tv

The 5 questions you had after watching Netflix's Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, answered.

For almost 25 years, the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier has baffled the world.

The 39-year-old French film producer was found dead on the driveway of her holiday home in rural Ireland on December 23, 1996.

At the time, it was the first murder to occur in the remote town of West Cork in living memory.

Watch the trailer for Sophie: A Murder in West Cork below. Post continues after video.


Video via Netflix.

But to this day, the case remains unsolved.

Now, Netflix's true crime miniseries, Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, is delving into the controversial case.

The new three-part documentary features interviews with those involved in the case as well as those who knew Sophie Toscan du Plantier personally. 

But as with any true crime series, we still have plenty of questions about the baffling case.

Here are five questions you might have had after watching Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, answered.

How is Ian Bailey free?

When police first attended the scene, Sophie's death was ruled a homicide. 

However, there wasn't a clear suspect in the case.

Sophie's husband, Daniel Toscan du Plantier, was in France at the time of her murder, meaning he wasn't seen as a viable suspect. Likewise, Sophie had been staying at her holiday house in West Cork alone.

As the investigation continued, police were drawn to Ian Bailey – a journalist who had reported on the murder who had visible scratches on his hands and forehead. During the investigation, Bailey was arrested twice. 

While Bailey denied his involvement with the murder in conversations with the authorities, he reportedly told three people that he had killed Sophie.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ian Bailey in 2020. Image: Getty. 

There were also several other factors that could potentially tie Bailey to the murder. 

According to one witness, Bailey had been spotted nearby Sophie's holiday home on the night of her murder. 

The reporter also had a history of violence, including previous incidents of domestic violence towards his partner, Jules Thomas, which had resulted in her hospitalisation. 

But as there was no forensic evidence tying Bailey to the murder, the journalist was eventually released.

To this day, no charges have been brought against Bailey in Ireland as it was deemed that there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

However, in 2019, Bailey faced trial in Paris in absentia. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison. But as Ireland's High Court ruled Bailey could not be extradited to France, the now 64-year-old remains a free man.

As it was explaining in the documentary: "Under French law, Ian Bailey remains convicted of murder, but would be entitled to retrial if extradited. The Irish courts have refused multiple requests for his extradition. They don’t recognise the French law used to convict Bailey."

ADVERTISEMENT

Where is Ian Bailey now?

Ian Bailey has long maintained his innocence.

Now 64 years old, Bailey still resides in West Cork, where he sells pizza weekly at a local farmer's market.

At the time of Sophie's murder, Bailey was living with his long-term partner, Jules Thomas.

Jules Thomas and Ian Bailey face the media. Image: Getty. 

The couple ended their 30-year relationship in 2020.

"After 25 years I am sick and tired of banging on with this; it's been just awful — all that stuff in print, the press attention, the photographers, everything," Thomas shared at the time, according to The Irish Examiner.

"Whilst Ian was here, I couldn’t see my three daughters and grandchildren. They refused to visit because they didn’t want to meet him. My daughters were absolutely thrilled when I finished with Ian.

"For a while he seemed to be still in disbelief when I finally told him, 'That’s it, I want to get on with my own life.' I want nothing more to do with him, I just can’t handle the stress."

While Bailey had a history of domestic violence towards his former partner, Thomas has long maintained that Bailey was innocent in Sophie's murder.

ADVERTISEMENT

What does Ian Bailey think about Sophie: A Murder in West Cork?

In the past 25 years, Bailey has spoken publicly about the case. The former journalist was even a key interviewee in the popular West Cork podcast.

However, according to The Irish Post, Bailey is threatening to sue Netflix over its new documentary series.

"This Netflix series will bring an enormous amount of focus to me in West Cork again and cast me in the worst possible light," he said.

Bailey has claimed that the documentary's creators did not have permission to use an interview they conducted with him in the miniseries.

In response, Netflix said: "We’re confident that all the necessary agreements were in place."

Listen to Mamamia's True Crime Conversations, which features interviews with experts on the world's most fascinating, terrifying and mysterious crimes. Post continues below. 

What happened to Sophie Toscan du Plantier's house?

Sophie Toscan du Plantier's home in West Cork remains largely as it was when she was alive.

The house is now owned by Sophie's son, Pierre-Louis Baudey, who visits the town annually.

A Celtic cross has been placed where Sophie's body was found, and the filmmaker's coat remains hanging on the kitchen door where she left it.

Following the release of Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, the small Irish town has received an influx of "murder tourists".

"The documentaries have reignited the history of what happened to that poor lady but unfortunately on the back of it we have seen this influx of tourists looking for where, what and who [did it], this murder mystery tourism," Cork South West senator Tim Lombard told the Irish Mirror.

“It’s appalling. It has definitely intensified since the documentaries. There are people coming and looking for so-called information regarding the poor lady’s [murder]," he added.

"I was contacted on Thursday evening and on Friday morning by locals who are just upset by the whole scenario."

What happened to Sophie Toscan du Plantier's husband and son?

At the time of her death, Sophie Toscan du Plantier was married to film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier.

Daniel, who lived with Sophie and her son from a previous marriage, learned about his wife's murder via a news bulletin.

Two years after Sophie's death, Daniel was remarried to Melita Nikolic, who he had two children with. 

ADVERTISEMENT

He later died in February 2003 after a heart attack.

Daniel Toscan du Plantier, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, and Pierre-Louis Baudey in 1995. Image: Getty. 

Pierre-Louis Baudey in court. Image: Getty. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Sophie's son, Pierre-Louis Baudey, was 15 years old at the time of her murder.

"I was a little boy, an only child. I was extremely close to mum. It was a sudden transformation from childhood to adulthood. A little part of us all crumbled," Pierre-Louis Baudey shared in the Netflix series.

Since his mother's death, the now 40-year-old has campaigned for justice for his mother. He is convinced of Ian Bailey's guilt in the murder.

"We will never stop the fight for justice," he told The Independent. "We will never stop. We can’t. Not while Ian Bailey is living free."

Pierre-Louis currently lives in France with his wife Aurelia and their two children. Despite seeing Ian Bailey "two or three times" during his visits to West Cork, Pierre-Louis continues to return to West Cork in memory of his mother.

For more on this topic:

Sophie: A Murder in West Cork is available to watch on Netflix now.

Feature Image: Netflix.

We need you! Tell us what you think to have a chance to win a $50 gift voucher.
MMSurvey