Detectives to revisit West Cork next week ahead of Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder anniversary
19 hrs ago
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will decide in the new year whether to order a full cold-case review of the Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39) murder, after considering an expert preliminary report from some of Ireland’s most senior detectives.
The revelation came as Ms du Plantier’s family and friends are preparing to hold a series of private memorial services to mark the 25th anniversary of her killing on December 23, 1996, near her isolated holiday home at Toormore in West Cork.
Some of Ireland’s most experienced detectives – including Dublin-based officers who are veterans of multiple murder investigations – will visit West Cork next week as part of the review process.
“A Garda investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier remains active and ongoing – this is not a cold-case review,” a spokesperson said.
“We continue to appeal to anyone who may have any information on this crime to contact the Garda investigation team.”
No one has ever been charged with the killing in Ireland.
Detectives have examined potential new evidence over the past six months.
They have interviewed a number of possible witnesses in the wake of two high-profile documentaries on the case by Sky and Netflix.
Privately, detectives admitted their work has been complicated by a recent flood of unfounded rumours and unhelpful speculation surrounding the case.
The preliminary report will be submitted to Mr Harris and his team.
It will inform their decision on a possible cold case review in 2022.
Among the allegations now being examined are claims about the disposal of blood-stained clothing, the movements of individuals in December 1996 and comments passed in the days after the killing.
Meanwhile Ms du Plantier’s French family, led by her son Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud, will stage a special private memorial in Paris to mark the anniversary.
His eldest daughter is named Sophie in honour of her grandmother. Ms du Plantier’s Irish friends and neighbours will also arrange a private memorial in Schull and Goleen in Co Cork.
They plan to lay a wreath of fresh lilies at the stone Celtic cross that marks the spot where her body was discovered.
Film executive Ms du Plantier was savagely beaten to death with a rock as she fled a suspected intruder.
The savagery of the attack – with around 50 blows inflicted – shocked both locals and even veteran gardaí.
Manchester-born freelance journalist and poet Ian Bailey (64) wrote to Mr Harris last summer calling for a fresh cold-case review, which he insisted would fully exonerate him.
Two cold-case reviews were conducted as well as a major review of the entire Garda investigation by Assistant Commissioner Ray McAndrew 17 years ago.
Mr Bailey has vehemently protested his innocence for almost 25 years.
But he was convicted in absentia of the killing by a Paris court in May 2019.
He dismissed the Paris prosecution as “a show trial”.