alarmed him into something sinister”. Then there were Richie and Rosie Shelley, who have testified that Ian Bailey broke down and said to them that he "went too far", which they took to be an admission of killing. [Scarlet: Ian Bailey has stated that this comment was taken out of context, and what he actually told Malachi, in response to the question how he was doing, was that "things were going well, until people started saying that I had gone up the hill and bashed her brains out" - Ian Bailey could very well have gotten himself in a lot of hot water over his British upper class quirk of using black humour, where the other is supposed to know or understand that the exact opposite is true. Especially if the tone used it sarcastic]. 

Bill Fuller, the third witness, told the court that Bailey had confessed to him. Fuller stated that Bailey, speaking in the second person, said “It’s you who killed her”. Bill Fuller told French police he believed Mr Bailey was admitting to killing Ms Toscan du Plantier when he told “you went up there, you killed Sophie” after talking about seeing and fancying her in Spar in Schull as he had a habit of referring to himself in the second person. Bailey denies that this conversation ever took place. But these evidential issues with the trial pale in comparison to the French prosecution’s dismissal of the Irish Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and its opinion of the murder. The DPP file about the case was leaked a number of years ago and makes for astounding reading. It contains a litany of concerns with how the murder was investigated. These embrace wide-ranging issues such as witnesses who lacked both credibility and consistency being taken at face value and members of the gardaí stonewalling the DPP itself. It’s pointed out at the start of the report that there is “No forensic evidence linking Ian Bailey to the scene”. He had volunteered blood, hair, and fingerprint samples to the gardaí. This was in spite of the fact that, as the DPP highlights, in his former profession as a crime reporter in the UK Bailey“was aware of the nature of forensic evidence” and that it could comprehensively incriminate the guilty. The trial in France introduced no new forensic evidence to link him to the scene and the murder. The evidence of Marie Farrell, the witness who initially claimed she saw Bailey walking late from the direction of Toscan du Plantier’s home on the night of her murder, was described by the DPP as being unreliable. Yet these initial statements by Farrell, which she retracted years later, were accepted by the French. As for Bailey’s apparent admissions of guilt, the DPP found that they “appear to be sarcastic responses to questions. This includes his comments to Callanan about trying to “resurrect” his career. And then there’s the Garda’s arrest of Bailey’s partner, Jules Thomas. She was arrested for the Toscan du Plantier murder on 10 February 1997. But the arrest appeared to the DPP to be illegal. This was because it discovered she was asked no questions about her involvement in the murder. The DPP wrote that her “questioning indicates that she was arrested to obtain information which could be used against Bailey”. And given this, “her arrest and detention was unlawful”.

But the French ignoring of the report means that none of this was taken into consideration. It means that a trial was held using evidence that was roundly dismissed by the DPP; evidence which resulted in the DPP clearly stating in unequivocal terms that “A prosecution against Bailey is not warranted by the evidence”. Frank Buttimer, Bailey’s solicitor, is explicit in his condemnation of the French trial, or “so-called trial” as he refers to it. Although not present in France, based on the information he’s seen he says what took place there “was not in any way a trial that we in a common law jurisdiction would understand a trial to be”. He said that what actually happened was a “rubber-stamping exercise” and nothing more. And this was done to “justify the predetermination of guilt with no regard to the standards of proof” that are usually required in a trial. He also points out that while pursuing this course the French authorities have made light of the “DPP’s office and its independence and its functions”. As for Bailey, Buttimer said that he’s in a “nightmarish” scenario due to being stuck in limbo; innocent in Ireland but guilty in France. Reactions to the verdict in West Cork have been varied. Many are happy with the result, believing that Bailey was guilty long before the trial began. The French verdict simply vindicates their beliefs. But there are others who are not so convinced. They think that regardless of Bailey’s guilt or innocence the French trial was a fiasco which in no way approached justice. One told Village that the gardaí investigating the murder in 1996 and 1997 “were so incompetent that any chances of getting someone went out the window”. And therefore, they had “mixed” feelings about the trial and subsequent verdict. The family of the murdered Frenchwoman are happy with the result, however. As the verdict was read out they embraced. Her son, Pierre-Louis Baudey-Vignaud, later said the verdict “is a victory for justice”. And he called on the Irish government to extradite Bailey. Bertrand Bouniol, the brother of the victim, described it as “an important step”. In the meantime Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas continue to live in West Cork while he awaits another extradition request. And the family of Sophie Toscan du Plantier continue their fight for justice after 22 years."

Scarlet: One important detail about Malachi Reed: Malachi Reed’s statement was made on 6 February 1997. He stated that on 4 February 1997 that Bailey gave him a lift home and said to him “I went up there with a rock one night and bashed her fucking brains in”. He then said he did it to get a story for the newspapers. Malachi Reed said that he got a shock when he heard what Ian had said and that he got a cold shiver. However, this is not consistent with the recollection of his mother, Amanda, who stated that: “I remember Tuesday the 4th February 1997 at 9 p.m. Malachi arrived home. He told me he had got a spin home from Ian Bailey. Malachi seemed okay and was in good form. On the following day the 5th February 1997 Malachi arrived home at about 6:00 p.m. I noticed he was agitated and I wondered why. I questioned him and he told me that Gda. Kevin Kelleher had called to school that day and was asking questions about Ian Bailey and his movements on the previous night. Malachi then said he hadn’t told the Guard everything and he told me that Ian had been drinking on the Tuesday night and that he had said to him that he had smashed her brains in with a rock or stone. At this stage Malachi was upset and I think that it was only then that the impact of what Ian Bailey had said to him hit him”. -  It has to be noted here that Malachi Reed was not upset by Ian Bailey on 4 February 1997, however, following his conversation with Gda. Kelleher he did become upset about a conversation which had up until then not alarmed him, seemingly.







And the Guardian were earlier equally critical of the attacks on Ian Bailey

(Source) November 11th, 2018. The gardaí gets deserved criticism in this article however. No comments allowed under this article, unfortunately..  [...] "He was released without charge, but the police remained sceptical and have regarded him ever since as the “chief suspect”, making no serious attempt to seek anyone else. He was rearrested two years later, in company with his partner, Jules Thomas, and, once again, was released without charge, as was she. Bailey’s public persona suffered a severe reverse when it was revealed he had twice assaulted Thomas, leading to her being hospitalised on one occasion. She refused to press charges, but it helped feed hostility. Now, in the latest twist, Bailey is to be tried for murder in France in absentia after fighting off an extradition warrant. He accepts he will be found guilty because he cannot offer a defence.

Yet the French authorities appear to have no more information than that obtained by the gardaí in what must rank as one of the most incompetent murder investigations of all time. 

According to the pathologist’s report, the attack was savage. The slightly built du Plantier, a 39-year-old producer of French TV arts programmes, was struck by a rock and a concrete block. Even so, she had put up a fight, sustaining more than 50 injuries in the bloody struggle. The crime scene should have yielded all sorts of clues. But officers walked all over the house and the laneway, thereby negating the collection of forensic evidence. They failed to follow up with sufficient speed or determination a witness’s sighting of a blue car which he said had overtaken him at speed on the road passing du Plantier’s cottage. Some objects, such as a wine bottle, went missing after being removed by police. They even managed to lose the five-bar gate to her property, which was spattered with blood. While it’s true to say that murder is so rare in West Cork no one can recall any instance within living memory, that’s no excuse for the inept handling of such a major case.

Nor does it explain why gardaí became so convinced that Bailey was responsible. His attempts to prove his innocence make for an extraordinary narrative.

He has since obtained a master’s degree in law at University College Cork. He sued eight newspapers for libel, winning some and settling others out of court. Then he took the unprecedented step of suing the Irish state for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and being the victim of a conspiracy to frame him. Following a 64-day Dublin high court hearing, he lost the case and then the appeal. After his lawyer had lobbied the justice minister, the director of public prosecutions reviewed the police investigation and produced a report vindicating Bailey and, by implication, damning the gardaí. It is impossible to read it without wondering why Bailey was arrested and why no action was taken against some of the officers for their oversights and heavy handedness. Now 62, Bailey lives on the margins. He runs a stall selling plants in Skibbereen and he sells pizzas in Schull. Last year, he self-published a book of his poetry. Although no longer working as a journalist, he was attracted to the area by the coterie of Fleet Street newspaper people who lighted upon West Cork in the 1970s, spending summers at Crookhaven. They included the Daily Mail’s Vincent Mulchrone. Vincent’s son, a former Daily Mirror reporter, lives in West Cork, and has done some freelance work which necessitated interviewing Bailey. He pointed me to an article in an Irish current affairs magazine, Village, which contends that

Du Plantier’s killer might have been a police officer who has since died. But the evidence for that is circumstantial and no stronger than that against Bailey, who refuses to be cowed. 

“He seems to get off on it,” said my barman friend to the accompaniment of nods from drinkers. “We think he likes being the centre of attention. Whenever things get quiet he goes after more publicity.” But Bailey, a handsome man back in 1996, now looks drawn and world-weary. And his bursts of laughter as he discusses his predicament sound hollow. It is hard not to conclude that this is an instance where a journalist got too close, far too close for his own good, to the story."









However: despite the French conviction, no moves have been made since in/by Ireland to extradite Ian Bailey to France, to sit out his jail time...

(Source) "The French judiciary issued a warrant for the extradition of Ian Bailey for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier almost three months ago – but it has yet to be executed by the Irish authorities. The French issued the warrant on June 21, but there has been no move by the authorities here to arrest the 62-year-old former journalist. A spokesman for the French judiciary said this weekend: ‘The European Arrest Warrant was issued by the French judicial authorities on 21 June 2019. It is now up to the Irish authorities to execute it.’ The French judiciary issued a warrant for the extradition of Ian Bailey for the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier almost three months ago. However, a spokesman for Minister Charlie Flanagan’s Department of Justice declined to comment on the status of the extradition warrant, saying: ‘On the specifics you asked about, unfortunately we are unable to comment on individual cases.’ Well-placed security sources told this weekend that gardai have not been contacted about the execution of the extradition warrant. A senior security source added: ‘There might be something going on behind the scenes in terms of the validity of the warrant or some other unknown matter that is a legal issue between the two nations. ‘But gardai have not been consulted yet. This is a very high profile case. This has a potential to cause a diplomatic incident between the two nations.’ The French High Court ordered that a new European arrest warrant be issued. The process is that the extradition warrant is sent to the Department of Justice, who asserts is validly before sending it to the Garda Extradition Unit. It is the role of this unit to then move to arrest Mr Bailey and bring him before the High Court as part of the initial extradition proceedings. From his home in Schull, west Cork, Mr Bailey 
said at the time: I’m anticipating my third arrest, this week. I’m stoic, I’m ready. I have an overnight bag ready.’ The French court sentenced Mr Bailey to 25 years in prison following the non-jury trial. However, Alain Spilliaert, lawyer for the Ms Toscan du Plantier’s family, later confirmed that if the extradition is successful, Mr Bailey will still have to stand trial in France. Mr Spilliaert said: ‘While he has been sentenced to 25 years in absentia, it does not mean he can simply be jailed here if and when he is extradited. There must be another trial with him present.’ Should his extradition proceed, it is expected Mr Bailey will appeal his extradition to the Supreme Court, and the entire process could take many months. Mr Bailey was twice previously arrested on a European arrest warrant issued by the French justice system and brought before the High Court on both occasions. [..] Mr Bailey has consistently denied any involvement in Ms Toscan du Plantier’s killing and has also denied ever making any admissions that he killed her at her west Cork holiday home."







June 14th, 2021 - Netflix will focus on Sophie's murder in a new series, as well as a Sky crime with a miniseries

‘I truly believe Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder can be solved’
June 14th, 2021
By Siophan Cronin - article

"British author Nick Foster’s interest in the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier is a labour of love, primarily driven by the distress he saw on her father’s face in a French court, he tells Siobhán Cronin. ANYONE criticising the evidence in the Gardaí file on the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier is criticising the people of West Cork, true crime author Nick Foster has told The Southern Star.The British author has just published a book on the West Cork murder, and also worked on the five-episode Sky Crime mini series Murder at the Cottage, which airs this Sunday, June 20th.

Foster said that, in the course of his interviews with Ian Bailey for his book, the Schull resident – who was convicted (in his absence) of the murder by a French court in 2019 – told him the evidence in the Gardaí file prepared after the murder was ‘corrupt’. ‘If I was from West Cork then I would be really annoyed by that comment, because a large part of the file was supplied by local people,’ Foster said. ‘If the file is corrupt, then those people are corrupt, because most of it is the testimony of ordinary people, so that comment is a terrible insult to them.’ The gardaí carried out door-to-door enquiries which were carried out ‘in an exemplary way, he believes, ‘and people trusted the guards’. ‘The problem is they jumped on the bandwagon with Miss Farrell’s name, to the exclusion of other testimony,’ he said, referring to witness Marie Farrell who did a u-turn on her evidence and, at one point, bizarrely left the witness stand and walked out of the courtrom when she was put under pressure by the judge in Bailey’s 2014 legal action against the State. Foster was given the Gardaí file by Ian Bailey to examine for his book, and recently challenged Bailey to a TV debate on its contents, which Bailey declined.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a French filmmaker, was brutally murdered at her Toormore holiday home, between Schull and Goleen, two days before Christmas, in 1996. Nobody has ever been charged with her murder in Ireland, although Bailey was arrested twice. The murder has caught the imagination of the public, and was the subject of a hugely popular 2018 podcast simply called West Cork on the Amazon platform Audible. The podcast is now to be made into a TV mini series by the producers behind the award-winning Chernobyl series. And there are no less than two more screen productions on the way – both likely to surface in the next few weeks. Netflix has commissioned a three-part series entitled Sophie: A Murder in West Cork which is due to be shown later this month and Irish director Jim Sheridan’s Murder at the Cottage is debuting on Sky Crime this Sunday night at 9 PM (June 20th), with all five episodes available to watch on Sky boxsets from that date.

Nick Foster worked on Sheridan’s documentary alongside well known Irish investigative reporter Donal MacIntyre.  At one point during Bailey’s trial in France, Sophie’s lawyers made reference to members of the press ‘texting’ Bailey in Ireland, to see his reaction. While Foster was in court, and admitted Bailey was being filmed back in Ireland during the trial, as part of the documentary, he said he wasn’t texting Bailey from court, but was making notes on his phone to put to him when he called him later. The makers of Murder at the Cottage spent a considerable amount of time with Bailey and his now ex-partner Jules Thomas, and even gave Bailey a device to record himself. Foster, who has seen the final product, says the documentary is a wonderful piece of film-making and storytelling and he thinks anyone following the case up to now will be fascinated by it. ‘It is very revealing – of many people in it,’ he said. Since the film was finished, Foster said he has been made aware of a piece of new evidence that could prove vital in bringing closure to the crime, which as yet remains unsolved. He said he hopes the person who has the information will see the value in bringing it to the gardaí. ‘I do believe this crime can be solved,’ he told The Southern Star, adding that nobody thought the Madeleine McCann murder would ever be solved, but now it seems it may well be. ‘Over time, people’s allegiances change, so you never know, but I do feel this crime could be solved.’

Foster himself appears to be almost obsessed with the crime and says he cannot rest while he knows the murderer is still at large. He was particularly moved by the sight of Sophie’s parents Marguerite and George Bouniol in court and the obvious distress they are still suffering. ‘I knew it was a very big case in Ireland and in France but I think the last thing this case needs is for a British guy coming in and telling the DPP or France what to do,’ he explained. ‘I wanted it to stand as a story in its own right, so it is kind of a story in three acts. I thought this could’ve been the story of a victim of corruption, or he could’ve been the murderer. I have been humbled by the messages I have got, many of them I believe to be from Co Cork,’ he added. He believes Sophie’s death ‘was an outrageous act of misogyny. She was a woman who felt safe in her home, and didn’t deserve to die,’ he said. ‘And her parents haven’t seen the killer doing even five minutes in jail.’ He says there has a been a lot of negative comment about the French trial and the conviction of Bailey in his absence. ‘There seems to be this irrational feeling that the French system is inferior to the British and the Irish system, because of the use of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ here. But the French system is actually the norm in Europe, and it is the Irish and British systems which are exceptional,’ he said. ‘The European courts all have a similar standard of proof.’ And he believes a lot of the French case went unreported here, because it was carried out in French, and a lot of the more subtle details were lost in translation. Some parts of the evidence were even incorrectly reported, he said, because of poor interpretation of the language. He said he truly believes it is now just a matter of someone coming forward to say ‘I saw this’, or ‘This person asked me to do this’ and the case could take on a new turn again.

