MURDER CASE HOPE
Author of Sophie Toscan du Plantier book predicts breakthrough in 25 year mystery over west Cork killing riddle
- 14 May 2021, 17:55
- Updated: 14 May 2021, 17:55
A BREAKTHROUGH in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case has been predicted by the end of the year.
Nick Foster, who has written a book about the killing, expects to soon see “significant progress”.
Murder at Roaring Water lays bare the final days of French native Sophie, who was killed at her cottage near Schull, Co Cork, in 1996.
A French court recently found Ian Bailey guilty of murder and sentenced him to 25 years’ jail in absentia.
But the Irish High Court refused to extradite Bailey — who has always denied any involvement in the murder — to France last October.
And Foster said: “I think there’s an even, or even slightly better chance, that there will be significant progress in the case by, say, the end of the year.
“I am hopeful, I’m exploring some new leads that were passed on to me in the last few months or so. The other thing I would say is that allegiances shift over time.
“So people might come to reflect on their own personal knowledge of the case, and approach gardai even at this late stage. It’s a cold case but it could warm up again.”
British journalist Foster admitted the remote setting of the slaying in west Cork, and grisly details of the murder, that first caught his attention to one of Ireland’s most famous unsolved crimes.
He said: “The first I heard about the case was in early 1997 when I was listening to French news, actually on the arrest of Ian Bailey.
“And I was immediately intrigued because it seemed so unusual, the scene of the crime was so remote but it was also clearly so peaceful.
“And then you had the violence of the assault, and that was so appalling, so brutal.
“And then a couple of months later, it turned out that Sophie had left a poem marked in an anthology of Irish poetry in the house.
“She’d marked a particular Yeats poem – titled ‘A Dream of Death’ – now that’s not a poem about a murder, but it is a verse about a young woman dying alone in a foreign land in what’s clearly a rural environment.
“It just seemed so prescient of what in the end happened to her.”
Nick also told Pat Kenny on Newstalk mum-of-one Sophie’s final visit to Ireland was the only time that she went to the holiday house on her own.
He said: “This was the very first time that Sophie had travelled on her own to west Cork.
“I calculated that in all the roughly four years that she had the house, she probably went about 16 or 18 times.
“But this last time was the only time that she went on her own.
“She was always there with people, she was sociable, she always loved travelling to west Cork with other people – and that was the first time that she went there on her own”.
While working on his new book, Foster formed a relationship with Ian Bailey and Mr Bailey’s former partner, Jules Thomas, who recently separated after almost 30 years together.
Nick told how a civil action by Bailey against the State and the gardai meant he spent a lot of time with the self-confessed chief suspect.
He said: “I got to know Mr Bailey at the civil action, introduced myself to him – he was really friendly, very keen to talk.
“And after a couple of nights out in Dublin with him and his partner Jules Thomas, he invited me back to west Cork to see how he lived and to talk some more about the case.
“I just wanted to find out more, I wanted to learn about the case if you like from the inside out.”
Foster recalled one interview with Bailey in particular.
He said: “One thing that I do remember was I turned up in Schull in 2015, I sit down at the pine dining table in his cottage and my first question pretty much was ‘Do you miss writing?’