The Murder, the Tragedy, the Mystery, that just will not go Away?

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Ian Bailey writing a book on Sophie’s murder and his experience as chief suspect

8th July 2021


Ian Bailey wearing a suit and tie© Provided by Evoke.ie

One podcast, two TV series and three more books, to go along with two already published – it’s fair to say that Ian Bailey’s experience as a chief murder suspect is a story well told.

The former journalist is currently writing a book about his life as a suspect in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder investigation.

Mr Bailey told the Irish Daily Mail he is 30,000 words into a 200,000-word manuscript, in which he sets out the events on the night of the unsolved 1996 murder, his arrest the following month and the 25 years of investigations and court cases that have followed.

His manuscript is just one of three more proposed books on the murder, along with two that have already been published.Ian Bailey wearing a suit and tie: Former British journalist Ian Bailey. Pic: Getty Images© Provided by Evoke.ie Former British journalist Ian Bailey. Pic: Getty Images

‘There are at least two other [proposed] books, excluding my own. My own book is a long way away from being finished – it’s such a huge volume,’ he said.

Sam Bungey, one of the two creators of the West Cork podcast about the murder, is also writing a book, while Mr Bailey said ‘a Dublin author’ is doing the same, though he added that ‘I’m reluctant to say just who it is just yet’.

‘I’ve got my own book – I have 30,000 words written, it will be a 200,000-word tome by the time I’m finished, but that’s an ongoing project. I’m not putting myself under any deadline,’ he said.

Bailey has been busy in recent weeks trying to find a new place to live after his ex-partner, Jules Thomas, ended their longterm relationship last March.Death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier sitting on a couch: Sophie Toscan Du Plantier Pic: Rex© Provided by Evoke.ie Sophie Toscan Du Plantier Pic: Rex

He also strongly welcomed a potential cold-case investigation into the 1996 murder of the French filmmaker and mother-of-one.

It follows an article in a daily newspaper yesterday in which an unnamed senior garda said a coldcase inquiry is ‘inevitable’ given the build-up of momentum in the case. Mr Bailey recently wrote to the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to request a cold-case review of the murder.

Harris’s office replied, saying that the Commissioner has asked for an update on the investigation and would give a fuller response to Bailey in due course.

Yesterday, Bailey told the Irish Daily Mail he would be ‘100% co-operative’ with any new Garda investigation and said he hopes it will lead to his exoneration.a man and a woman smiling for the camera: Pierre-Louis aged nine with mother Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Pic: File© Provided by Evoke.ie Pierre-Louis aged nine with mother Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Pic: File

‘I haven’t heard formally from the Commissioner’s office, but, reacting to that particular [media] report, if it’s true, and there is to be a comprehensive cold-case review, I am clearly very pleased that my call for such a review has been acknowledged,’ he said.

‘I would hope that when it is complete and all the information is considered, it may lead to an acknowledgement that I was falsely implicated as the murderer. I have already said in my letter to Mr Harris that any such investigation would receive 100% cooperation from me, from my former partner, Jules, and from my solicitor, Frank Buttimer.

‘It won’t happen overnight but I’m very pleased it would appear it is now going to occur.’

Some 25 years on from the murder of Toscan du Plantier, public and media fascination has continued to grow.Death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier sitting in a chair talking on the phone: Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a French film producer who was beaten to death outside her holiday home near Toormore, Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland. Pic: PA© Provided by Evoke.ie Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a French film producer who was beaten to death outside her holiday home near Toormore, Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland. Pic: PA

Film director Jim Sheridan told the Mail last week he wants to add two more episodes to his Sky documentary series about the case, titled Murder at the Cottage, featuring real-life witnesses who will be assisted by coaching actors on how to give the most accurate portrayal possible.

Dubliner Sheridan said he had considered this technique for his recently released five-part series on the murder but that the Covid-19 lockdown prevented him from completing it.

His documentary series on the murder was released last month to strong reviews.

It features interviews with many of the key witnesses, including chief suspect Bailey, and many friends of Ms Toscan du Plantier, who was murdered at the age of 39 near her West Cork holiday home in December 1996.Death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier et al. standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Sophie Toscan du Plantier with her husband Daniel and son Pierre-Louis. Pic: Netflix© Provided by Evoke.ie Sophie Toscan du Plantier with her husband Daniel and son Pierre-Louis. Pic: Netflix

Sheridan said he has been talking to Sky about doing the additional two episodes. Separately, Netflix released its own three-part documentary series on June 30.

There have already been two books released about the murder case, as well as the hit podcast series West Cork. The podcast is now being turned into an acted drama, although the production company has yet to begin casting for the parts of Toscan du Plantier and the other witnesses in the case, including Bailey.

In 2019, a French court convicted Mr Bailey in absentia of murdering Toscan du Plantier, a verdict he says was grossly unfair and reliant on hearsay evidence, and on statements by West Cork woman Marie Farrell, who has since retracted her claims.

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