Although Foster’s book Murder at Roaringwater, which has been in the Irish top 10  since its release, spent a lot of time being ‘lawyered’, he says he is very happy with the final product, and very grateful to his publishers for not getting cold feet on the very sensitive subject matter. ‘I am absolutely grateful to my publishers and their belief in this book. I was able to get 100% of what I wrote in, and not 95%. But everything in it has come from taped interviews or notes, and is all completely backed up.’ He said he inserted an element into his book which only the murderer will recognise and he believes it will shake them to the core when they spot it. ‘It will jump out at them and I guarantee you, they are going to feel very sick.’ At the end of the day, Foster said he was driven to tell this story by what he saw in the courtroom in France. ‘Sophie’s parents have been through so much. My drive is really them. I’ve never even spoken to them, but seeing them there at the trial was enough. The tears on her father’s face in the courtroom … I will never forget that. This book is the least I can do.’ - Sky's 5-part mini series on the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier is excellent but they keep blocking and deleting anyone's attempt to upload their series, anywhere. But HERE you can watch part 1 of Netflix' 3-part series on the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier (password: koudekaas)
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-Louise O'Neil, author of 'After the Silence', wrote the following about these upcoming series: 
"Sheridan’s Sky film focuses on how the murder accusation — which Bailey has always denied — has ruined not only his life but also that of his partner, Jules Thomas. It seems more of an investigation into what they see as a miscarriage of justice by the Irish State. Again, while watching footage of Bailey serenading Thomas at her 70th birthday party, I could understand why the Toscan du Plantier family requested that all the interviews they had given for the documentary be scrubbed. While the West Cork podcast forced the listener to interrogate their preconceived ideas, these documentaries will simply confirm whatever you already believeThat said, for my money Netflix’s "Sophie: A Murder in West Cork" is the superior offering. Bailey is notoriously larger than life and a difficult voice to contain, either in film or in audio, but Dower makes a valiant effort to keep the man where he should be: as a supporting character. Sophie’s brother Bertrand Bouniol observes that while his sister is at the centre of the story, many people have forgotten who she really was. She has become a beautiful face haunting our newspapers, flattened and removed of all nuance. Sophie: A Murder in West Cork shows more than we have seen of her previously, revealing the French woman’s gothic tastes, her plans for a series of films on bodily fluids such as breast milk, semen and blood.' We see her family: her elderly father, in tears, her son, determined to bring the man he believes responsible for his mother’s death to justice. In the process, Sophie shimmers into view, a three-dimensional human being once more rather than a mere spectre. Both documentaries lean into the breathtaking beauty of the area — at some points, you could be watching a Bord Fáilte ad — and the mix of people who call west Cork home, from the ‘crusties’ to the artists, and the natives whose roots run so deep in this soil. - Sheridan’s Murder at the Cottage is explicit about its creator’s credentials, opening with a reminder of how many Oscars nominations he has received. But to me, his vast experience in fiction may have been working against him. In the first few minutes, he remarks that Schull isn’t far from where Michael Collins was killed, talking about the “devil in the hills”. There is a flash of a headstone as Sheridan’s gravelly voiceover — his is one of the few Irish voices not subtitled, my mother wryly noticed — declares that Sophie may be buried in France but “her spirit lives on in Ireland”. While there are faces here that we did not see in the Netflix documentary — namely Jules Thomas and Marie Farrell, the woman who withdrew her evidence placing Bailey near the scene of the crime — I preferred the less narrator-led style of Sophie: A Murder in West Cork. I don’t know if I needed to see Sheridan musing on the ethics of showing photos of the victim’s dead body. In the end, he used them and it felt gratuitous; I was relieved to see the Netflix documentary did not follow suit. It was an interesting to watch both these documentaries within 24 hours. What struck me was how malleable the truth can be in the retelling of it. Both films have the same source material; neither brings anything new to the table. And yet, in the choices the documentary-makers made, the elements of the case they elected to emphasise and those they ignored, it was startling to see how the same story could be told in two different ways, pointing to two different conclusions. Sophie, a woman who believed in the power of storytelling, would probably appreciate that. The tragedy is this is her story and hers is the voice we will never hear."



My views
Scarlet: I have to disagree with the above reviewer. I viewed both series by now and did really appreciated the Sky documentary 'Murder at the cottage. The search for justice for Sophie', because it does include the story of Ian Bailey himself. Whereas Netflix focuses much more on Sophie's family and on presenting Ian Bailey as the killer. Without giving him as much airtime to defend himself and also without asking some of the most critical questions that can be asked in his defense. Wanting the perpetrator caught is one thing, but it should not become a witch hunt and I missed some more critical journalism of Netflix, contemplating more extensively the possibility that Ian Bailey may in fact be innocent. I am also not impressed personally with netflix' 3-part long flirting and preoccupation with Marie Farrell's untruthful early testimonies against Ian (which were shamefully also used in the French trial, despite having been retracted later by Marie, who seems an allround unreliable character throughout this case).. Nor with Netflixes persistent emphasis on Ian's character and rumours. They are really manipulating their audience with this, I feel. The only thing that counts is the actual hard evidence, and in the end this is not a trial by biased journalists. Not even Baileys defense attorneys were consulted, for some balance and the gardaí's absolute case blunders, which now prevent this case from being solved with modern day DNA testing techniques, were also ignored or shrugged off.

And I know this may sound harsh, but I was also slightly disappointed in the stance of Sophie's family. They basically pressurized Netflix ánd Sky into leaving out Ian Bailey's chance to defend himself. Netflix bowed to the pressure, Sky didn't. Netflix could therefore use all their interviews, and Jim Sheridan couldn't. Don't get me wrong, I understand a bit about the grief of losing a loved one. I lost my own sister when she was in her early twenties. But Mr. Bailey has not been undeniably tied to this murder; his DNA or fingerprints were not found at the crime scene and not even under Sophie's fingernails (the ones making all those supposed scratches on his arms and hands... How does that work without leaving some skin cells below the nails?). I was disappointed with the manner in which her family would not even allow Bailey to really do his say in the documentaries, or else they would withdraw their cooperation. They ultimately only have their own suspicions to go on, not hard evidence. So I prefer the Sky series, which did give Bailey the opportunity to tell his side of the story as well. Sky's series is also less sentimental in tone. As this journalist aptly concluded: "Although Bailey features prominently in the Sky production, Sheridan should be praised for an objective presentation of the case against the former journalist. As for the Netflix ‘documentary’ which Bailey himself has described as ‘a piece of self-serving, demonising propaganda’, almost nothing that doesn’t fit with the ‘Bailey did it’ angle features." But ultimately it is very interesting for viewers with a long breathe to see both documentary makers on opposite sides of the fence (because neither of them seem neutral to me), making different programs about this case.





Regarding the Netflix series
The Guardian wrote: “People were fascinated. Partly because Sophie was really beautiful. But beautiful women in stories always have to be very simple.” People were flabbergasted that she, a mother, would be there by herself so late in December.” The location was so remote, the community so tight-knit, that such violence seemed incongruous. It was expected there would be a swift resolution. In a place where you couldn’t buy a new cardigan without everyone knowing about it, how would anyone get away with murder? Toscan du Plantier was a complicated person – gothic in her sensibilities, dark and witty in her interests, as described by her cousin Frédéric Gazeau, an associate producer on the documentary. She was a film-maker herself and was talking to friends before she was killed about starting a project on bodily fluids: breast milk, semen, blood. Gazeau, when he became involved in the film, had “only three requests. My wish was to give to Sophie a real place in the story, to have a balanced treatment between the main suspect and the victim. The second request was not to show the body of Sophie. I didn’t want to be involved in a voyeuristic project. The third was to treat the story with dignity and humanity – to talk about emotions rather than evidence.” - The executive producer is Simon Chinn, the double-Oscar-winning documentary producer behind Man on Wire and My Scientology Movie, describes the process of humanising the story. “It’s such a visual story. The landscape becomes a character – it sounds like a cliche but it really does.” That sheds its own light on Sophie’s idiosyncrasy: “The view from her window in Toormore [an outcrop six miles west of Schull] is incredibly stark, it is just so isolated. You would have to be someone who was part of that landscape to love it there.” Fundamental to rebuilding Toscan du Plantier as a character is what we see of her family; they are, in the Tolstoy sense, just another happy family, very close. “She was much more than a cousin,” Gazeau says. “She was one of my best friends. I saw her two or three times a week. I slept at her house because her, her son and me, we were like a trio.” The devastation her son describes of losing her in his teens is so hard to hear. But all this goes to show is that Tolstoy is an idiot, since there is nothing ordinary about them." As the documentary progresses, it becomes a subtle but searching inquiry into grief, whose entire focus is the particularity of the lost person. The victim becomes three-dimensional again, her character restored. Yet unavoidably, Sophie’s loved ones cannot rest until they know who murdered her. “Justice is abstract when it’s not your loss,” Gazeau says, “but for a family, it is something in your blood. We have to go to claim justice to the end. We have no choice.”









An older article about Sophie's personality. The complex and secret private life of fragile Sophie
Maeve Sheehan
December 25th, 2011 

"SOPHIE Toscan du Plantier was a woman of many facets, according to her former lover, a French artist called Bruno CarbonnetShe was tough but fragile, secretive and discreet. She was born into a well-connected French family and married an influential Parisien film producer, Daniel du Plantier.

Carbonnet suspected that her husband knew about their affair. But he claimed that Ms Toscan Du Plantier had a contract of sorts with her husband which involved agreeing to attend certain events together. The farmhouse in West Cork was her retreat, where she went to write, in isolation from what the artist called the mundane world. This famous French artist's account of his lover of more than a year was disclosed in excerpts from his police statement published last week, the latest leak in the increasingly curious case of the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Her lover gives the impression of an enigmatic and sophisticated woman with a complicated private life. Her personal life became an early hunting ground for gardai in search of clues, but nothing emerged. Carbonnet was amongst a list of at least 10 suspects identified in the original investigation but who were subsequently eliminated: they had alibis and their stories stacked up, according to sources.

Then there was Ian Bailey, the local freelance journalist who arrived at the crime scene to report on a big story breaking on his own doorstep but who gardai suspected was her killer. For years Bailey was a lone voice, claiming he was set up. But then there was the unexpected and unprecedented intervention of a retired state prosecutor suggested that Bailey may not have been far off the mark. Last October, Eamon Barnes claimed a Gardaí tried to put pressure on his office in 1998 to bring a charge against Bailey. He didn't act on his concerns at the time. In an email, published here for the first time, he wrote: "I considered that any follow- up action by the office was unlikely to achieve anything useful. . . Recent reports in the media regarding the French investigation of Ms Du Plantier have caused me concern concerning it. There is now a real possibility that Bailey may be charged in France and perhaps receive a lengthy prison sentence presumably, inter alia, on evidence and conclusions provided by what I regarded at the time as having been a thoroughly flawed and prejudiced investigation, culminating in a grossly improper attempt to achieve or even force a prosecutorial decision which accorded with that prejudice." He concluded: "I felt accordingly that as a matter of ordinary justice I was obliged to bring the matter to appropriate attention." The document was released to Bailey last month, along with a damning review of evidence by the DPP's office in 2001. The review found no evidence against Bailey, and alleged that drugs were offered to a potential witness to implicate him. The disclosures are a godsend to Bailey, who has always protested his innocence. They do little to advance the unsolved murder of Ms Toscan Du Plantier 15 years after her death. She flew into Cork Airport on December 20, 1996 intending to work on a film project and leaving her husband behind. She picked up a hire car and drove to her farmhouse up a laneway in Toormore, a few miles from Schull. She intended to return to spend Christmas Day with her husband, Daniel, in Paris. She spent the evening of December 22 at home. She spoke to Josephine Hellen, a local woman who looked after her house, at 10 PM and an hour later had phoned her husband, by which time she was already in bed. Gardai have always suspected that some time during the night she opened the door to her killer. Her body was discovered after 10am the following morning. She was dressed in nightclothes, lace-up boots and a blue dressing gown. Her bludgeoned body was found at the bottom of a path near the gates of her home, suggesting she may have tried to flee."

[Bertrand Bouniol, Sophie's brother, pictured] An autopsy -- the results of which were released only last year -- revealed she was bludgeoned to death at that spot, with a heavy block. Some of her fingers were broken and her face was smashed. Lacerations covering her arms, and strips of her torn pyjamas on barbed wire, indicated her ferocious struggle to protect herself. Hair and skin beneath her nails proved to be her own and not the killer's. Blood on the door stoop wasn't identified. Her body was not examined by the state pathologist until the following day, which crucially meant that her time of death was never established. By then a trail of journalists -- one of whom was Bailey -- and investigators had helped to pollute the crime scene. Detectives took Ms Hellen into Ms Du Plantier's house to see whether anything was missing or disturbed. She later told French magazine Paris Match that she noticed that a poker was missing, there were two glasses on the draining board and that two chairs were pulled in front of the radiator. This didn't necessarily mean she had company, according to one detective. Ms Du Plantier often let used glasses mount up and she could have used the second chair to put her feet up by the radiator. It was interesting that, months after the murder, a bottle of wine was found in bushes near a laneway close to Ms Du Plantier house. It was an expensive bottle of French wine, unopened, that had lain there for some time. According to one detective, it would have cost £60 or £70 at the time. None of the local off-licences stocked it but it was for sale in airport duty-free shops. Was it Ms Du Plantier's? Did her killer bring the wine with them when they called? And why would they abandon it unopened? Forensic analysis of the bottle provided no leads and its significance or otherwise was never established. One source close to the investigation recalled that, at the time, alcohol was often stolen from the drinks cabinets of empty holiday homes.

In the early days of the investigation, detectives delved into Ms Toscan Du Plantier's personal life. They learnt that Carbonnet had stayed with Ms Du Plantier on a couple of occasions in West Cork. They tracked him down through the French authorities who interviewed him in the presence of gardai in January 1997. His alibi was watertight: at the time Ms Toscan Du Plantier was murdered he was at an art auction in the south of France. Gardai spent a week in France verifying his story. Carbonnet told police, according to statements quoted last week: "Madam Toscan du Plantier was for me an intimate friend during the years 1992 and 1993." They met in Paris when they were introduced after an art workshop and afterwards became lovers. "We went to Goolen (in West Cork) in Ireland together, to the small house where I stayed and helped her to set herself up," he said. He stayed for a fortnight in Easter 1993 and returned with her on two or three occasions afterwards. "The last time that I went to this house in Ireland was during the summer of 1993. My affair with Sophie finished in Christmas 1993, a date on which she finished it without any warning. This end was very difficult for me." They last spoke a month before she died, in November 1996. She had bought one of his paintings and he wanted to include it in an exhibition the following January. "She was a writer herself. She was secretive. The motivation for the acquisition of this house in Ireland was linked with her writing. She was someone who was tough but fragile at the same time. She sought to isolate herself from the world of the mundane because of [the] personality of her husband," he said in his statement. "Sophie was a woman of many facets." He learnt of her death on Christmas Day, 1996 from a mutual friend.

By late January, Bailey was their prime suspect. There were scratches on his hands and face; the statement from Marie Farrell, the local shopkeeper, putting him at the scene of the crime at 3am on the night of the murder (a statement she later retracted); he didn't have an alibi as he was writing poetry alone in his studio during the hours she was killed; reports of a fire at his house on St Stephen's Day; and his supposed confession to certain people, including a 14-year-old boy. [Hitch-hiker Malachi Reid claims that Bailey told him he“went up there with a rock and bashed her fucking brains out.” Bailey denied making such an alleged confession but acknowledged that he repeated rumours about himself to the schoolboy]. But the DPP review of 2001 dismissed virtually all of the circumstantial evidence, from the credibility of witnesses, to the scratches, and highlighting his willingness to give finger print and blood samples as indications of his innocence. This DPP's report angered the Gardaí team that investigated Ms Du Plantier's murder. The Gardaí Commissioner dispatched two chief superintendents to review the murder inquiry, Austin McNally and Joe McGarty. They took a team to West Cork and reviewed the evidence. Suspects were revisited, statements analysed, and witnesses re-interviewed. Their inquiry revealed similar shortcomings as the DPP's review but produced no fresh suspects."

Scarlet: In the Netflix series 'Sophie: a Murder in West Cork', relatives and friends of Sophie recall that Sophie had called her husband, Daniel, to tell him that their relationship was over. She was seeing Bruno Carbonnet by then and wanted to move in with him. The marriage would stay intact, but they would be separated from then on. Bruno Carbonnet also joined Sophie in Cork at times, the last time - by his admission - in the summer of 1993. But Carbonnet turned out to be dark and sombre. He was also described as 'possessive'. Sophie soon realized she did not want to be with him either. She ended the relationship around Christmas of 1993 and it was acrimonious. Bruno harassed her by post and assaulted her in Paris. Sophie returned to her still-husband Daniel. Here it is stated that: "This Office and the Gardaí are aware that Bruno Carbonnet, a French man who was a lover of Sophie during the course of her marriage to Daniel Toscan Du Plantier stayed on occasion in her West Cork home." Bruno Carbonnet had what investigators called a solid alibi for the 22nd-23rd of December 1996. Of course, that does not exclude the possibility of him having hired a hit-man. (Although a hit-man would probably have been better prepared in the weapon-department, than to rely on concrete blocks lying about on the driveway... Unless it was all a masterplan to frame a local of course). Others say that in fact, husband Daniel Toscan du Plantier had a motive for this, as a divorce would affect him badly financially. There are even claims that Daniel had a large life insurance for his wife. His decision nót to go to West Cork to identify the body of his wife, or to be with her there at the end, was not understood by many. he also refused to answer questions of investigators. 




May 2021 radio
 interview with Ian Bailey
and here is another interview with Nick Foster






June 2021: Ian Bailey and his long term partner and defender Jules Thomas break up 
Mike Ridley
June 25th, 2021

[source] 'I'VE HAD ENOUGH' Shock twist in 25-year riddle over who murdered French film exec Sophie Toscan du Plantier as lover dumps suspect. For a quarter of a century Jules Thomas stood by her charismatic lover, refusing to believe that he was to blame for the murder of a young mum. But now the 70-year-old artist has dumped Ian Bailey, saying she can no longer take the stress of him being prime suspect in the slaying of film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier. She says: “I’ve had enough . . . that’s all. After 25 years I am sick and tired of banging on with this. It’s been just awful.” And, with Bailey gone, Jules is looking forward to welcoming her three daughters and grandchildren to her home she shared with him for nearly 30 years. She explains: “They refused to visit because they didn’t want to meet him. My daughters were absolutely thrilled when I finished with Ian.”

