Vital details Pensioner in nursing home may have key evidence on Sophie Toscan du Plantier death
The information relates directly to Ms Toscan du Plantier in the period immediately before her arrival into Cork airport
August 21 2021 08:25 AM
An elderly man living in a retirement home may have vital evidence in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case.
It is understood the man has long recounted corroborative detail in relation to a key aspect of the investigation, but has thought the information to be unimportant.
InFocus Podcast: Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder: the unanswered questions
It relates directly to Ms Toscan du Plantier in the period immediately before her arrival into Cork airport for a Christmas break in Toormore in December 1996.
The French filmmaker, who had been mulling over possible new projects, was brutally murdered on the night of December 22-23 that year.
Englishman Ian Bailey was convicted of the murder by a trial in absentia held in Paris in May 2019 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
He denies the murder. He and his lawyers branded those proceedings a farce and did not enter any defence.
Discussions are taking place as to whether the elderly man might now offer his information formally, which would add to a file of additional material being gathered by investigators.
The man lives in sheltered accommodation or a nursing home, it is understood.
He is separate from a pensioner who has recently given gardaí a statement making allegations about bloodied clothes.
Several leads are being worked on, the Irish Independent understands, not simply those related to the “bloodied clothes” allegation – which has been comprehensively denied by Ian Bailey and his former partner, Jules Thomas.
The Garda Press Office said on that occasion: “Throughout this investigation, An Garda Síochána has appealed to any person with any information in relation to the investigation to come forward.”
Meanwhile, a British author has confirmed speaking to the pensioner about his “bloodied clothes” allegation in June 2020.
Nick Foster, who lives in Brussels, Belgium, wrote a bestselling book on the case entitled Murder at Roaringwater.
Asked by the Irish Independent yesterday whether he had yet been contacted by gardaí, Mr Foster said: “I expect the gardaí will make contact in due course, and I will have
no difficulty in speaking to them.
“The situation, in so far as it relates to me, is as the man has described it in his new statement.
“I advised him then (last year) to go to the gardaí on foot of what he told me. He has now done so.”
Mr Foster has previously challenged Mr Bailey to a public debate on the case, to be held in Schull, Co Cork.
When Mr Bailey rejected the invitation, he extended it to his lawyer, Frank Buttimer.
Mr Buttimer told the Southern Star newspaper that the only response was to refer to a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) not to charge Mr Bailey, reflected in an office document that was critical of the gardaí.
Mr Foster said: “I am now thinking of ways in which I could publicly pose relevant questions to Mr Bailey, particularly as to why he alleges the Garda file is corrupt, and why he has said there is no actual evidence against him.
“That is not true, as the French judicial process has demonstrated.”
Asked whether he was going to come to Ireland in this connection, Mr Foster said he expected to be in west Cork next month.
Meanwhile, it is understood that a French TV channel is planning a new documentary on the murder and will be filming in Ireland in due course.