Sophie’s death probe moves on to new witness interviews as it is suggested Gardaí could revive immunity provisions in the case


The investigation into the murder Sophie Toscan du Plantier is no longer a re-evaluation but has moved into a series of new interviews with established witnesses and newly identified potential sources of information.

People who made Gardaí statements up to two and a half decades ago are re-interviewed, sometimes to comment on new areas of interest for Gardaí that have emerged recently.

Additionally, du Plantier’s rehiring will result in new rounds of Garda interviews with interesting individuals who have recently been identified – and not just in Cork, but in Dublin and other parts of the country – who have never spoken before.

The widening of the investigation means it is no longer a review of existing evidence and new claims – including relating to bloodied clothing which surfaced in the course of television documentaries about the case last year.

“This is a live investigation, not a cold case,” said a well-placed source.

The French filmmaker (39) was beaten to death by a stone and wind block on the night of 22nd December 1996 at her holiday home in Toormore, near Schull in Co Cork.

The 39-year-old, who was holidaying alone at her holiday home in West Cork, was married to French producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, a friend of President Jacques Chirac.

Meanwhile the Sunday independent has confirmed that separate legal consultations have been held on whether the state could enter into negotiations, grant immunity guarantees or even revive the witness protection program to end the case.

It is believed that some sources want guarantees regarding elements of their own past to be overlooked when they are ready to testify.

For example, Gardaí already know that one individual had close, low-level ties to the drug trade in the local community, which may have put her in contact with the killer the night Ms du Plantier died.

While some witnesses have died in the case, it is now common knowledge in Schull that a number of current and former residents have been re-interrogated since the beginning of this year.

In the meantime, Ian BaileyConvicted in 2019 by a Paris court in absentia of the murder of Ms du Plantier in what his defense attorney dismissed as a “farce”, he has been rehoused by Cork County Council.

He is understood to have moved into a flat above an off-licence in Bantry – although Mr Bailey refused to discuss his circumstances or the case when contacted by the Sunday independent only offer “no comment” this week.

Mr Bailey, a self-proclaimed poet, has been living temporarily in Glengariff after splitting from his former partner, Welsh artist Jules Thomas, over a year ago.

She remains in the house where she lived before meeting Bailey at The Prairie in Liscaha, Schull, more than a mile from the cottage of Mrs. du Plantier’s son Pierre-Louis Baudey.

The latter addressed that emotionally Late Late Show last September to get people to come forward on the case – even after two and a half decades have passed.

The appeal led directly to several new areas of investigation, some of which shed new light on previously known aspects of the case.

The Gardaí have always viewed the murder as a live investigation, although Mr Bailey has repeatedly written to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to demand a review of the cold case, which he hopes would clear his name.

Certain evidence presented to the French trial in 2019 – which resulted in Mr Bailey being sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder, although courts here have refused his extradition – was redacted on the basis that the investigation was kept alive .

This included large amounts of evidence from former state pathologist Dr. John Harbison, who died in 2020. Sophie’s death probe moves on to new witness interviews as it is suggested Gardaí could revive immunity provisions in the case

Fry Electronics Team

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