For almost 25 years, Bailey, now 64, has said he didn’t kill Sophie — despite a court in France convicting him in his absence. The Irish courts refuse to hand him to the French. Two rival TV documentary series are now charting the story of how mum-of-one Sophie was killed. Last Sunday, Sky began screening five-parter Murder At The Cottage, in which Jules and Bailey talk openly to Oscar-nominated writer Jim Sheridan. And this Wednesday, Netflix will launch a three-parter on the killing,  showing Jules standing by former journalist Bailey. But since the gripping series were recorded, Jules has ordered 6ft 4in Bailey out of the pretty cottage they live in near Schull, County Cork. She says: “For a while he seemed to be still in disbelief when I finally told him, ‘That’s it, I want to get on with my own life’. “I want nothing more to do with him. I just can’t handle the stress. I’ve been praying that he will get fixed up in his own place soon.” She has given him until July to move out before daughter Virginia marries fiancé Killian in the grounds of the pretty cottage. Jules is also looking forward to visits from her youngest daughter Fenella and daughter Saffron, who has two children. She says: “I couldn’t kick him out whilst he had nowhere else to go. But there are signs he is trying to find somewhere and he has moved carloads of stuff out.” Despite the split, Jules is still convinced he is innocent. She says: “If I had left him in the middle of all that it would have looked like he did it, so I just gritted my teeth.”

Jules, a landscape artist and Bailey, a writer, began their relationship shortly after he arrived in West Cork in 1991. Originally from Manchester, Bailey had worked as a journalist in Glouce­stershire, where he covered events at Highgrove, home of Prince Charles and Diana. This week Bailey bizarrely told The Sun that Diana “always had an eye for him”. He said: “I was tall and she was quite tall. We would often be in quite close company and our eyes would meet. I think everybody knows she was quite flirty, bless her. There’s no doubt about that.” In 1992, Jules used money from her wealthy Welsh grand-father to buy the house, known as The Studio, with its views of the Atlantic Ocean, and Bailey moved in. At the cottage, the shed where he drank, wrote poetry and carved penis-shaped sculptures has now been cleared out to store drinks for the family wedding — which Bailey is not invited to. He says: “I won’t be here for the wedding but I might be still in the house, unless I have found alternative accommodation. Jules is in full under­standing of my situation, that I am trying to locate and vacate. “I am largely still in Jules’s house because there is no property for sale down here. “My feelings for Jules haven’t changed. I am a human and I have a heart. “It’s very sad, the split, but these things do happen. I just have to weather it as best I can.”

Hollywood director Sheridan’s documentary shows horrific photos of Jules with a swollen face and lumps of hair missing after a violent drunken attack by Bailey. 
She admits: “Yes, he was physically abusive to me a couple of times, we split up for a while and then got back together. “I put up with him for far too long and I realise now that it was a waste of time. “It was always a one-way flow, men like him don’t ever bend or accommodate. It’s to do with their egos.” Just months after Bailey’s attack on Jules, Sophie — the wife of a wealthy director of the Gaumont cinema chain — was killed. In a blue bathrobe and hiking boots but no socks she had fled out of the back door of her farmhouse and run towards the front gate. But her killer caught up with her at the end of the 150-yard lane to the farm in the hamlet of Toormore as she desperately tried to climb a briar-covered stone wall. Chillingly, at a nearby beauty spot the day before her murder, Sophie had seen a ghost known as the white lady — a premonition of imminent death in folklore.

French criminal psychologist Dr Florent Gatherias described Sophie as “a woman of rare physical and spiritual beauty” whose “taste for the authentic” led her into contact with “unorthodox characters”. Dr Gatherias, who works for the French judicial police, said Sophie was the victim of “a repressed, destructive sexual rage”. Bailey has always denied he became obsessed with petite Sophie, killing her after she refused his advances. French prosecutors accused Irish police — the Gardai — of Inspector Clouseau-like incompetence, allow­ing locals to trample over the crime scene and not carrying out a post-mortem on Sophie’s body until well after Christmas. When he moved to Ireland in 1991, Bailey had reinvented himself as a poet and gardener. But with newspapers clamouring for details of Sophie’s death he seized his chance to resurrect his old career. Bailey was the first reporter at the crime scene and quickly established himself as the leading authority on the case — although he was accused of including details in his reports that only the killer could know. Bailey initially told police he had been in bed with Jules at the time of Sophie’s murder — but later admitted he had got up in the night. Bailey says he went downstairs to write an article and didn’t leave the house that night. There was no trace of his DNA under Sophie’s fingernails and none of his blood was found at the scene. 

Bailey was arrested twice in Ireland yet never charged. The Director of Public Prosecutions long ago decided there was not enough evidence to put him on trial. The court in France decided two years ago he is the killer. Bailey is adamant. He says: “I had nothing to do with this terrible crime. I’m just a poor bastard whose carcass France and Ireland are fighting over. “They couldn’t trap me in Ireland because the evidence they tried to use was fictitious, but they did it in France. “I want someone to come out and admit it wasn’t me and to clear my name so I can die happy.” Filmmaker Sheridan is backing Bailey’s appeal to the new Gardaí Commissioner for a full investigation into Sophie’s murder. So far, Jules can’t bring herself to watch the new documentaries. She says: “I know it will upset me so much. I want to avoid that because I can’t take any more upset.”

And in an interview with Irish newspaper Extra.ie of June 26th 2021, Jules said: "‘He [Ian] is innocent of the murder. I have no doubt about that. ‘Neither of us were contacted for another documentary coming out on Netflix; that’s a disgrace, and it will be biased and full of all that hearsay evidence from the French trial that the Irish Courts would never have allowed to be heard.’ Last year, the Irish High Court rejected a request for the third time for his extradition to France where he was sentenced to 25 years in jail. Ms Thomas told how Sheridan, a six-time Academy Award nominee who has worked on the five-part documentary series Murder At The Cottage for 12 years, spent months at a time in West Cork talking to herself, Bailey and others. She says he told her he was astonished that Ian Bailey never mentioned to him that she was arrested twice by investigating gardaí, once in February 1997 and again in September 2000. ‘It was horrific, their interrogation, and unbelievable how Ian would not have said anything about my two arrests,’ she says. ‘But that’s so typical of him, he has to be the central character with no thought at all of what I was suffering."









Gardai given name of Frenchman 'seen with Sophie Toscan du Plantier on afternoon before her murder'

June 27th, 2021
John Kierans 

[Source] "Gardai have been given the name of a Frenchman reportedly seen with Sophie Toscan du Plantier on the afternoon before her murder. Gardai in Bantry were made aware of the new evidence by filmmaker Jim Sheridan, the director of the Sky five-part documentary on Sophie’s death, Murder At The Cottage. Jim confirmed he passed on the information to the authorities. Detectives are to check out whether he secretly stayed with the French TV producer at her Schull home. The man is in his fifties and currently lives in Paris. He is known to Sophie’s late husband Daniel and also some members of the extended family. He was allegedly spotted by Marie Farrell standing outside her shop wearing a long dark coat in the west Cork village on the last day she was seen alive while Sophie bought a copy of the French Le Monde newspaper inside. It is understood Ms Farrell formally identified the man after she was shown a picture of him. She had originally said the man was five foot eight inches in height and claimed it was Garda suspect Ian Bailey, who is six foot two, but subsequently retracted her statement. It is understood that Sophie and the man both knew each other in Paris. In the months before she lost her life she had split from her lover, the artist Bruno Carbonnet. Bruno had an alibi to prove he was in the French capital at the time of Sophie’s savage killing.

Gardai had always assumed she was holidaying alone and there was no one else staying with her when she was murdered 25 years ago on the night of December 23, 1996. It appears from the new information that the man kept a discreet distance from Sophie in Schull that day and that the two of them deliberately did not want to be seen together. A Garda source said: “We will be obviously checking it all out. We will have to go and find this man and see when he came into and left the country. “We need to verify if he was here and up at the house.” Ian Bailey, 64, has always maintained his innocence. The eccentric Englishman and former journalist has denied ever knowing Sophie or having a secret sexual relationship with her. He has always argued his belief that someone from France killed her. Last night he told the Irish Mirror: “ I don’t really know a whole lot about this new evidence but I would hope that eventually it will help vindicate me and clear my name. “I have been living with this terrible burden of being accused in the wrong for a very long time. “I welcome the fact that the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is considering a review of the case and I, my lawyers, and my ex-partner will all fully cooperate with whatever the Gardai need.”








*******


My own conclusion 

SCARLET - So... A lot of things seem to point to Ian Bailey. He was all over the crime scene; he had a violent temper and beat his partner Jules into the hospital shortly before Sophie's murder (on the other hand, his former wife 
Sarah Limbrick has known him since the 1970’s and has stated to police that he never used violence towards her and would at most strike the wall); he seemed to gloat in a way in the attention this case brought to him and he does sound like a slightly megalomaniac narcissist half the time; he was seen by police and witnesses to have had scratches on his arms and face/head (although he says they were minor and consistent with working with a turkey and Christmas type of tree and he is supported in this explanation by Jules Thomas and her daughters Virginia and Saffron). He knew about Sophie not having been sexually assaulted and wrote about it in a case article in the local paper days after her murder, when police had not yet revealed those details (Ian said another insider told him this). He had photos developed 'discretely' by Patrick Lowney in 2000, which showed Sophie's body on the laneway in many different shots, taken at night. Sophie's neighbour disputed his claim that he never met Sophie, saying he introduced them to each other in his yard (Ian says he only saw Sophie in the distance and never made acquaintances, over a year before her murder). He was tall and strong and would fit the sort of attacker who could inflict these sort of brutal injuries to the fit woman, being able to lift concrete blocks like that. Ian Bailey may also have implicated himself by being the only local who reported early on the scene, something he was asked to do and about which he was tipped off by another journalist from the Examiner. A blow in and eccentric man who was known to have been violent before. He was already considered odd with his howling to the moon sort of semi-spiritual antics. 

Whomever did this to Sophie knew how to get to her place and she most likely knew this person, as the door had been locked before she went to bed (the keys were found still on the inside), and when she was found it was open. She went out in her boots and coat, which means she had to have get dressed first after getting up from her bed; another indication that she knew or trusted whomever was at her gate or door that night or early morning. Why else would she get out of bed, get clothes on and go out to a stranger at the gate or door? While alone in an isolated house? So this seems to point to a local or possibly even a cop. Or could there have been someone specifically sent there, who may even have had a key? New information is that someone had prior been breaking into the house and used her bathroom. Who was this and why was this not openly mentioned and investigated by Garda? Gardaí were also simply not allowed to investigate any potential suspects in France, by the French justice department. Whomever did this seems to have gone back in the house afterwards to remove any evidence or fingerprints inside the house. Not the sort of coordinated, premeditated approach you would expect from a very drunk man. The complete lack of fingerprints/DNA evidence at the scene could also suggest that the house was cleaned (the blood stain going into the house with Sophie’s blood, suggests someone went back into the house, considering the extent of the injuries, it almost certainly wasn’t Sophie). 

It is also peculiar I think that Sophie went all the way to Ireland alone, in the days before Christmas, purchasing a business class ticket even, to repair a heater. As her family has claimed. She asked many relatives and friends to come with her, but nobody had time or opportunity. Wouldn't it have been easier and cheaper to have a local person fix the heater and have the neighbours oversee it? Could there have been another reason Sophie went there, in those days, linked to meeting someone, perhaps? Did she have a lover there? A man working in a petrol station claimed to have seen Sophie with a male passenger in the car with her that weekend. It was also said in Murder at Roaringwater that the rental car she was using that weekend had the passenger seat pushed back suggesting a tall passenger had been in the car with her. Was there someone with her in the house (maybe invited, maybe hiding initially), and did she try to escape at some point from this person by fleeing outside? But why did she not run to her nearby neighbours then? Why trying to get over the fence leading to an isolated road? She must have been terrified. Or did she perhaps see someone off at the gate and did the pair end up fighting there? There were two wine glasses standing at the sink after all, and two chairs were pulled in front of the central heating. Whomever killed her must have known her and had personal connections with her, in some way; the killing was way too brutal and needlessly violent for it to have been a random thing (dozens of times her head and face were bashed with the cement block). Another nagging case detail that has come up recently from the case files, is that there was breakfast-type of food found in her stomach during post mortem (recently ingested fruit and nuts), suggesting this attack could have also happened in the morning. And a blue Fiesta car was also seen 'speeding away from the crime scene' the early morning of her murder. Nearly pushing another motorist off the road. "The man said a blue Ford Fiesta with red licence plates almost caused a crash at Toormore, near Schull, at around 7 AM." "He overtook me on a bend and I had to brake. It was because of his manner of driving that I remember this car. I'm fairly certain it was not a local car." Why have they never identified this car or the person driving it? 

And what always stops me in my tracks is the fact that Ian Bailey gave police his own hair and DNA samples, very early on in the investigation. They did not match. Not even with the skin found under Sophie's nails. Of course, there was very little DNA on the crime scene overall. The on scene forensics were done competently enough but it took them many many hours to get there and the scene of the crime had not been properly secured. And the State Pathologist from Dublin arrived 28 hours after the body was discovered. They did DNA testing on everything, but no usable DNA or fibres were found on the briars. All the blood on the stone, block, gate, door, hair in her hands and under her fingernails was found to be Sophie's own. The police left her body outside in near freezing temperatures so long - without a protective tent over it -, that it prevented them from reliably gathering her time of death.  Which is even more frustrating as with today's improved modern DNA technologies, even a mediocre DNA sample could have been reexamined. The French trial did mention that one tiny foreign DNA sample was found on a shoe. We never heard if this was tested against Bailey. But I reckon that they did and if it had matched with Bailey's DNA and hair samples, we would have long before heard about it. So based on the science and facts, there seems to be no undeniable hard evidence to convict him. Only circumstantial (and by themselves disputable) indications. And that is no basis to convict a man. Although truth be told: we the public have not seen all the case evidence and neither all the evidence which Gardaí built up about Mr. Bailey in their files (which some say is damning, but without the hard evidence of that, it is mere hearsay). His ironic 'admissions' could just be the irony of a man who has been made to be a killer for decades now. His own behaviour as such has not really helped his cause. But the complexity of a potential narcissist, relishing in the notoriety and the attention and trying to have his career lift off over this local crime case, could perhaps partly explain this.. His journalistic career was not exactly flourishing until then.

Also, how do we know that the witnesses said things correctly? One witness withdrew all her detailed statements of seeing Bailey walking on the side of the road that night and washing his hands, saying it were gardaí who ushered her to say it. Another only recalled that he said 'I did it', when Bailey says he said quite a lot more in fact, namely that he cried about 'people saying I did it'. We have the evidence by now that gardaí have in fact misconstrued statements and laid traps for Bailey. There were also allegations of false statements and intimidation. A man told the High Court that gardaí gave him cash, clothes and significant quantities of cannabis as part of a plan for him to befriend Ian Bailey and “loosen” his tongue. He said gardaí offered to buy him clothes and “sweeteners” and suggested “the family would be very grateful for a favourable statement, if I could find anything that suggested Mr Bailey was linked with it”. “I was constantly being pressed by the police to suggest there was a link between Ian Bailey and Sophie Toscan du Plantier but I didn’t know of any, just what they told me. I just thought it was crazy.” The Fennelly commission report only had a fraction of the tapes, but given what was on that fraction, it's already very damning for the local Gardaí. They openly frightened the community, telling them a killer was on the loose and that they suspected him to be Ian Bailey. That they needed evidence pronto, so whomever could come forward, please.. One of their officers claimed on camera that Mr Bailey burnt his long black coat in a bonfire and that they could never find it, while the actual case files state in black and white that they confiscated his long black coat, had it tested for blood and DNA of Sophie (all negative, just like the coat showed no damage caused by sharp thorns) and then lost the coat. How can he lie about that on camera like that? Little details like that, being twisted and fabricated, give me a bad taste in the mouth towards Gardaí tbh. And how in god's name did Gardaí lose an entire 14 foot fence, covered in blood? Could they potentially cover up for one of their own, as has been speculated here and there? Or were they just dead-set to convict Bailey, the suspect of their own making? I don't know if Ian Bailey committed this crime or not, but it is incredible that on such a gory crime scene, no usable DNA or hairs of the killer were found. How does a killer do that in the dark of night, in such a large open crime scene? A very, very unlucky crime scene it was. Or a very unfortunate situation with the heavily delayed pathologist.. 

More key evidence that went missing and was as such reported to GSOC:
*A 14 foot long blood-spattered gate taken from close to where Sophie Toscan Du Plantier’s body was found.
*A French wine bottle found four months after the murder in a field next to the scene.
*A small red hatchet kept inside the doorway of du Plantier’s home which her housekeeper Josie Hellen noticed was missing.
*A black overcoat belonging to Ian Bailey.
*The original memo of interview of Jules Thomas following her arrest in 1997.
*An original witness statement from Marie Farrell provided on 5 March 2004.
*An original witness statement from Jules Thomas dated 19 February 1997.
Gardai's Investigation of the case was handled poorly it seems by police who were hell bent on proving Ian was their man, solely on circumstantial evidence and despite no forensic evidence to prove so. There were also allegations of false statements and intimidation. So there is strong evidence that Gardai were willing to frame him, based on the Fennelly commission report, which only had a fraction of the tapes. And like I said: given what was on that fraction, it's very damning for the local Gardaí.  Bailey willingly tore hairs from his head and gave it to them, his DNA, and they could not match it with the crime scene. Granted; they did DNA testing on everything, but not much DNA survived. 

