Sophie Toscan du Plantier: Astonishing New Witness Statement
Update 12th August 2021UP DATED BY FRED.
I’m afraid there is disappointing news today. It emerged yesterday that the person whom the witness claims helped wash the blood-stained clothes was in fact Jules Thomas, the former partner of the original suspect, Ian Bailey. What has emerged today is that the witness who went to the police last week is Bill Hogan. This name is well-known to everyone familiar with this case and he is often described as an American citizen and a cheese maker. More than that, he is usually described as a friend of Sophie’s. She was a customer who bought a lot of his cheese, some of which she shared with friends in France.
Putting all of this together means that this is not a new witness, it is just the same people resurfacing and regurgitating the same information in different ways. I really thought this new statement was going to lead to a new angle on the case, but sadly this was not to be. I try not to criticise or otherwise comment on the motives of anyone involved in these cold cases. It is impossible to overstate the negative impact this murder has had on Sophie’s family and the wider West Cork community. But how can it be possible for someone considered a friend of the victim to sit on information for over 20 years? It is unconscionable.
Irish police have taken a new and detailed statement from an elderly gentleman citing information he received in 2001 during a face-to-face meeting at a specific location he disclosed to police. The statement says that the man was told of attempts to clean blood-stained clothing subsequent to the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
The statement was made to police in Bantry, which was one of the main stations involved in the original investigation. The original source of the information shared it in confidence and appeared to be fearful at the time of the disclosure in 2001.
This lead is quite unlike the recent Marie Farrell angle, which was reported to police by film-maker Jim Sheridan. Crime Guy has realised for some time that Marie Farrell is an utterly discredited witness who would not be able to take the stand in a murder trial after repeatedly changing her story. The lead is genuinely new, and the police are taking it very seriously. The ASSOPH campaign to get justice for Sophie, run by her family, has also acknowledged it as an important development.
It is an exciting development, but there are some parts of it that will take time to investigate, such as the revelation that the elderly man discussed the same information with another person who is now living abroad in Europe. If true, it throws open an entirely new line of enquiry for the 23 year-old murder enquiry, which is desperately needed.
Sophie’s family cooperated with the recent Netflix documentary with this sort of outcome in mind, but they must be thrilled that someone has come forwards. There are probably several questions that this information gives rise to, and I cannot resist a small speculation.
There seems to be an implication that the man washing the clothes is not the killer himself, but was in fear of reprisal, most likely from the killer, if he revealed his secret. This suggests that the killer, covered in blood and in a panic, sought help from a local person he trusted, and was right to trust for over 20 years, as it turns out. But there is always the hope that allegiances will shift over time, and conscience will get the better of people. If this new statement is proven to be true, then surely the man who helped wash the clothes knows the identity of Sophie’s killer.
We wish the family good luck in their search.
The Source is the Irish Independent,