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Ian Bailey’s ex partner Jules Thomas is suing Netflix• 2h ago

Ian Bailey’s former partner is suing Netflix over a documentary series about the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Jules Thomas is also suing the production company and the writer/director. Court records show that Ms Thomas intends to take legal action against the streaming giant, production company Lightbox Media, and writer and director John Dower.

They were responsible for the three-part series, Sophie: A Murder In West Cork, which began streaming on Netflix last year. Ms Thomas, a landscape artist who lives in the Prairie, Schull in west Cork, separated from Mr Bailey last year.

She is understood to be unhappy about the way she was portrayed in the documentary, and to be suing for defamation. According to the documents lodged signalling her intended action, Ms Thomas is representing herself in the proceedings.

Jules Thomas.

Mr Bailey was arrested twice by gardaí for questioning about the killing of Ms Toscan du Plantier. The body of the French film producer, 39, was found at the gate of her remote home near Schull on Christmas Eve 1996. She had been bludgeoned to death.

Mr Bailey has repeatedly denied any involvement in Ms Toscan du Plantier’s death, but he was convicted of the murder in his absence by a court in France in 2019.

He described the French case as a show trial designed to find him guilty. In 2020, the High Court ruled that could not be extradited to France. It was the third time French authorities had tried, and failed, to have him extradited.

Ian Bailey has been found guilty of drug driving in West Cork. Pic: RollingNews.ie© Provided by Evoke.ie

Ms Thomas is originally from Wales, but has been a long-time resident of west Cork. She began a relationship with former journalist Mr Bailey in the early 1990s. She stood by him for many years while he was under the spotlight in connection with Ms Toscan du Plantier’s death.

However, after their split, she said in December last year: ‘I just found it was coming to the end of the road really. I was worn out.’ She said someone told her that the separation was ‘the best decision’ she ever made, and that she was now trying to move on from the stress of the last 24 years.

‘It is a ghastly situation for anybody to be trapped in, but I was trapped as well until he went,’ Ms Thomas said.

The Netflix documentary about Ms Toscan du Plantier drew complaints from Mr Bailey after it debuted on the streaming service in June last year.

Sophie Toscan Du Plantier. Pic: REX© Provided by Evoke.ie

Ms Thomas only features in the series in news report footage accompanying Mr Bailey to court. The journalist-turned-poet – who co-operated with Jim Sheridan’s unrelated but rival documentary series Murder At The Cottage – described the Netflix three-parter as ‘a piece of self-serving, demonising propaganda’. Netflix Worldwide Entertainment and Lightbox Media have also been sued by the producers of a hit podcast about the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder.

Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde issued High Court proceedings on June 23 in connection with the Sophie: A Murder In West Cork series on Netflix. Court documents show that Mr Bungey and Ms Forde – whose audio series was described as the definitive non-fiction podcast about the murder – are represented by Dublin solicitors Johnsons of Harbourmaster Place.

In July, Taoiseach Micheál Martin vowed that ‘no stone will be left unturned’ in a new investigation into Ms Toscan du Plantier’s murder after gardaí revealed that their Serious Crime Review Team will probe her killing.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier Pic: Getty© Provided by Evoke.ie

Mr Martin insisted it was important to finally bring the person behind Ms Toscan Du Plantier’s killing ‘to justice’. ‘We do know that with the advent of modern technologies, that opportunities arise now, perhaps that may not have been there at the time of the murder.

‘I do believe it’s important that no stone is left unturned in terms of finding out and ascertaining who murdered Sophie Toscan Du Plantier and also to bring that person to justice.’

His stance was echoed by Justice Minister Helen McEntee, who said that she had been personally assured by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris that ‘every effort’ would be put into the investigation.

Marguerite Bouniol, mother of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, at her home in Paris in 2004. Pic: REX© Provided by Evoke.ie

Mr Sheridan said he was ‘delighted’ the case was being reviewed by the gardaí again but hoped that Mr Bailey wasn’t the only suspect being examined. In September, Sophie’s uncle, Jean Pierre Gazeau, said the final wish of her elderly parents is to find out who killed their daughter and see justice served.

However, the acclaimed French physicist, 76, feared that as time moves on, the gardaí will struggle to build a solid case if new evidence is not uncovered in the cold-case investigation launched earlier this year.

Mr Gazeau said Sophie’s parents – Georges Buoniol, 96, and wife Marguerite, 91 – won’t be able to die in peace if justice is not served. ‘They are so heartbroken that they still cannot move on with their lives. It’s been almost 26 years… They’ve been waiting so long for justice and know they will not be around forever,’ he said.

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