And what I fail to understand is why a guilty man would draw all attention to himself by making unnecessary lies to the police, like he did? Ian Bailey messed up in the initial interview leaflet, given to all residents two days after the murder, inquiring where they were that evening and night. He mixed up two pubs, with one being a super small sitting room type of pub, and the other a large buoyant place where he actually was, reciting poetry and playing along with a band. This is considered suspicious by many people. I do wonder though: what is the logic behind lying about one pub when there were witnesses there to discredit it? If he is innocent it can just as well be an innocent mix-up, but if he is guilty, it is very strange to not prepare yourself to give the right answer here. Just like I struggle to understand why Ian Bailey first declared that he was asleep that night with Jules Thomas, only to come back on this statement and tell Gardaí that no, in fact, he went up at 4 AM to write in his shed. The Gardaí stated to Ian in the investigation files: “you have told us several times on this day that you went home from the Galley Pub with Jules, then went to bed and did not get up until the following morning. Now you have told the other Officer that you in fact did get up that night and left Jules’s house.” Bailey responded, “Yes, I now remember that I did get up and go to my studio to do some work”Why would he say that if he were guilty? All Jules Thomas said was that despite being half asleep, she recollected Bailey getting up out of bed, which was a common thing for him to do, and being fast asleep after that herself. He could have simply stated that he went to the toilet, if he truly was spinning stories to fool them. I don't believe that he did though, I think that he was trying to be honest and precise. And what's more: Bailey did have to submit an article to The Sunday Tribune later that day. It is verified that the deadline for his story was 2:30 PM. on December 23rd. So he did not make that part up either. To me it seems more fitting with an honest answer from a man trying to be as precise as possible with the cops, still thinking he is actually helping the officers and unaware they are trying to frame him. But the Gardaí revealed that very soon to him, as they continued the interrogation by stating: “Tell the truth about you being at Kealfadda Bridge at 3 AM approximately on the 23rd of December 1996?” (btw, in the context of Bailey’s home, Kealfadda is not on the way to or from Sophie’s residence). To which Ian Bailey answered: “I wasn’t there, I didn’t kill her. I know you don’t believe me.” There was also significant time between the event and the questionaire: Sophie was killed on 23 December 1996. Bailey’s first questionnaire was completed eight days later. So it is quite easy to become confused about details; (Try it yourself; what did you exactly do 8 days ago?) And these police interviews were conducted 7 weeks after her murder. But Gardai turned potentially simple mistakes into 'deliberate lies' right away. 

It also begs the question how he could have prevented his DNA and hairs to end up all over the crime scene, in the dark of night, outside. And if the killer wore gloves - hence no bloody hand- or fingerprints being found on the cement block and stone - then why did Bailey's hands show minor scratches the days afterwards? Jules stated about this to police that Ian and Saffi went down to cut the top off a Christmas tree for the Christmas. Following the cutting of the tree his forearms were scratched”. Jules' daughter, Saffron Thomas, was also interviewed on 10 February 1997 and she stated that “I can verify as I was a witness to him receiving cuts and scratches to his hands, arms and legs from more specifically the cutting down of the tree.” “We had to kill three turkeys and in doing so Ian was cut by the turkey wings flapping when their heads were cut off.” On Sunday 22 December 1996 Bailey was also seen by a witness, local farmer, Liam O’Driscoll “pulling a Christmas tree. He was accompanied by one of Jules’ daughters at the time.” Regarding these minor scratches: Gardaí never took the effort to photograph his hands, instead making a vague drawing of it themselves later. Gardaí also did not ask Bailey to show the scratches to a medical or any other expert witness in order to obtain an opinion as to causation. Denis O’Callaghan saw Bailey on 24 December 1996 (the day after the murder) and he noticed multiple light scratches on Bailey’s arms. He stated that he saw them on Bailey’s left hand. Such light scratches are not consistent with cuts by razor like thorns. More importantly: Richard Tisdall in his DPP statement 190B recalls seeing scratch marks on one of Bailey’s hands on Sunday night 22 December 1996 (so prior to the murder but after the cutting of the tree and the killing of the turkeys). And Dr. Louise Barnes, a dermatologist, closely observed Bailey some five days after the murder. She stated in the DPP files about Ian Bailey that “at no time, did he strike one as being suspicious. As a keen observer of peoples appearance due to my profession I certainly did not notice any marks or injuries to his face or hands.” Persons who dealt with Bailey on the days after the murder, such as Conn O’Sullivan and Eddie Cassidy, did not mention noticing scratch marks on Bailey’s hands. Neither did Mike Browne, a photographer who was with Bailey for a substantial period on 23 December 1996. Also, Ian Bailey made no attempt to conceal the scratch marks from gardai police when they came to interview him. Gda. O’Leary said that they were not cuts only scratches and they were healing up. This was on december 28th. That does mean that these scratches were still visible six days later, which seems a decent amount of time for superficial scratches to last. Bailey showed the police his lower arms and they showed minor scratches also. If he had killed Sophie Toscan du Plantier while wearing his infamous black coat, as Marie Farrell claimed he was wearing when she still believed to have seen him that night later denied by her), his arms and elbows would have of course been protected from the briars by the coat and other clothes. Another indication that he may be speaking the truth about getting them from cutting a tree with his sleeves rolled up.
'

As for Ian Bailey knowing on the day of the murder that a French woman was killed, before Gardaí made this info public: Ian was asked to go there and write an article about it by Eddie Cassidy. Bailey’s flurry of activity in relation to dealing with the murder on a journalistic basis only commenced after he had spoken to Eddie Cassidy at 13.40 PM. It is allround accepted that Bailey had been trying to establish a journalistic career in Ireland. Gardaí have made it look like neither Bailey nor Cassidy could have known about the identity of the victim before noon, but Cassidy had a source within the police (who's identity he has so far refused to reveal), who had informed him of the murder prior to 11.53 AM on 23 December 1996. Because telephone records of the Garda file show that Cassidy called Superintendent Twomey at 11.53 AM on 23 December 1996, so by then he certainly already knew about it. The Gardaí themselves only arrived at the scene of the murder around 10.38 AM, so Cassidy's source was quick to inform him. Superintendent Twomey had full knowledge of the identity of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, the location where she was murdered, her Nationality and so forth. During the course of that phone call he gave Cassidy directions on how to get to the scene. It is logical therefore that Ian Bailey also heard about all this, when Cassidy called him to go and report on the matter. Even between 10 AM. and 13:00 PM, several other people were already aware of the murder, including a priest, a doctor and the neighbours of the deceased. Before 14:00 PM this information was already widely circuling in the area. Cathy Farrell broadcasted during the 14:00 PM news bulletin that the woman murdered was French and had prior been informed about this also by local journalist Anne Mooney, who herself was also informed about this by Eddie Cassidy, in a 13.49 phone call (the story was circulating in the area). So it is not strange at all that right after getting this 13:40 call from Cassidy, Ian and Jules went to the crime scene to report on it and make photographs. He wanted to further his journalistic career in Ireland and had just been given inside information to help him do so.  -  Cassidy later claimed that he did not know that the deceased was French until 16:00 PM. But phone data, statements of people who he told her identity and his earliest stataments to police all contradict this and he may have later tried to protect Superintendent Twomey (who by now also disputes having told Cassidy about the identity of the victim), for disclosing such sensitive case details to him early on, basically giving privileged treatment to a journalist. It does look like some people are juggling with the truth here... to protect themselves and possibly also to frame Ian Bailey, again. 

As for Caroline Leftwick's statement, made five months after the murder, that between 11.30 AM and 12.30 PM on 23 December 1996 Ian rang her and told her excitedly that there had been a murder at Toormore and that it was a French woman and that he was going to cover the story: this statement is remarkable. Because it would mean that Ian Bailey would allegedly have been aware of the murder before 12.30 PM, was excited about its investigation and yet did nothing whatsoever to go there and actually report on it. Because he then waited until the unexpected phone call from Eddie Cassidy at 13.40 to actually go to the scene of the crime. Pretty illogical. And with the flurry of false or incorrect witness statements already made in this case, ushered on by an overzealous Gardaí set to find Ian guilty, I am not impressed personally with this one either. Why would Ian call a woman he was supposed to pick up garlic from about all this anyway, before Cassidy called him? Even if he is guilty, he would have more likely waited for an alibi for this info, in the shape of cassidy or somebody else. Wouldn't he be more preoccupied with other things anyway if he were the killer, than to cancel a random appointment to pick up some garlic? And Jules' supposed statements that Ian told her in the morning that he was investigating a murder, seems fabricated as well. James Camier stated on 21 September 1998 that between 11:00-11:30 AM on December 23rd of 1996 (date of the murder), Jules Thomas told hím that a French woman had been murdered in the locality. He states that he was shocked by the news. On 1 October 1998 Garda Kelleher told this Office that James Camier did not mention the alleged conversation with Jules Thomas to any other person that morning, which she thought strange, as he was working with his wife at the vegetable stall and serving the public, many of whom he knew. He would have spread this news, normally. But on October 1st 1998, Garda Kevin Kelleher stated that Geraldine Camier had informed him that she could not recall her husband having a conversation with Jules Thomas on the morning of 23 December 1996. Suddenly on January 7th 1999 a copy statement from Geraldine Camier was received in this Office wherein she stated she now DID recall Jules Thomas telling her husband about the murder on Monday 23 December 1996... Contradicting her initial statement. Another unreliable witness? 

So why would Ian Bailey wrap himself into this case the way he did? Reporting on the scene, mentioning details he may have heard from fellow journalists, but which made him look suspicious and having foreknowledge? I can only assume that he loved the attention and hoped to gain notoriety from it. Or more journalistic work. Even his now ex-partner Jules Thomas (who always has come across as a level-headed and well spoken sincere person to me), has been fairly honest and open about it in the Sky documentary: Ian likes to be the center of attention. Sometimes at other people's detriment. Some people have a chronic need for attention. But that, or his unlikeability in many people's eyes or even his issues with alcohol at times, in itself doesn't make him guilty in this murder case. And if I were his lawyer, I'd probably advise him to keep his own ramblings to an absolute minimum during the court case and show up strictly sober. People say that he has 'no alibi', but who isn't asleep between midnight and, say, 6 AM? Being asleep with your partner is a perfectly expectable way to spend the night. As is writing in the silence of the dark of night, at least; this is fairly common for writers and journalists. Don't get me wrong, I do think that Mr Bailey is a very odd duck and could very well be the perpetrator. I feel that he saw/sees himself as a misunderstood genius. Someone with a great talent for writing, poetry, other sorts of self-perceived greatness which somehow was not picked up on by the rest of the world (except by his partner). Having this murder case to report on and becoming the star journalistic reporter may very well have been a plausible motive. He seems to love getting attention, but only in statue and wild looks does he probably resemble a poet like Ted Hughes. Add to this that Sophie told a friend that Mr. Bailey wanted to recite his poetry to her and that she wasn't comfortable with that (although frankly, this comes from her best friend who suddenly remembered it in 2015, so 18 years after the fact..). His ego may have been hurt. How could that Frenchwoman reject the great poet! That sort of thinking. In his diaries he wrote about violent sexual fantasies. A personal friend of Bailey went to police to state that Ian admitted guilt to him and said he 'took it too far'. He also more than once seems to toy with the interviewers he willingly faces, which can be another narcissistic trait. But ultimately, no forensic evidence was found that puts him on the crime scene that night, meaning that there are justified doubts about his actual involvement, despite all his posturing. Considering the police tried and failed to prove that he did it for the past decades, I fear that Ian Bailey is either a criminal genius, very very lucky in how this case panned out, or he's being stitched up. I am leaning towards the latter. I think someone else is guilty. And if so, he - or she - may have committed a perfect murder, as they say. 




*****

Gardai doubts and other potential witnesses

An interesting comment about Gardaí police from a local: "My family experienced first hand how the rural Irish police operated in the early nineties to protect certain people in the community after a family member was viciously beaten and left with horrendous injuries. Their need to protect certain upstanding community members and look away from the guilty party meant justice was not served for us. Their shady dealings to ensure the guilty thug evaded justice were sickening. He was left free to continue his rampage of violence on innocent victims. In later years, he brutally assaulted another victim who did not survive his injuries. Listening to the West Cork podcast brought back memories of the shady dealings of local police in rural Ireland. It felt like being retraumatised all over again. They're right up there with Bailey on the scale of assholery." - Local rumours have been in Schull that a high ranking Gardaí policeman who used a blue Ford Fiesta, was the culprit and that Bailey was used as a scapegoat; a blow in and an eccentric loon who was already known to have beaten up his girlfriend on numerous occasions. Gardaí started their investigation with 50 suspects, and condensed them to one in the space of exactly two weeks.... Tunnel vision. Jim Sheridan revealed in his Sky series about this case that fingerprints wére found at the crime scene; they just did not match Ian Bailey's! I think we have a murderer still at large, if he (or she) is still alive after all this time. 

And here more case details are summarized: "Alfie Lyons: Sophie’s neighbour (it was his partner Shirley Foster who discovered Sophie’s body) who apparently she had conflict with according to her house keeper. (Rumours of a land dispute which was never proven). Strangely, although the neighbours home was closer Sophie, still ran to the gate instead of her neighbours house. But that may have been because she had been confronted at her back door. The forensic team would come to the conclusion that Sophie had walked from the house to the gate (a couple of hundred yards). Alfie was also the person who claimed he had introduced Ian to Sophie when he did some work on Alfie’s home. Also confirmed by another local Leo Bolger who had been working on Sophie’s home doing repairs that same day and witnessed the introduction."

*With regards to this neighbour Alfie Lyons, it is indeed peculiar that he was quickly ruled out as a suspect. Michael Sheridan delved further into him in his book 'Death in December: The Story of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier' and he states that Sophie had indeed a fractious relationship with Alfie Lyons. Sheridan states that they had disputes in the past and that Sophie’s housekeeper, Josephine Hellen who was sometimes assisted by her husband Finbar, had felt it was Alfie who was using her bath while she was away. This surely must raise the question as to why we are not told why Alfie Lyons is excluded as a suspect. He knew the area, he knew when Sophie was and wasn't at her home there. Alfie Lyons lives 20 yards behind Sophie’s house while Bailey lives 4.7kms away. She would have probably let him in in the dark hours, trusting her direct neighbour. Alfie was the one to bring up that he had introduced Ian bailey to Sophie; something which he vehemently denies. It could also, perhaps, explain why Sophie did NOT run to her neighbours, but to a much further situated fence, leading onto a lonely road. 

Mystery French man: It’s recently come to light that Gardai have been given the name of a Frenchman reportedly seen with Sophie Toscan du Plantier on the afternoon before her murder. Detectives are to check out whether he secretly stayed with the French TV producer at her Schull home . The man is in his fifties and currently lives in Paris. He is known to Sophie’s late husband Daniel and also some members of the extended family. He was allegedly spotted by Marie Farrell standing outside her shop wearing a long dark coat in the west Cork village on the last day she was seen alive while Sophie bought a copy of the French Le Monde newspaper inside. (Read an extensive report on Marie Farrell's mess of statements here, under point 7). Sophie's uncle was also reported to have met with a garage owner who used to work in Skibbereen and who reported seeing Sophie with a mystery man days before the killing. And then there was the travel agent from Galway who met a ‘frazzled’ Frenchman who mentioned west Cork the day after Sophie was killed. The man apparently booked a hotel next to the airport before leaving the country. He’s never been tracked down.

A Frenchman from Marseille, living in the Schull area at the time; Sophie’s former lover Bruno Carbonnet spoke of an odd meeting with a man during his time in west Cork with Ms Toscan du Plantier. Speaking to French police in an official statement, Mr Carbonnet said: ‘One day, when on a visit to west Cork, we went to a restaurant in Goleen… There was a Frenchman at the neighbouring table and somebody called him the man from Marseille. I cannot remember his name… ‘He came over to our table and introduced himself. He talked to us and asked where Sophie lived. When she told him, he said he had tried to buy the same house. He asked me was I a hunting man and I said no.’ Mr Carbonnet then claimed that the man said to him: ‘But you’re interested in women?’ The French artist stated that Sophie did not like this remark and that the man from Marseille went on to make small talk about fishing before Sophie asked where his own house was. ‘The meeting was odd,’ Mr Carbonnet concluded. 

Bruno Carbonnet: 
Artist and Sophie’s former lover, Bruno Carbonnet, was also one of the original suspects identified by the Gardai. He raised eyebrows after Sophie unexpectedly ended their three-year relationship in 1993 and started to harass her. In January 1997, the Gardai travelled to France to interview him just weeks after Sophie’s death, however, he was soon eliminated from the investigation as he had a concrete alibi. French police established through a receipt, which Carbonnet signed for the installation of a telephone at his apartment, that he was in Paris on December 23rd, 1996, the day Ms Toscan du Plantier was murdered.

The local policeman with the blue Ford Fiesta; Martin O’Sullivan was nearly driven off the road on the early morning of december 23rd. Just after 7.30 AM he made his way to work along the quiet road to Durrus that leads to the home of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. As he drove north, a blue Ford shot up behind him at high speed. O’Sullivan was forced to slam on the brakes as the car overtook him on a dangerous bend and nearly ran him off the road. He noticed its headlights were on and the rear number plate was red. O’Sullivan gave a statement to gardaí about the suspicious car he had seen, telling them he was fairly certain it was not from the immediate locality. O’Sullivan expected gardaí to carry out an appeal asking for the public’s help in identifying the driver but they never did; nor did they perform door-to-door inquiries in the locality where the suspicious car had been seen. Allegations have emerged that a senior member of the police force may have been responsible for Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s death. The  officer is now deceased, but was "a notoriously violent person and a sexual predator infamous for having affairs with women, particularly foreigners". A married man who was strikingly handsome, he was a rampant alcoholic who is described as having abused his power whenever he could. He also drove a blue Ford car. It is believed the officer may have come into contact with du Plantier because of her fears about drug-dealing in the countryside close to her. Some in the area claim he had a sexual encounter with the Sophie. The garda at the centre of these allegations was not involved in the investigation. On his deathbed, he was said to be a profoundly disturbed man. 

The hitman theoryThere was the theory of a hitman who had been hired by Sophie’s husband Daniel Toscan du Plantier to carry out the murder. Daniel had been in some financial difficulty and it is believed that Sophie had a large insurance policy on her life that her husband was the beneficiary of. Sophie had also been having an affair in the years prior to her death which Daniel knew of. Sophie’s husband, somewhat infamously, did not travel to west Cork to identify his wife’s body. Frederic Gazeau, a cousin of Sophie’s, said that Daniel ‘refused to go to Ireland to answer the investigators’ questions. Quite surprising when his wife just died.’

