Sophie Toscan du plantier Murder – New Suspect
Friday September 24, 2004 09:33 UP DATED BY FRED BASSETT
The prime suspect in the murder of French film-maker sophie Toscan du plantier
in West Cork seven years ago will not face any criminal charges, according to gardai.
A new and previously overlooked suspect has emerged.
Sophie du Plantier was murdered on a remote lane near her West Cork home in Christmas 1996. Initially a local peeping-tom whose fingerprints were found all over the windows of her home and whose alibi did not check out was brought in for questioning. He was later released. Then a couple of weeks later a young “hippy” and his wife were reported as “prime suspects”. The theory was that the young man who had worked for Ms du plantier previously and who had been doing fencing near her home at the time of her murder had been sexually involved with her and that he or his wife had killed her in a subsequent falling out.
Some seven weeks after the killing a much disliked part-time journalist of English origin who had been very critical of the local Garda bungling of the investigation became the “prime suspect”.
In a flurry of hysteria and fear the insular local population were quick to agree with Gardai that Mr Bailey was “guilty”, although no evidence existed to condemn him. Rumour upon rumour was circulated until, like Tony Blair with the weapons of mass destruction lies about Iraq, everyone “knew” Mr Bailey was guilty. They just “knew”. Some locals who had themselves been previously ostracised by the herd came forward to say how Mr Bailey had “confessed to them”. This solved their problems and eased their way in the community and with Gardai.
After Mr Baileys libel case last Christmas it emerged that a local man had not been interviewed, let alone suspected, was present in the immediate location of the murder on the night in question . A local Garda who was involved in the investigation “from the beginning” admitted he had never even heard of this man. He had visited the home of the man’s family but did not know he existed!
This young man, a fluent French speaker who had been educated in private schools in France and Ireland was staying with his family a very short walk from the murder scene on the night of the murder. Why did Gardai not investigate him? Why did his family not mention his presence in the locality that night in December 1996? The man quickly left the area on a date unknown and now resides with his new wife in Britain.
Gardai are split over this case with the local gardai who bungled the initial investigation at odds with senior detectives from Dublin who are now investigating the previously overlooked man. One could suspect that local and regional Gardai who have for years built careers, promotions and houses on the commodity of Mr Baileys alleged guilt, would look very stupid or worse for allowing the real killer to escape. They have been convincing Ms du Plantiers family for years of Mr Baileys guilt and that it is only a matter of the lack of some forensic evidence that is stopping them arresting him. So they have solved the case – almost! We should just keep repeating the mantra “Bailey is guilty” and everthing will be fine.
As for local gangs of vigilantes who have been hounding Mr Bailey for their personal pleasure and to ingratiate themselves with local Gardai, well, they are what they are. Such gangs emerge from time to time, especially in remote areas and I suppose Mr Bailey and those who dare to point out there is in fact no evidence against him should be glad this is not Nazi Germany or Salem Massachusetts during the witch trials.