Marie Farrell herself; she was the only person who placed herself near the crime scene, with her statements of driving at night in the area with a mystery man she never identified, not even in the court room under oath. Her ongoing lies about what and who she saw that night, make her a rambling mess of a witness and possibly, in some people's view, even a potential suspect. 

And in my view another potentially important one: a German man, 
Karl Heinz Wolney was a musician and lived about a mile from Sophie's house. He lived there alone, after his marriage failed and his wife had returned to Germany. He played in Crookhaven on the night that the French film producer was killed. Wolney returned home that night on his own and had no further alibi. What makes him tand out is the following: Wolney committed suicide shortly after Ian Bailey was arrested for the first time on February 1997, and several months after Sophie's killing. He did so after allegedly telling a friend and leaving a note stating 'I have done something terrible'. And that he couldn't live with himself. But at the time of Sophie’s murder, Wolney made a statement to the Gardai denying to have ever seen or known Sophie. The friend told Gardai about the confession. 





Police photo inconsistencies
Notice by the way how there are differences between these police photos. In one photo there are two chairs placed more in front of the window, in another they are positioned alongside the table. In one photo there is a blueish coat hanging over one chair, in the next photo it is gone. Is this the work of Gardai? What's going on here? 






Some other people's comments that are interesting

aenflex wrote"IMO there are only a few aspects of this case that are certain:
-The killer knew where she lived and knew that she was in town, (despite her arriving only a few days before). This, to me, points to the fact that her killer knew her, and perhaps she him. Acquaintances, friends, lovers, etc.
-She purposely left her house to go outside, albeit for a quick trip, as evidenced by her putting her boots on and a housecoat over her nightclothes. You don't put boots on the answer the door, housecoat, sure, but you don't put on footwear to just open the door.
-The murder occurred outside, where she went willingly. (You don't put your boots and housecoat on to run away from a deranged maniac in your house).
-Her manner of death is quite obvious.
Thanks to a completely incompetent and likely crooked investigation, I don't think any more aspects of this case can be known with complete certainty. Any number of theories can be spun up based on these few certainties, and that's the problem with this case. That, and the shoddy investigative work. Some of my personal speculations: The murder didn't happen after she had retired to bed for the night. I base this on the fact that she left a partially cut into loaf of bread sitting out. Most people would put away food, or at least wrap it back up, before going to bed for the night. Whether it happened early in the night before she went to sleep, or early in the morning after she awoke and began eating breakfast is anyone's guess. Time of death was never established, difficult to do anyhow, and also ambient temperature can have a lot of effect on how a body moved through the post-death stages. She most likely had recent company as there were two wine glasses and two chairs drawn up to the heater. The killing was spontaneous. A crime of acute rage using the nearest weapons at hand. Ian Bailey was clearly capable of acute rage that he frequently outlet on Jules. There is no forensic evidence tying him to the case, but there is no forensic evidence tying anyone to the murder, and clearly someone did it. [Scarlet: well, there was some DNA found on Sophie's shoe, and it did not match Ian bailey. That means it must match with somebody else..] Despite all of the circumstantial evidence surrounding Bailey, I wouldn't personally be surprised to learn the murder was done by someone else. A scorned lover, perhaps. The German she was allegedly seeing, maybe. I also wouldn't be surprised if Ian Bailey did the murder, either. Thanks to the bungled investigation, we will never know."

ZLO_Zooke: "I believe the housecoat you refer to is a blue bath robe, to me, this would be something you may well put on to be around the house before you got dressed or alternatively after you changed into your comfy pyjamas early evening. I completely agree with her leaving the house willingly. I'm sure I've read or seen that she had a 'no shoes upstairs rule' which means she almost certainly wore slippers or similar indoor footware around the house, not her boots. Bear in mind this was December, so it got dark early and the sun rose at just after 8 AM (I recall seeing 2 slightly different times mentioned across various sources). Who walks down the path in the pitch dark. I have never heard mention of a torch, of which there must have been one at the cottage. The wine glasses probably do suggest a guest, but guest who had either left or stayed the night. Do people wash the glasses while guests are still there unless they are going to bed with the guest still present? The murder appears singular, and therefore most likely deeply personal, as far as I know this killer hasn't gone on to bash other women to death in this manner. The German man Karl Heinz Wolney who lived a mile from Sophies house committed suicide the following February after allegedly telling a friend 'I have done something terrible'.

aenflex wrote: "I have long wondered about the ‘guest’. If she indeed had company that day/evening, or the previous day, a friend from town or neighbor, then why didn’t that person come forward? Why is there no record of whomever this guest was, if there was indeed a guest? If the visit was social and typical, not murderous, you’d think that person would’ve come forward, been interviewed, etc."

ZLO_Zooke wrote: "We need more knowledge of Sophie to assess the 2 glasses assumptions, for instance if this happened at my mom's house I could say for sure she had had a guest, because my mom is anal about washing up / putting stuff away. Whereas if it happened at my house people who know me would say 2 glasses on the draining board in no way implied company. So, maybe she is a bit like me and used a clean wine glass before washing / putting away a previously used one. These are things only people very close to her would know, although my albeit limited experience tells me a woman is more likely to wash up as she goes along than not. The only circumstances I see in which a guest could appear to be responsible is if they murdered her as she was there to close the gate behind their car. Is it possible they then went back to the house to retrieve something ? With no evidence from the house it's a theory going nowhere, but it is viable although it's not for me this one. Most of the issue's we the interested public end up hitting brick walls with in this case are because there was never a trial and therefore the documents are not in the public domain".

aenflex wrote: "I agree. Not enough is publicly known about her personality, habits, etc. It’s impossible to know what was typical behavior for her. I’m disinclined to believe the guest, if there was one, was her killer. I gave it a lot of thought and just couldn’t make it fit. But I do believe firmly that she was at the very least acquainted with her killer, if not closely. I read in a Medium article that Sophie’s mother said it was normal for there to be two chairs by the heater because she liked to keep her feet up on the second chair. So there may very well have been no guest at all. Are you aware of the fingerprint situation at her house? I tried to find that information, and maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places. But I don’t know if her house was wiped completely clean of fingerprints and there were just none, or if there were only Sophie’s sprints in the house. It’s just a curiosity that I have. I genuinely don’t think that the murderer entered her house for more than a quick second to perhaps turn the lights off or close the door."

ZLO_Zooke: "I am not aware of any evidence from the house at all, or details of what tests were carried out regarding the house. All I have seen is some photo's from inside the house. Talking about those photos made me have another look at them and either I've made an amazing discovery that no-one has noticed for 25 years or theres a simple explanation already been given for what I can see in these photos. Spot the difference:

There's no way I can be the 1st person to spot that. Edit: For those with not as good eyes as me, there is a blue item over the back of a seat on the 2nd photo that is not there in the other.

aenflex wrote:
 "Yes, there is! How odd. I wonder if one of the Garda or other investigators removed their coat?"

ZLO_Zooke: "After spotting that, I'm not sure how much further I can look into this case without access to some of the actual evidence. Trying to analyse freeze frames from the various tv series in poor resolution is a non-starter. If this is the level of incompetence shown by investigators at the scene then we can't trust anything. Even a complete amateur level sleuth like myself is getting the feeling that all is not as it seems here. However I do understand detectives hold back certain information, there's always things not disclosed that 'only the killer could know'. Another photo shows a larger bed that appears to have been used, there is a plastic 1.5 / 2 litre bottle next to it and also a white object on the floor (is that a cordless phone? Remember this is 1990's tech we are looking at). It's hard to make out details. This would appear to show that Sophie did not sleep in her bedroom as we have been led to believe as the single bed in Sophie's bedroom appears undisturbed. There must have been fingerprints on that bottle, hair in the bed, but I think we are going to discover that evidence like this was just not examined. Still, no matter what other photos may show, I struggle to get past the fact that 2 photos of a single crime scene shot from 2 different angles show such a blatant discrepancy. Is anything I am looking at true?"

I also like to highlight some interesting comments below this blog post from 'anonymous': "The fact Sophie had boots on that were laced indicates to me she prepared herself to go outside. She was not barefoot. The keys in the door - I leave my keys in the door if I am quickly going outside for something. Was she escorting someone from her house.. a visitor.. to the main gate? Or going to meet someone at the gate? Either way something happened AT the gate. That's where it got nasty. And explains why she didn't run to the neighbour's.. If something happened at the house, they were closer to run to. And it explains why the neighbour's heard nothing and saw no car lights. The blood on the door was hers.... Could that be an injury from earlier on her hand? Actually, the blood could have transferred to the door if the murderer entered the house to remove fingerprints if they had been there moments earlier ... before being escorted to the gate where the murder subsequently occurred.

Has nobody noticed... The keys are in the FRONT door where the letterbox is. The blood is on the BACK door by the kitchen. So, if the murderer entered the house after the killing it was, in theory given the blood, via the back door. So, question is: was that door found to be unlocked? If so, then when she exited the house either to escort someone from it or to it from the gate, she knew the back door was going to be open. Re-entry to the house was not going to be via the front door. Looking at the house layout, the boot room was off the kitchen. That's where she put her boots on to leave the house. So I reckon that the back door WAS unlocked when her body was found. And that was the door she intended to return through when she left the house (either to escort someone from it or to meet someone at the gate). IF someone had been in the house earlier, they would know after the murder it was open and would use it to return to clear evidence. Hence, blood on the door!! So, that's my theory. She put her boots on and used the back door, leaving it open to go to the gate for a reason. She didn't put a coat on as she thought she would not be long. Would be interesting to know what time she normally got up in the morning at and what her usual breakfast would have been. My theory is that she was murdered early in the morning, the fruit and nuts in her stomach could potentially have been breakfast. The cut bread could have been for toast. From the house she saw someone at the gate. Spurred her to go out and see what they wanted.. Or confront them? (I couldn't see a lone woman doing THAT late at night in the dark for any reason whether they expected someone or not or knew the person or not). How could anyone be identified in the dark? And that's when something happened. Murderer entered the house to retrieve something..."

ZLO_Zooke also wrote: "The lack of crime scene evidence is startling, and offers little hope of solving this case. We have no idea of the time of the murder which makes multiple scenarios viable. It is a long way from the house to the gate, which seems to imply that Sophie being found at the gate was not coincidental. What was she doing at the gate ? Obviously there was someone else there so it implies she was there either to let someone in, or to close the gate after someone left. As has been previously noted, if she was running for help, why run away from the other 2 houses. Anyone attempting to get to the house undetected by foot seems unlikely to have opened the gate fully just to walk through. The woman who found Sophie said she was surprised the gate was open. If the gate was opened for a vehicle, we have a whole other avenue of investigation that should have been done, there would be bloodstains somewhere inside the car a killer had used after this murder. Is there someone connected to the case who had a car 'stolen' and found burnt out or never found in the days following the murder? If we go with the morning theory, it is possible that she was seeing someone off after they had been at her house that night. I can think of previous times in my life where after a night with someone they would walk outside in their bed clothes to the edge of their property to see me off in the morning. But this is hard to match with the lack of forensic
evidence in the house. [..] It is my understanding at least 2 items were used to kill Sophie, a piece of slate and a concrete block. The concrete block appears smeared with blood in many places implying this was used to deliver the final blows, what kind of killer switches weapons during a murder? Was the concrete used after the killer had initially walked away from her and then returned? How Sophie was killed must enable a profile of a killer to be assembled by a criminal psychologist, from the above paragraph, this is not your everyday murder. The bloodstain on the door, this is really odd as it implies the killer went to the house after Sophie was attacked, yet no evidence was found of anyone else having been there. Did the killer walk all the way back to the house afterwards, what for? If they had blood on their hands they must have had blood on other parts of them. This walk back to the house yet leaving no other evidence but the single mark on the outside of the door just doesn't sit well with me. Marie Farrell, she could easily be the red herring in the case. But, of course she was not alone, so someone else was with her in the car when they drove past a man she claimed was Ian Bailey, placing him at the scene. To not have this 2nd person who is a key witness is ridiculous. The detectives must have realised this, so their failure to identify him is inexplicable. These are also the only 2 people we can actually place near the crime scene during that night which makes not identifying him almost a crime in itself."

Ash_daisy wrote: "I have a theory about this case....my mind has been running alot with the witnesses... but what if Farrell is covering up for someone who's capable of Sophie's death. I remember she called stating where she saw Bailey but she called under a fake name...they then found out her real name. Then later on in the case she says, she was seeing a man that night and she lies to the judge about this man's name. What if the man she was seeing was the killer? And she was just pointing at Bailey to get the attention on him. Crazy theory, I know!! But something is off about her. Out of everyone in the documentary, she lied the most...but why!"

chunk84 replied: "Lots of people saying the same in this thread. She has inserted herself so much in the investigation. First saying she saw a man with a black coat stalking Sophie in the town, then Ian on the bridge (which she said was a lie). The other day she has identified a French man as the man stalking her. Very odd."

And J_M_Bee wrote about Ian Bailey's possible motives: "Jules's house is four miles from the crime scene; that's an hour-long walk at least; if he went there that cold December night, I don't think he would've walked, and I think the only reason people even consider this is what's-her-name's since retracted story about seeing a man out walking near such and such bridge. Bottom line: if you have him heading over toward Sofie's in the middle of the night, I think you have to have him heading over there by car. So you have Ian trying to get past Sofie's gate at 2 AM. In your opinion, what is he thinking at that point? "I'm going to knock on this attractive French woman's door at 2 AM and chat her up"? "I'm going to peep into her windows in order to see what I can see"? What exactly are his thoughts or intentions at that point, IYO? What is his aim? Perhaps she sees his car lights at the bottom of the lane and heads out to investigate. That's more plausible than people who have him getting to her front door and then the two of them somehow ending up at the bottom of the drive. So Sophie asks Ian what the hell he is doing on her property in the middle of the night and ... he goes berserk and assaults her and murders her? This is where I think this account of things comes up really short. Ian Bailey may be any number of things, but he's not a dumb man, he's not some empty-headed brute. He's a sophisticated and intelligent human being. If he went over there that night because he was somehow extra-ordinarily interested in and attracted to Sophie --- the notion that a sophisticated, educated man would approach a woman he was attracted to in this way is already a huge stretch, btw --- and she rejected whatever pretense he invented for being there and for speaking with her, he would've just apologized and gone home. He's not going to murder this woman simply because she isn't having whatever story he's concocted as a pretense to talk to her. Note too that she is not going to be anywhere near him. No chance. A strange man shows up to her drive in the middle of the night? She isn't going to allow herself to be any closer than 20-30 feet from this man. She's going to be 20-30 feet away, saying, "go home, sir; go home, sir, or I'll call the police". And with that, he would've left. I don't see how it proceeds any further."

chunk84 replied, correctly imo: "The idea that a women would get up and go outside to investigate noises in the middle of the night is implausible to me. Id be terrified of I saw head lights at the end of my drive in such an isolated area on my own".

bellbells16 added: "I don't think Ian Bailey did it, the evidence is a mix of circumstantial and witnesses making up lies to try hold a case together. He absolutely loves the attention that the case brings him. Say they found a brand new suspect in the morning, I bet Bailey would have a nervous breakdown about not being the "star" suspect anymore. He has completely hijacked the whole case with his clown show. The idea that Bailey walked to the crime scene is only presented to match up with Marie Farrell's statement that she saw someone on the bridge. She has now admitted that it wasn't Bailey that she saw (I really don't think that she saw anyone) but also the bridge would have been the wrong way for him to go to Sophie's house. He also had a car, so surely he would have driven there? He drove home from the pub and has been known to drink and drive so I doubt that would have stopped him. And as for Marie Farrell, as mad as a hatter and should have been jailed a long time ago. At this point I don't even believe she was on that bridge that night, she has lied so much. I'd honestly believe she was tucked up in bed that night. She just wanted to insert herself in the case for some attention and then the Gardai used her to get things to align how they wanted to. OR she should be looked at as a suspect in the case. I think the timeline of the murder is completely wrong. I think Sophie was murdered early in the morning and that she wasn't there for long before being found. If the Gardai ever looked at that timeline they'd have to let go of Bailey as a suspect completely which is why I think they keep insisting that she was killed in the middle of the night. Sorry, but who get's up in the middle of the night to answer someone banging on your back door when you live in the middle of nowhere and you don't know your neighbours very well? I also think this idea that anyone would call up to someone's house who they don't know in the middle of the night and expected to be welcomed in for sex is just bizarre. The motive for a stranger randomly doing it just isn't there. I think Sophie was seeing someone locally or meeting someone there that weekend.

The murder was very brutal and personal. I do think that she could well have had an argument with a lover, but I really think the investigation over-focused on it being a man when the killer may very well have been a woman. I think that the partner of who she was having the affair with may have shown up at the house that morning after he didn't come home. Say Sophie had someone there that night, the next morning she's up having a breakfast, bread is out on the table. She sees the car pull up at the gate so she goes down to try stop the wife from coming up to the house. I don't think it started at her back door. The back door is close to her neighbours and they would have easily heard an argument. I believe Sophie willingly walked down to the laneway gate that was usually closed. She puts on her boots and goes down. An argument starts and she turns away to go back up to the house and instead is hit over the head with the slate. I don't think she had a full on fight with her killer as there would have been more DNA on her and she would have screamed potentially alerting the neighbours. She must have cut herself on the briars and once she's on the ground the killer just sees red and wants to destroy her face, so they keep going with hitting her. The attack looks like blind rage, a woman's range. The killer goes back up to the house and gets blood on the door. Why do they go up to the house? No one can be that good at cleaning up DNA in such a rush, if anything they'd only highlight a cleanup job. Nothing in the house was disturbed or taken, so to me they went up looking for someone there. Maybe her lover was still there or they were gone already, but I would say they were still there and saw what happened down at the gate. I would fully believe it was a local cop she might have been seeing and that they covered up what the partner did. Sophie brought a lot of luggage with her for a quick visit to Cork, so was she planning to leave her husband and move over there and was her lover planning to leave his wife or partner too? One of the (many!) frustrating things about this case is that bits and pieces keep being dropped from various documentaries and books, it's hard to get the information all together. A man working in a petrol station claimed to have seen Sophie with a male passenger in the car with her that weekend. It was also said in Murder at Roaringwater that the rental car she was using that weekend had the passenger seat pushed back suggesting a tall passenger had been in the car with her. The rental company stated that they always moved the seats back to the standard setting before a new customer collected it. She could have collected whoever was staying at the house to avoid two cars being parked outside. It was also mentioned in Murder At Roaringwater that her neighbour noticed her backdoor light on the night of/before the murder but it was off the next morning when they found her. Surely she would have turned that light on again if she was going to answer the backdoor and it was dark? The biggest tell that there is something more going on with this case is losing that gate. The killer would have had to have touched that gate more than once. I believe the murder was spontaneous, so I doubt they were wearing gloves when they opened it initially and they also touched it with Sophie's blood on them. It had to go missing. Whoever did it got away with the perfect murder. From sheer luck to incompetence from the Gardai and most likely a helping hand getting rid of some more evidence. I feel terribly sorry for the family, they're unlikely to ever get what they are looking for in terms of justice. I think there are too many question marks over the case and if that was someone I loved I would be driven demented wondering if the real killer was out there having gotten away with it while too much focus was on Ian Bailey."

snap2010 replied: "I like your account about how it was the scorned partner showing up, and Sophie trying to get ahead of screaming and fighting so she goes down the lane. How you explain that a it would be a woman's rage - very true, the jealousy and anger would lead this woman to destroy Sophie's face. The face that lured her partner astary. The woman then going up the lane to the house to investigate and leave again is also very good." [Scarlet: and apperantly there was a woman’s DNA under Sophie’s fingernails..]

Used-Change2118 concluded: "I don't think he killed her, and there is no DNA evidence to prove that he did it. Marie is the first suspect bc she claimed she saw him, but who really knows if that is true. Marie has changed her story multiple times. This whole documentary was pointless. Ian Bailey did not kill her. There is no physical evidence. It's just word of mouth and people's opinions. Her husband barely got questioned and he should have been the second suspect".

And this excellent blogger aptly states: "No forensic evidence linking Ian Bailey to the scene was found despite the fact that the murder of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier was the direct result of an apparently frenzied and furious attack upon her in a briar-strewn location. If in fact the attack was carried out in a frenzied manner one might have expected that the assailant would have left traces of blood, skin, clothing fibres or hair at the scene. No such material was discovered. Bailey willingly gave his fingerprints and a sample of his blood to the Gardaí for analysis and examination. These specimens were given at a time when he was aware that apparent bloodstains had been found at the scene. He had been a crime reporter in England and was aware of the nature of forensic evidence. Jules Thomas has stated that on 23 December 1996 (within hours of the murder) Alfie Lyons told Bailey about the bloodstain on the back door of Sophie’s house yet on 10 February 1997 while in custody Bailey willingly gave a sample of blood for analysis. At law he was under no obligation to do so. In interview 6C. Bailey states “I have no doubt what tests are done will clear me. I know I didn’t have anything to do with it. This murder. I had nothing to do with it”. Following his original arrest in 1997, Bailey was interviewed by Pat Kenny on the radio and he indicated that at the request of the Gardaí he had voluntarily provided a sample of his hair because it had been stated that some hair had been found in the hand of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier. It would appear, however, that the hair found at the scene is consistent with hair originating from the deceased. If Bailey had murdered Sophie, he would have known that there was a definite possibility of forensic evidence such as blood, fibres, hair or skin tissue being discovered at the scene. His voluntary provision of fingerprints and a specimen of his blood is objectively indicative of innocence."

With regards to Ian's "premonition", with Jules Thomas stating that he had a feeling thatsomething bad was going to happen, this blogger states the following, interesting things: "This would have been about 12.45 AM on 23 December 1996. However the following six statements, five of which were not submitted with the original Garda file, indicate the following:
1. David Bray at 12.45 AM on 23 December 1996 noted that the wolfhound which he minds was unusually upset.
2. Martin Breuinger confirms that the wolfhound was unusually disturbed between 12 midnight and 2.00 AM on 23 December 1996.
3. Geraldine Kennedy states that her dog was barking mad from 10.30 – 10.45 PM on 22 December and continued this for about three hours practically non-stop.
4. The dog owned by Derry Kennedy and his wife was unusually upset between 10 PM on 22 December 1996 and 1.50 AM on 23 December 1996.
5. Michael Gallagher refers to strange people being in the area on 23 December 1996.
6. Sheila Barnett noted an unusual man in the area earlier on 23 December1996.
This evidence suggests that there could well have been unusual movement in the area where Sophie was killed in the early hours of the morning. Bailey and Jules were drinking in a pub in Schull at the time the dogs initially became upset. Later, Bailey was with Jules Thomas overlooking the scene from a distance and he says he got a bad feeling. This was during the time the dogs were unusually alarmed. Such a sense of foreboding is not considered incriminating. Bailey may have sensed the activity below him which also alarmed the dogs. If he had intended to contact Sophie it is unlikely that he would have invited Jules Thomas to go over to that area with him. Unfortunately, the forensic evidence is unable to pinpoint the time of Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s death. It is not, therefore, possible to say whether she was killed around the time that the dogs were acting strangely, or at a later time in the night or early morning".






*********

Excellent blog called Musings from 
Over the Rainbow

Jacqueline wrote this blog and gave me permission to use some of her findings here. I will highlight some details and critical comments and questions from Jacqueline's blog, which I found interesting.

Musings from Over the Rainbow about Ian Bailey
"Too much time and emphasis has been taken up by the focus on Ian Bailey, the only person who has been arrested twice and released twice. There is no physical evidence against this man and pointing the finger all the time isn’t helpful. I only want the reader to think how they would behave in the circumstances of being accused of a murder they had nothing to do with. Just think how you would find this unbelievable (of course if you hadn’t done it)? So unbelievable and you think others will find it unbelievable too? Many of us have black humour." "Mr Bailey comes across as a little pretentious and theatrical and when this is mixed with dark humour and alcohol (and cannabis) who knows what can be said or how things are acted out. All this being done with the sound knowledge that you didn’t do it and people would see your acting and understand your dark humour.  But no, when the feeling takes some people, they can disregard dark humour as truth… Yes, he had been violent towards his partner, but this does not mean he is guilty of the murder of another woman. The prevalence of domestic violence in Ireland currently is: 
  • *1 in 4 women in Ireland who have been in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner. 
  • *25% of all violent crimes reported involve a man assaulting his wife or partner. (EU Campaign Against Domestic Violence, 2000)
These figures are high and probably would’ve been higher in the 1990s, being reduced over time by education and changes in attitudes and culture. 

Musings from Over the Rainbow about Sophie's stay
"December 20th 1996 was the day when Sophie landed at Cork Airport. Her husband hadn’t taken her to the airport in France. He wasn’t even sure what time her flight was. Sophie is seen on CCTV, pushing a trolly through the airport, looking laden with luggage. There was a lot of luggage for a couple of nights at your own holiday cottage. Most people keep some clothes and toiletries, hairdryer etc at their holiday cottages. So, what was all the luggage for?" "We hear that Sophie picked up a hire car (note:  hire cars are usually filled up with fuel before they are collected), a Ford Fiesta and headed to Schull supermarket where she bought some groceries and a bottle of wine (obviously there was no wine in all that luggage). I presume she headed to the cottage where a local lady, Josephine Hellen, had prepared the cottage for her arrival. This probably means making beds and sprucing the place up. Did this lady know Sophie was coming on her own? Did she share this information with other people? Who knew she was alone?" - "Why was she coming over so near Christmas? Her family says it was to get the heating fixed. Eh? Couldn’t this local lady let someone in to fix the heating? There must have been other reasons. Her husband said it was the first opportunity she had had, due to work commitments and she had not been there since the springtime. Of course, it could quite simply be because she wanted to go, she wanted that time there to get away from the crazy build up to Christmas. Maybe she told her family a white lie about the heating just to shut them up because they couldn’t understand. Allegedly, she did arrange for a tree to be planted outside her and her husband’s bedroom window at their home in France as a Christmas gift to her husband whilst she was at the cottage. A little close to the day, but some of us do leave   
things to the last minute." "Sophie probably stayed in the cottage Friday evening and then on Saturday afternoon she was seen in Schull supermarket and local clothes shop again. Returning to the cottage for Saturday night. There was not that much information to actually confirm what she had done on the Friday and Saturday evening, so I am presuming she spent the time eating, drinking, reading and writing, generally relaxing. Sunday, 22 December Sophie drove to Three Castles Head we’re told and was frightened by what she saw there, a white lady as per keeping with local folklore (of which she was not aware). Apparently, anyone who sees this white lady is faced with impending death. The people who she allegedly reported this to, were a couple who lived near there, the Ungerers. I have not been able to find interviews with this couple. Why? Can we find out what else they had to say? Mr Ungerer was quite a famous illustrator and writer who seemed to be quite a dark character. I am surprised they were not aware of the white lady story. Did you know the Ungerers had three teenage kids living there?  One girl and two boys. One of the boys still lives there. The other boy who was 16 years old in 1996 is now an artist who is fascinated by the raw natural beauty of Irish landscapes and finds them dark and foreboding. He previously worked as a press photographer and photographing ghost estates ie unfinished housing developments. In his paintings he likes to use pinks and reds because it’s like blood infecting the landscape. Interesting. There were, and still are, many dark characters in the West Cork area.

One timescale reports that about 5.45pm she left the Ungerers and went to the pub where she had a bite to eat. Didn’t she relay her frightening experience to anyone in the pub? It apparently really frightened her so you’d think it was highly likely she would have shared this information and queried local folklore. Maybe her fear wasn’t as bad as reported to the Ungerers and she quickly forgot about it. I know there are interviews with the publican. Did anyone else see Sophie in the pub? This visit to the Ungerers and the pub were the last known visible contacts of Sophie. Is there any further information they can provide? Another timeline states Sophie arrived back at the cottage around teatime on Saturday 22 December. It would have been dark. Probably been dark since about 4pm. She phoned her son at 5.30pm and a friend or relative a short while later. Timelines are quite confusing. If she only left the Ungerers house at 5.45pm did she phone her son at 5.30pm?  From where? To solve this case, we need statements of the people who last spoke to Sophie and correct timelines.

There was talk of a Frenchman living locally who she had apparently had a fling with. There was also a local German mentioned. Both this French man and German returned to their native countries after the murder and subsequently committed suicide. Personally, I don’t know how she found time for flings if she had always visited the cottage with someone eg her son, family members or a previous lover. I really think the rumours about local lovers are just that…. rumours. I mean she hadn’t been to her cottage since the springtime according to her husband’s statement and I believe this was her first visit on her own.  A number of blow-ins (ie people not born in Ireland) did flee from the area after Sophie’s murder, probably their dreams of peace and tranquillity shattered.  Feeling ‘blow-ins’ were not as welcome and safe as they thought.Around 9.20pm Sophie called her local housekeeper who was out.  The housekeeper called her back about 9.40pm and they arranged to see each other on Monday 23 December. At about 10.40pm she called her husband who was in a meeting (this was 11.40pm his time). Yes, I thought it odd that he was in a meeting at that time, but if you read about the court hearing in France 2019 in relation to this case, that went on until just before midnight. Anyway, her husband Daniel called her back about 11pm. He said she was sleepy and in bed and their conversation lasted only a few minutes. He did state she told him she had returned home at about 9.30pm. So after her phone call with her son and friend did she go out again? What did they say about the conversation with Sophie? Did she tell them she was going out? The phone call to her husband lasted a few minutes. The next morning at 10.10am Sophie was found by her neighbour, bludgeoned to death at the bottom of the driveway up to her cottage."

Aftermath
"Sophie’s body lay there for almost two days until the pathologist arrived. Due to time lapse and her body being exposed to the winter elements of Ireland, the time of death could not be ascertained. Her body was covered until the pathologist arrived by plastic sheeting. Little DNA was found. No one has ever been charged in Ireland over her murder. One man has been arrested twice and released twice. The same man, Ian Bailey was found guilty of murder in abstentia under French Law in 2019. But the DPP studied the case and in 2014 made the decision that there was no evidence to take anyone to trial. They documented phone calls made on Monday 23 December to and from various people and the duration of calls to try and ascertain when it was possible for persons to know that the murdered victim was a French lady. Well surely it is possible to find out what calls were made to and from Sophie’s cottage whilst she was there? Any phone calls made in the night-time from the cottage?  Any calls to the police about noise or disturbances? There were also a number of reports of dogs and horses being very unsettled that night and that there was apparently lots of activity going on in the area". "Gilligan also noted that there was a full moon overhead when he arrived on the scene late in the evening on the date Sophie body was discovered. According to Bustle, the two most energetically intense moments of the lunar cycle are during the new moon and the full moon. While the new moon signifies new beginnings, the full moon signifies an ending or “release” from the current cycle."

Drugs? 
"There were (and still are) so many drugs coming into the coast of Ireland, in particular County Cork.  Drugs is big business and both locals and the Gardai were / are not immune to the profits to be made. Was there a drop off on the night of 22 to 23 December?  Lots of activity in the area, spooked animals…. A murdered lady who had allegedly made previous complaints to the Gardai about drugs in the area.  Any phone calls from the cottage that night (in fact the whole weekend) may help to enlighten investigators and would be useful. Drugs in Ireland were and still are a massive problem.  One Dublin reporter who was determined to bring down drug gangs, was assassinated whilst waiting at some traffic lights in Dublin 6 months before Sophie was murdered. - Perhaps the detective himself also had concerns about Sophie's complaints which she kept making about nearby drug labs. Theoretically, if she talked too much, could that ruin the corrupt systems in place which provided a good income for some locals, gardai even the church had their fingers in the profits?" 

Alfie Lyons and Shirley Foster
"This couple lived in their cottage further up the lane from Sophie’s cottage. They would have been in their late forties or fifties at the time of the murder and I believe Alfie was known to use drugs (cannabis). There are reports he grew cannabis on his land. He lived about 100 or so yards up the drive from Sophie with his partner Shirley Foster. There is very little information about this couple, I don’t know if there were any sons or daughters living with them or who visited. I don’t know what work they did or how they could afford a house there. There was also friction between Sophie and Alfie… over the gate to the drive. I did get clarity that Sophie liked the gate to be kept closed and Alfie liked it kept open. I don’t know whether it is relevant, but just thinking of where Sophie’s body was found.. with the gate open. Alfie liked the gate open….. Easy access for visitors. Land, property, rights of access can cause untold trouble. I could not find any interviews with either Alfie Lyons or Shirley Foster nor much information except that Alfie died early in 2021 and Shirley put her cottage up for sale. However, there were interviews with them both in the French documentary. Shirley was filmed with her dog walking from her house down the drive to the spot where she found Sophie’s body. Shirley was also surprised the gate was open. Did she know Sophie was at her cottage and so would close the gate? If she knew Sophie was there, they were not that neighbourly with each other to ask if they wanted something picking up from the shops which is where Shirley was going when she found Sophie’s body."

Leo and Sally Bolger
"Leo Bolger was also interviewed.  Allegedly a fellow pot smoker with Alfie. He was another with doleful eyes and slightly bowed head. From memory I think he was just confirming his statement that Sophie and Ian Bailey had met at Alfie Lyons house, which was nothing new. Yes, we know what Leo said, which conveniently matches Alfie’s statement, but can’t we have some more information about Leo? Leo said himself that there were rumours swirling that he wanted Sophie’s cottage with all her land, where he kept his horses. Didn’t he laugh and say it’s easier to buy a cottage with land than to kill someone? Is this ok black humour? A lady had been murdered. Was Leo the mystery person who sometimes went into Sophie’s cottage to relax in her bath…. Wishing the cottage was his? Right near his mate Alfie, horses on his own land. Or was it Alfie who used the bath? Where was Leo on the night / morning of 22-23 December? Leo was complaining that just after the murder, Ian Bailey was pictured going up to Sophie’s cottage and even peering through the window and taking food for Alfie and Shirley. Very naughty of an investigative journalist, I know, but how come it was ok for Leo to go up there himself? That was a crime scene. The Gardai should have taken food for Alfie and Shirley or moved them out, but Leo should not have been going up there either. I believe Leo was going to feed the animals. Which animals? Did he go there every morning to feed them? Did he go there on the morning of 23 Dec? What time? - Perhaps Leo had issues with Sophie too. Charging him and his wife for keeping horses for him, while she was hardly there. Buying up the properties and land and having the cheek to charge locals for using 'their' land."  

Third house
"And did we ever get any intel from the Richardsons who owned the other (3rd) property on the lane? What was life like there? Did they ever see anything odd? Any evidence of a person staying in their cottage? Any drugs? Loud parties at Alfie’s? Did they have any information as to life and relationships in this little area? I am sure they would have some useful information."

Father Denis Cashman
"Father Denis Cashman was the priest who turned up and performed the ‘Last Rites’ over Sophie’s body on the morning of Monday 23 December."

Daniel Toscan du Plantier
Sophie's husband stated a few weeks after the murder.“I learned on Monday 23 December, from a news bulletin on television, that the body of my wife was found close to the house. A few hours later I was informed by the Irish authorities.” What? He learned that his wife was dead from a news bulletin on the telly? They didn’t give her name for hours. Was he expecting to hear of a murder in Cork? He seemed to know it was his wife before her name had been released."

Others
"There are no interviews I could find with the Ungerers or Josephine Hellen and her husband either. I believe statements with some very key persons involved in this case were lost in a flood or something.  Handy.  There are so many statements relating to Ian Bailey’s strange behaviour but very little from crucial persons.
*A local man on his way to work gave the gardai a statement about a blue Ford car with a rear red registration number driving so fast it almost caused his car to career off the road.  This was about 7.30am on the morning of 23 December very close to Sophie’s cottage.  This statement was not taken any further by the gardai. Why? I believe this to be one of the most crucial and credible pieces of evidence.  
*And what about the reports of the French man who returned a hire car to Knock airport. The car had blood in many areas and bloodied fabric and clothes in the boot. The man who had taken receipt of the return of the car was not happy and complained about the mess. The Frenchman boarded a flight to Paris and nothing ever came of this information."

More comments and questions
"There are a few photos taken of the table inside of the house. The same area but on the back of the chair, nearest to the back door in one photo there is some folded up blue fabric (blanket, dressing gown??) that is not on the similar framed photo. Surely some gardai with a cleaning and tidying fetish could not have picked the dressing gown up, folded it and put it on the back of the chair? Surely not…. That’s not possible is it? Washed some dishes?? Tidied up so it would look nice for the family. No, not possible. Is it??
-Also, the bed that had been apparently slept in didn’t look like someone had slept in it as such. Pillows propped up, covers not disturbed enough to show someone had actually lay down properly for a good sleep. And what’s that white fabric on the bed? It has crossed my mind that the images are staged. Everywhere is clean and tidy. 
-Was it cold in the cottage if the heating was broken? When did the heating get fixed? Who fixed it? Were they interviewed? 
-The keys are in the front door; the door on the side of the front porch facing the fields and lane; The area where the bread was being cut is at the window facing the lane going up to Alfie and Shirley’s cottage. It does not face the drive and gate. 
-Was anyone else using Sophie’s cottage when she wasn’t there? I would go as far back as the previous year or so to look at calls to and from the cottage to see if calls were made or received when Sophie wasn’t there.  
-And what has happened to Sophie’s Travel Diary that is spoken of? What was written in the lead up to the evening and morning of 22 and 23 December 1996. Surely in her travel diary there would be evidence if she knew Ian Bailey and planned to meet up with this poet.  I mean her relative surely can’t expect people to believe that she remembered Sophie mentioning an Ian Bailey years after her murder.  Frankly, I don’t think they did know each other."

Jacqueline concluded pignantly: "The case goes on and on and round and round in circles as crucial evidence is not available and interview records have been lost or damaged and lies have been told. There were many dark happenings going on and I understand people were very fearful of both the gardai and the church." - Read more of her writings about this case here




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Statement from Daniel Toscan du Plantier about the murder of his wife

In the weeks following the murder, Sophie’s husband Daniel Toscan du Plantier gave a statement to police about his last words with his wife. This is the statement of Mr Daniel Toscan du Plantier, 55 years, producer, made to Jean Louis Chaumet, Police Commandant:

“I am the husband of Sophie Bouniol, who died on 23.12.1996, in the Schull area of Ireland. She was my associate, but from 1988, she left her work and our relationship became more intimate, we began to share a life and some years later, I married her. Sophie was very dynamic. She was a young impulsive woman, sometimes to the point of being aggressive and would not be in the habit of letting herself be walked on. In effect she was more than a tough character, with a strict moral code, who feared nothing. She rather avoided the world of society and gossip and preferred the chic and popular quarters where she felt more at ease. She was passionate about African art and had produced a programme on African bondage, which was transmitted at the beginning of December 1996. I have to say, that like all couples, disputes arose, because Sophie was not an easy person to live with. In those moments she would not hesitate to leave our home and go to her close confidante, her cousin Alexandra, who lives in Geneva. She was equally very close to Agnes Thomas, who was indeed a confidante. If our life as a couple was ­sometimes not without hitches, she still decided to have a child and had ceased to use any form of ­contraceptive. She expressed the desire about four years ago, to purchase a house in Ireland, in a wild and isolated area, in keeping with her character. I therefore bought, at her request and in her name, for I think 400,000 French Francs (about €61,000), a house situated in the immediate proximity to Fastnet Lighthouse. Personally, I only went there once, about three or four years ago and I was able to appreciate the beauty of the place. Sophie has told me how she loved long walks in the Irish countryside, with her books, it was her favourite pastime when she holidayed there. She used to go there three or four times a year, to holiday for a week with friends, relatives or children. She was the mother of a boy from a previous marriage, Pierre Baudey, aged about 15 years. During her absences, the house was maintained by a woman from the village who was called Josie. Because of her professional life, Sophie had only been able to go to her Irish house once, in the spring, much to her regret. She had therefore, decided to holiday there at the end of December, during a slack period in her work. However, beginning on 25th December, she had to return to France, to accompany me to Dakar, to visit friends. She left Paris on Wednesday, 20th December, about 9.30am, for Dublin or Cork, I am not exactly sure. I did not accompany her to the airport. During her holidays in Ireland, she would call me every day and often very late in the evening. She did not detract from that habit and called me every day and even several times a day, without ever, for one moment, intimating any problem."

“On Sunday 22nd December, I was in my second home in Ambax, in Haute-Garonne, and between 11.30pm and midnight, French time, I had a call from Sophie. I was however in a work meeting with my associates in Unifrance and I indicated to Sophie that I would call her, which I did about 12 minutes later. When I made contact, I immediately noticed in her voice, that she was on the point of falling asleep and that she was in bed. I think that during the conversation, she told me that. The conversation lasted a few minutes and dealt with trivialities and on the visit she had made during the day to Mr and Mrs Ungerer, who live a few kilometres from her house. She got to know Mr Ungerer last April and had been won over by his personality and his talents as a cartoonist. I think that he is the author of cartoons for children, but with a style more suited to adults. According to what she told me, she had returned home about 9.30pm, I suppose the Ungerers had kept her for dinner. If not, she would have gone to a pub for a sandwich or would have had a piece of cheese and a glass of red wine. Clearly, she was very happy with this visit and had been very ‘taken’ by Mr Ungerer, to such an extent that they formed a work project together. I am saying that in a telephone call that I received on the morning, my wife had told me she had finally intended to return to France on 24th December and that she had been able to get a seat on a flight arriving in Toulouse at 8.00pm, though she had initially anticipated returning on 25th December. There was no particular reason for this change of plan and it was agreed that I would meet her at Toulouse-Blagnac, on the arrival of the Aer Lingus flight. During the last telephone conversation Sophie did not make any reference to any particular plan. I felt she was already in her bed and was tired. I say that to my knowledge, she did not take sleeping pills. In her Irish house, Sophie would sleep wearing a night dress, T-shirt, pyjamas or other such. I know that she had communication with the occupants of two other houses. There was no history with the English people who lived there. In the case of an altercation, Sophie had such a temperament that she could fly into a rage and was not the type to offer no resistance. Equally, and in the same vein, I’m saying, that because of her character, my wife would not hide from any noise outside, but would rather go out to investigate. I had been able to verify that several times. She used to frequent the local pub, whose ambience was agreeable to her, as in Paris, where she used to frequent the popular cafés."

“I learned on Monday 23 December, from a news bulletin on television, that the body of my wife was found close to the house. A few hours later I was informed by the Irish authorities. I have absolutely no idea as to the perpetrator of the crime and do not see any possible motive for such an act, other than it being an act of violence. At no moment did she speak of receiving or inviting anybody after my telephone call. I do not at the minute wish to say anything more. I do not have it in mind to return to Ireland. I am ready to receive here in Paris, police officers dealing with the case, if they deem it necessary.”

SIGNED: Daniel Toscan du Plantier.
WITNESS: Jean Louis Chaumet, Police Commandant.



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Later, Daniel Toscan du Plantier also claimed to a journalist that Sophie
had been pregnant when she was murdered

Sophie was pregnant when she was murdered. Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier was in the early stages of pregnancy at the time of her brutal death.

MON, 19 JAN, 2004 
EDDIE CASSIDY
"The announcement to her husband, Daniel, in Paris, may have been made from her West Cork retreat on the weekend she was killed. The revelation Sophie was expecting was later conveyed by her husband to a French-based journalist. However, film-maker Mr Toscan du Plantier died last year without establishing proof of Sophie’s condition. An autopsy, carried out by former state pathologist Dr John Harbison after Sophie’s Christmastime murder in 1996, was not divulged to her family despite repeated requests by her late husband. Sophie and Daniel, who had children from previous marriages, expressed a desire for a child. In his book, Death in December, in which Michael Sheridan tells the story of Sophie’s life and death, the 38-year-old murder victim was reportedly obsessed about having a child. Her husband told the author Sophie’s preference was for a baby girl who would be named Therese. A Paris-based journalist has claimed Daniel Toscan du Plantier revealed to him that Sophie was pregnant.

“She was in the early stages of pregnancy and they had talked about it in their last ever phone call,” the British-born writer said. Asking not to be identified, he said the disclosure came on a film set in Le Mans in late 1997. “I remember it well, it was a buffet lunch on the set and Daniel approached. "He knew I had written on the French reaction to the murder. Down the years, we had met regularly. He gave me a very definite impression he knew Sophie had been pregnant. "He talked continuously about her for about three-quarters of an hour and I hardly got a word in. I’m also sure I wasn’t the only person he talked to about the likelihood of Sophie expecting a baby. At that time, he was very annoyed about the progress of the police investigation. He also told me he was quite sure who the killer was.” Sophie’s badly battered body was discovered by a neighbour on a laneway leading to her retreat near Schull. As no one has been charged with the killing, the autopsy report is not likely to be made public while the garda file remains open."


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Photo section






 

 






























Location of the house
thanks to anonymous in the comments for pointing me to this 



More info 



West Cork Podcast by: Jennifer Forde and Sam Bungey











48 comments:

  1. Strange case - if he had his scratches from the victim - there must be a lot of material under her nails, on barbed wire must be his blood.

    If he moved on the partner's daughter - it doesn't mean he is a psycho yet. Even if he howled on moon - doesn't look that strange for that place according to looks of the local landscapes.

    People argue and even can fight but it's far more from kill somebody with a peiece of concrete. No proof that he did it.

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  2. I have been hearing about this case since it occurred but never really took notice until now. I wanted to find out what was the actual evidence that they had on Bailey. What evidence did the Gardai have in the beginning to make him a suspect? There is not a shred of evidence against this man. A phoney phone call from Ms Farrell that was not true; a few scratches on his hands and forearms (normal in that landscape at christmas) - nothing!
    The one thing that would make him suspicious are the photographs that the developer was developing showing negatives of a woman lying on the ground on farmland near a gate beside barbed wire and thorns. I didnt hear about that until now. Upto this point I was annoyed that Bailey has spent 24 years being hounded for a crime that there is no evidence to pin it to him. It is astounding, the lack of evidence and the time this man has lost.

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    1. There is a wealth of circumstantial evidence against Ian Bailey.
      It comes in three stands.
      The first category relates to Ian Bailey and Sophie Toscan du Plantier – did he know her? When did he learn of her murder? How did he to get to the murder scene? Did he take photographs of her body and what did he know of her injuries? Questions where witnesses say one thing and he says the contrary.
      The third category of evidence relates to the controversial area of admissions – over half a dozen witnesses who made statements to gardaí where they said they believed Bailey had confessed to killing Toscan du Plantier to them only for him to vigorously deny ever making such admissions.

      The last area of circumstantial evidence relates to what the French called “materiel evidences” – the closest that the Garda and the French investigators came to some objective physical evidence that might link Ian Bailey to the killing in the clear absence of incontrovertible forensic and DNA evidence.
      The guards in the area handed out a questionnaire to all the locals in the area and asked them to fill it in. The guards had also extensively tracked Sophie's movements from the moment she arrived at Cork airport. Ian Bailey filled in and returned his questionnaire. He had filled in that he didn't know Sophie du Plantier, had never met her. And was at home the entire time of her movements. This was his first mistake. He had been seen staring at Sophie as she picked up some supplies in Schull. He later made a statement that he had in fact seen her in town at the time. He later changed his statement that he did know her.
      There is a mountain of circumstantial evidence against Mr Bailey and he would have been tried and probably convicted, however, the DPP knew that the guards in the area were involved in highly illegal activity ( giving drugs to witnesses, tapping phones illegally etc ). A case involving such practices in evidence gathering could blow up in their faces. They'd probably have to resign from their jobs. It's understandable that they refused the case. However, it is absolutely a tragedy that Ian Bailey still walks our streets, still seeks out attention, and still plays the victim in this case.
      This article is a good primer on the evidence involved.

      https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/a-23-year-investigation-what-next-for-the-sophie-toscan-du-plantier-murder-case-1.4123633

      This book is free to read. It's section on the libel case in 2003 contains compelling evidence against Bailey. Evidence given under oath in a court of law and accepted as valid in that court.

      https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=JmSNAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&pg=GBS.PP1

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    2. Circumstantial evidence is not the same as hard forensic evidence and of that there is absolutely none. The French court case was a farce. No defendant, no defense lawyer, they used the old lies of Marie Farrell (she admitted it were lies). There is no hard evidence that Bailey did it. His DNA or blood weren't found at the crime scene. The evidence found on Sophie's shoe wasn't his. The scratches were superficial and looked nothing like briars wounds. Police didn't even photograph his hands, another blunder. There are quite a few other potential suspects who simply were never investigated. Just because he acts odd does not make him guilty. There simply is no hard evidence.

      We do have evidence by now that gardai were corrupt, incompetent and that they tried to stitch him up. Classic tunnel vision. With regards to the black coat for instance, Sky' Murder at the cottage series shows you gardai police blatantly lying that they never found Ian's coat, when in fact the police files themselves are also shown, stating in black and white that they TOOK his coat, checked it, found no blood or DNA of Sophie and then in good old gardai tradition.... Lost it. Just like that gigantic fence with blood on it. Lost as well by police. Let's hope none of us ever need/have a ready-for-war gardai team like that 'investigating' us. They even failed to determine a time of death and left her out in the cold and rain.

      AND as for the supposed witnesses: Sophie's friend suddenly REMEMBERED that Sophie supposedly told her about Ian Bailey over decade LATER. She remembered it suddenly right before the French court case in fact. Such sudden, very late memories wouldn't stand the test of a decent lawyer. The "confessions" of others, detailed in the DPP report, were taken out of context. One of them was reported 11 MONTHS after the event. Other people had been downright bribed, blackmailed or influenced by gardai, who frightened the whole community that Bailey was the killer and on the loose and had to be charged, so bring us the evidence! It is pretty shocking tbh to read how these interviews by gardai took place and just how much they forced or dragged 'testimonies' out of people. And even then, the testimonies are all hearsay. And hearsay does not equate automatically with evidence, which is why it is not used in civilized justice systems.

      Plenty of people had no alibi, like the German violent drunk man living closer to Sophie. He beat his wife and also had no alibi. He committed suicide a couple of months later allegedly saying that he had done a "terrible thing".

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    3. Yes, the crime-scene was messed up. Does this automatically mean Ian Bailey is innocent? Have you ever heard of statement analyses? Ian Bailey was asked a short question, but instead of giving a short answer, he gives a prolonged answer. "I know, I had nothing to do with this murder". Thats a prologned answer. He complicates an uncomplicated question. Did you know Sophie du Plantier? He could have given a short answer: "No". Again he gives a prolonged answer. So unwillingly he shows, that the question is problematic for him, even though it shouldnt be. These are indicators of an unreliable denial. He could have made a reliable denial: "No, I didnt know Sophie du Plantier". Instead of: "I didnt know her, in so far as I´ve never meet her". I think he´s a psycopathic liar and all psychopaths are narcissists. He´s very self-aware of his language. The self-awareness serves as self-serving statements, that remove responsibility from him. f.x: "We were drunk, and then she attacked ME and I pushed her away." He doesnt need a lie detector test, his own language incriminates him. Maria Farell only retracted when the police removed their protection. But if you think Marie Farells retraction is a reliable denial, then why hasnt Ian Bailey sued her? Afterall, Maria Farell destroyed his life. Why hasnt Maria Farell been indicted, prosecuted and convicted for committing perjury? The DPP is covering up the crime. The DPP systematically invalidates every witness statement, and brands it as prejudicial, (hearsay, rumour, innuendo, speculation, suspicion) and conditional, when its AGAINST Bailey, and affirmative when it CLEARS him. On what basis does the DPP conclude, that every wittness statement in this case, is prejudicial and lacking in evidential value? How does Sunday Tribune News Editor, Helen Callanan´s statement or the statements of Dick Cross of the Irish Independent, Irish Independent picture editor Padraig Beirne, Guardian Paris correspondent Paul Webster, and freelance photographer Mike MacSweeney ect ect, lack any evidential link to the offence charged? I dont accept the premise of the DPP thats its unsubstantial, its circumstantial, but its illogical to think, that only incontrovertible forensic and DNA evidence, is admissable in a court. An Irish court can convict on circumstantial evidence, once the jury are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt.

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  3. I am curious as to the exact location and address of Sophie’s cottage, and also Ian’s. There are many sources that say different locations... Schull, Golleen, Toormore, Drinane, etc. Do you know the exact location and address?

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    1. Hi, I found this info: Straight out the road out of Schull heading for Goleen, you come to a place called Tooramore. And just past that there's a little bridge. There will be a house on your left at the bridge (Where he was supposedly howling at the moon in the book). Then on your right you'll see a laneway and drive straight up that to the house.

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    2. Hi. Thank you for the reply. Firstly, I am not planning on going there... just trying to find it in google maps. The only possibility I see for a small bridge is on the R591, just outside of Toormore ( whereR591 meets with Kealfadda ) And as far as I can am aware, her house was a rather large white 5-dormer, and she had 2 close neighbours. Anyway, after that bridge ( if indeed it is the bridge in question) I can see no small dead-end roads with just 3 cottages. Help! 🤔

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    3. Hi, I uploaded maps of the supposed location, right at the bottom of this blog post. It seems to be around the red arrow. But I haven't been there in person so I am not 100% sure

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    4. Excellent overall work, really good summary of some of the many circumstancial snippets of evidence that characterize the case and hint at Mr. Bailey. However, without the full case file it's impossible for people to really make an informed judgment.

      The maps are wrong, the correct directions are at this link https://goo.gl/maps/hGbGJgsnxSQoEvqG8

      Bailey's residence is The Prairie Cottage, Lissacaha (North), Schull, Co. Cork and Sophie's cottage (still owned by the Du Plaintier family) is at Kealfada. It's 4km by road, but as the crow flies, its a mere 3km across open fields and moorland where you'd never come near another house or witness.

      The townland names are unfortunately misleading as Ms. Du Plaintier's cottage is nearer to Dunmanus than Toormore, and no where near Schull (the largest local village).

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    5. Thank you so much for providing me with this information anonymous. I updated the maps accordingly. If I have the chance to go visit this place myself, I will hopefully be able to provide some more factual photos and maps but for now this is excellent.

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    6. Google Maps have updated it. The three houses are now marked Dreenane. It should not have been "Kealfadda" the cottage is not in that townland.

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  4. Hey great work very comprehensive
    The obvious stand out points for me is the time,date and location of this vicious murder. It happens on the 23rd of December either very early in the morning or late at night. The killer has to be local but really local where you can walk to her house, a car would have been so clear to hear and be seen for her and her neighbours and its a very remote location someone who knew her or knew of her. The killing is vicious angry crude, the killer being psychopathic angry uncontrolled.
    The amount of suspects with opportunity must have been all checked by the GARDA, while listening to the podcast I swayed back and forth if Baily was innocent or guilty but he is certainly deservedly the prime suspect, and his behavior following the killing is not unlike previous killers where the pattern places them front and center of the story. Baily has deliberately placed himself in the middle of this story, he is a man with certain personality disorders if not psychopathic personality tendencies where the story is about him and not the victim, as her son stated "every question of circumstance points to Baily and none away"

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    1. Good points. Yes it must have been someone local, someone Sophie also knew, somewhat, for her to open the door at that hour of night/early morning. Indeed, it does seem like a very remote place and not the sort of spot/time of year for a random hiker to end up at, so early. Everything seems to indicate allround that she knew her killer and that it was something personal for the killer, considering the amount of violence and seeming hatred involved. Indeed, uncontrolled excessive anger and violence, it is often linked to murderer with a personal motive. Not just by a random stranger. Although there are of course exceptions to that 'rule'. And the neighbours apparently heard nothing either no.

      Yes, likewise. The podcast was very good at drawing you in and swaying your opinions. Also about Bailey. I also thought many a time that he was an eccentric scapegoat. But something about him does not sit well with me and I think I do recognize a narcissist and control freak in him. From real life I have known a couple such people and they without exception had narcissistic rage periods, especially when their pride was hurt. Add to this that he had this urge to mingle with the investigation, urge to be there, see the results, follow the investigation in an unnatural intense manner. His wannabe 'journalism' seems more than anything some sort of cloak to hide behind. I do feel the podcast makers are on the right track when they portray him as a man who wants to be the center of attention. If not through his innate talents (or lack thereof), than through notoriety.
      He just seems to love the attention he gets through this case. He cannot contain it at times in the interviews. I do think he has some sort of personality disorder, at the very least linked to narcissism.






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  5. This is amazing work Scarlet, thanks so much for pulling it all together! One thing I have been wondering, it looks in photos and on Google maps as though there are 3 houses up the lane: Sophie's, Alfie's, and another - is that correct? I haven't heard any mention of who lived in the third house.

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    1. there was a mention of the house on the right in the West Cork podcast, they were away at the time of the murder apparently

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    2. Thank you Laine :) Yes that third house; I still haven't found out myself who actually lived there. Only the other set of neighbours are mentioned in the media and files. Thanks Nelly for that info!

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  6. I keep thinking about her neighbours.Seems very strange to me they heard absolutely nothing. Something doesn't seem right to me there.

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    1. It's odd indeed. Especially when you take into account that Sophie's murder could have taken place in the morning in fact. Considering she had nuts and such in her stomach (breakfast?) and it makes more sense for her to wear her boots and dressing gown in early daylight to go to the gate, than to do that in the dark of night in cold temperatures. That would (or should) frighten even a straight up talking, no nonsense woman like Sophie. So that would make it even more odd that the neighbours never heard or saw a thing, supposedly.

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  7. is there any info on whether or not Ian Bailey is the father of his first wife's son? it seems they would have been married at the time of his birth but it is never mentioned anywhere that he has a son (or not). his ex wife's son was jailed for rape and murder of his own great grandmother in the early 2000s:

    "Jamie Limbrick, 19, previously pleaded guilty to the rape and manslaughter of Marjorie Davis in September 2003.

    The pensioner’s body was found in her farmhouse in Forge Lane, Upleadon, near Newent, Gloucestershire, on September 3, 2003.

    The property, owned by Gillian and Malcolm Limbrick, Mrs Davis’s daughter and son-in-law, had been badly damaged by fire." via https://www.irishexaminer.com/world/arid-10049081.html

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    1. Would love to know as well if that is Ian's child. I never heard of it before tbh. Only that he was married to Jane before.

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    2. I have read this story about Jamie Limbrick and would like to know if it's his son. there seems to be no information regarding Ian bailey's history before coming to Schull. no father, mother, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or school friends. Nobody has said anything about him. Are people to scared to open there mouths because he is dangerous. But I think the British police would like a sample of his DNA. There must have a good reason why he decided to run away from England. and reinvent himself in Ireland. Also he has never been back to england since he left very strange.

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    3. Her name is sarah limbrick

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    4. There's loads of information about his life before he came to Ireland. Loads. His sister has fully supported his innocence over the years, and she speaks on the west cork podcast. Do ya research!

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  8. The fact she had boots on that were laced indicates to me she prepared herself to go outside. She was not barefoot. The keys in the door - I leave my keys in the door if I am quickly going outside for something. Was she escorting someone from her house.. a visitor.. to the main gate. Or going to meet someone at the gate? Either way something happened AT the gate. That's where it got nasty. And explains why she didn't run to the neighbour's.. If something happened at the house, they were closer to run to. And explains why the neighbour's heard nothing and saw no car lights. The blood on the door was hers.... Could that be an injury from earlier on her hand?

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  9. Actually, the blood could have transferred to the door if the murderer entered the house to remove fingerprints if they had been there moments earlier ... before being escorted to the gate where the murder subsequently occurred.

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  10. Has nobody noticed... The keys are in the FRONT door where the letterbox is. The blood is on the BACK door by the kitchen. So, if the murderer entered the house after the killing it was, in theory given the blood, via the back door. So, question is: was that door found to be unlocked? If so, then when she exited the house either to escort someone from it or to it from the gate, she knew the back door was going to be open. Re-entry to the house was not going to be via the front door.

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  11. Looking at the house layout, the boot room was off the kitchen. That's where she put her boots on to leave the house. So I reckon that the back door WAS unlocked when her body was found. And that was the door she intended to return through when she left the house (either to escort someone from it or to meet someone at the gate). IF someone had been in the house earlier, they would know after the murder it was open and would use it to return to clear evidence. Hence, blood on the door!!

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  12. So, that's my theory. She put her boots on and used the back door leaving it open to go to the gate for a reason. She didn't put a coat on as she thought she would not be long.
    Would be interesting to know what time she normally got up in the morning at and what her usual breakfast would have been.
    My theory is that she was murdered early in the morning, the fruit and nuts in her stomach could potentially have been breakfast. The cut bread could have been for toast. From the house she saw someone at the gate. Spurred her to go out and see what they wanted.. Or confront them? (I couldn't see a lone woman doing THAT late at night in the dark for any reason whether they expected someone or not or knew the person or not). How could anyone be identified in the dark? And that's when something happened. Murderer entered the house to retrieve something...




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    1. Very good theory you made. Very good observations also regarding the doors. Indeed, the front door with the mailbox was the one with the keys sticking in. But the backdoor is the one with the bloody (hand)print. Does anybody know if that door was locked or not? It may not have been. I can imagine Sophie going out to the gate for whatever reason - to face someone there, to lead someone out - in the morning light, but much less so in the dark of night. No torch was found on her or at the crime scene either, why would she go walk in the dark all the way to that gate? I believe the neighbour also said that the back of the house light was turned off. That also matches an early morning situation much better than a night situation. Unfortunately gardai didn't even manage to detect a time of death, just shocking.

      But I agree that it all must have happened at the gate and that is why she may have tried to escape over the gate or through the briars, and never ran straight to her neighbours (too far back up). One theory I read is that Sophie could even have had a lover and could theoretically have faced a woman at the gate. A spurned wife. Who knows. Whomever did this was clearly enraged and jealous, why else bash her beautiful face 'to pulp', as her relative described it.

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    2. The front door was locked and the back door was unlocked.the question i have is why were the keys in the door that was locked and not the unlocked one.

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  13. Hi, just a quick comment.....in the Timeline of events, you have IB arriving at the scene on the 24th. I believe this should be the 23rd Dec. Great job at putting all the content together.

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    1. Thank you so much! I corrected it right away :) I indeed placed the info under the wrong date

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  14. Thank you for putting all of this together! Amazing work. Agreed with your comments on Karl Heinz Wolney - very intriguing and I've been trying to learn more. Do we know know the location of his former house via Google Maps, by any chance? I've also been looking for any further information on his having had an affair, in addition to the mention in the article. The DPP report that is available online does not appear to mention him; I am guessing it is mentioned in a separate report. Thank you again!

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    1. I believe the podcast mentioned the rumor of Wolney's having said he had done something terrible, but in the context of a note - that it was found he left no note having mentioned this (but this does not preclude the possibility that he still said something along these lines to someone). To the extent he lived only one mile away and that a DPP report mentions his having had an affair, it is surprising more attention has not been given to Wolney in general.

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  15. It did not have to be anyone local. We keep hearing this, but in fact the house is very easy to find even if you have never been there and have no GPS. I have a copy of the Discovery Series map #88 from 1996 which were commonly sold at the time in all newsagents. If you know the townland "Dunmanus West", her house is right underneath the words "Dunmanus West". The house is on the map as a small black dot, and you just follow the roads. You won't get lost, unless you can't read a map. If you want directions it goes like this: Drive through Schull to Toormore, take the next right (at the coast), and then the second left, carry on until you see a big white house on the hill, you cannot miss it. There are few trees, so you can see houses for miles off, especially a big white one.
    It is as simple as that.
    Foreigners like to romanticize West Cork as some kind of Celtic Terra Incognita. It's not, it has been mapped and surveyed for 200+ years. The roads are not brilliant, better than in 1996 but not by much.

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    1. Thanks so much for this information! Good point about the (misplaced) romanticizing, as if it is the end of the world.

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  16. There has been a lot of discussion of the two wine glasses left drying upside-down by the sink. In the West Cork podcast, Sophie’s family were quoted to say that the two glasses should not be interpreted to mean that she had a guest, as it was her habit to let things pile up. Having studied the scene in detail, I don’t believe this explanation.
    I studied the close up photo of the table beside the sink with the glasses, but also the long shot of the whole kitchen and range where we can see the main drying rack to the right of the sink. It is harder to make out but it is clear enough and the scene makes more sense.
    There are more than two wine glasses drying beside the sink. Cutlery, plates, pans and other utensils have all been washed up and the drying rack is too small to accommodate everything. Therefore, Sophie, or whoever washed up, spread a tea-towel onto the table to the left of the sink and put the remaining things to dry there. The faceted silver pot is the bottom half of a moka coffee pot, the funnel is nearby and two coffee cups. You can see the top half of the moka pot on the main drying rack.
    There are 2 plates, 2 soup bowls, one large bowl suitable for a salad, 2 dinner knives (only 1 dinner fork, as far as I can make out), a couple of wooden spoons, a meat fork and carving knife. There is a frying pan and possibly a pot underneath.
    It’s puzzling why a petite woman staying for 3 days buy three loaves of bread? I am guessing that her housekeeper Josephine Hellen must have bought 2 of the 3 loaves of bread. I think she bought the brown soda and the sliced pan. Sophie bought the basket loaf (the elaborate swirly white loaf which was sliced). This is closer to the kind of white crusty bread French people like. I also think Hellen bought the fruit, mandarins, oranges and apples. The basket of greens beside the fruit is interesting. It looks like parsley to me. This is an ingredient, something you would cook with and it is out of season in December, so it would have been bought specially to garnish a meal.
    Sophie was a tidy person and it is that obvious that her housekeeper was an equally meticulous woman, and liked to please Sophie. You can see how neatly the beds are made and how she has put sprigs of holly in vases around the house to give it a bit of Christmas spirit. Hellen mentioned how Sophie usually brought presents for her children when she came, and thought it unusual that this time she did not.
    Because of this, I find it hard to believe Hellen would leave a jumble of items on the drying rack and table by the sink to greet Sophie when she arrived on Friday. This means there must have been a sophisticated meal for two with wine and coffee held sometime over the weekend. The basket of parsley further backs up the conclusion that this stack was not left over from a previous visit. This meal was prepared, eaten and cleaned up sometime between Friday 21st and Sunday 22nd.
    We can also guess at what the meal was. The only reason to have a two pronged meat fork is to carve meat. This means that it was probably a roast of some kind. It would be interesting to know the contents of her bin.
    I think it is unlikely this meal was held on the Sunday, because on that day Sophie went alone Three Castle Head, then visited her friends the Ungerers and from there to O'Sullivan's pub in Crookhaven. She also made several phone calls on Sunday evening. It could have been on Friday evening after she arrived or on Saturday. Josephine’s husband Finbarr passed by the house between 12 and 1 on Saturday and noted that Sophie’s hire car was there but she did not come out to greet him as she usually did. Perhaps she had a visitor at this time.

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    1. Thanks so much for your observations. I must say that I also don't believe the explanation of the family, that Sophie was in the habit of piling the dishes up. That is not really what the scene in the kitchen shows.. You are right, on this photo we can indeed see that the drying rack right of the sink is already fairly full: https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-GtjtKMwKF60/YOXA33GNKyI/AAAAAAAAHxg/qU6DoUb3BHsgGLNUK0E2kZ8ymMLxQ-WLgCLcBGAsYHQ/w640-h358/Untitled-34.jpg

      It seems no coincidence to me either that there are pairs of glasses, plates and cutlery visible. Good observation also about the garnishing green, parsley is indeed a herb which is often used in French cuisine to brighten it up with, it is sprinkled over a lot of dishes to my knowledge. Would she do this if she was just eating by herself? or is something like that also pointing towards a guest perhaps? And a meat dish for sure, going by the type of some of the knifes pictured.

      It also makes more sense that Sophie would flee the house, onto the road, if she was fleeing from someone in there, than that she would leave the safety of her home to go out to confront someone out there. Although you make a good case for an earlier dinner.

      Thanks!

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  17. The book held down by the jar of honey is facing the side of the table with no chair. There is a used match next to the matchbox. Presumably the candle was lit to read the book by. So if the chair was moved after reading had concluded had Sophie blown the candle out and was sitting in the dark feet up on the other chair?
    Or was she already feet up when someone called to "check something in the book" and the candle was lit then they both stood looking at the book?
    Who blew the candle out and when? It obviously didn't burn all night.

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    1. Good observation! Shame that nothing was written (or perhaps not even investigated) about such details..

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  18. I realized I made a mistake. There only seems to be no chair in one photo. Still looking at the candle compared to the other candle which is complete it should be simple to work out how long the candle burnt for.

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    1. Yeh there are a few differences between different photos, there is also some blue fabric seen hanging over the arm of the chair in one photo, but it is not present in the other.... No idea what was going on there. The chair is also in a different position in some photos

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  19. You seem to have missed that initialy Marie Farrell identified both the person following Sophie And the man at Kealfadda Bridge as about 5ft 8 inches tall and wearing along black coat and a black berrete.

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    1. Thanks Noeliebugs,

      yeh originally I set this blog page up as a place where the podcasts could be listened more easily, and I added some additional case updates over time. The details about Marie Farrells initial witness statements are extensively covered in this 'West Cork' podcast. But since the blog grew with additional information over time, it may now indeed appear as if I missed some of the case details.

      Thanks for reminding!
      best wishes

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  20. What do you think about the "missing silver watch" development? The person asking Nick Foster if it was on Sophie's body in the "late morning" would imply to me they saw it on her in the early morning. That can really only be Shirley in my opinion.

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    1. The watch Sophie had when coming to Ireland can be seen in the bathroom crime seen photo's.
      My personal feeling is that Nick Foster was doing all he could to sell books in the run up to Christmas.
      Only two people could possibly know if Sophie was wearing a watch when she was killed. Sophie and her murder.

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  21. Thank you for such a thorough and comprehensive review of this case. You’ve made it really easy to see the case from lots of different angles, whereas I find the books and documentaries are often biased.

    My personal opinion is that Bailey is innocent of this crime, Jules and Ian’s openness to being questioned time and time again has only led to more judgement. I believe if there was any guilt they would not have pursued further legal action to clear their names or just simply moved away. It’s just a crying shame their lives have been plagued by this case.

    The rogue police officer who drove a blue Ford Fiesta, surely this line of enquiry deserved a full investigation. The details on him are so vague, if he was such a corrupt and obhorrent man why wasn’t he fully investigated for ALL of his wrongdoing?

    The German musician also is highly suspicious, given that he committed suicide so soon after the murder.

    The timeline and whereabouts for these two individuals should have been created. Also the expensive full bottle of wine, where was this retrieved? and was it close to either of their routes.

    I do hope that one day forensics or more evidence brings more closure to this case.

    Thank you once again

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