Sophie was found dead outside her holiday home. Everyone thinks they know who did it.

On December 23, 1996, Sophie Toscan du Plantier was found dead on the driveway of her holiday home in rural Ireland.

The 39-year-old film producer, who was still wearing her pajamas, had been beaten to death. Her wounds were so severe that it was difficult for her neighbour, Sophie Foster, to identify her.

When police and a pathologist attended the scene, Sophie's death was ruled a homicide. It was believed the French woman's attacker had used a nearby concrete block to kill her.

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

Video via Netflix.

For residents of the picturesque, remote town of West Cork, Sophie's death came as a complete shock. A murder hadn't occurred in the area for decades, and police virtually had no experience with dealing with such a crime.

In the beginning, 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 travelled to Ireland alone.

As the investigation continued, police began looking for people in West Cork with visible injuries. 

It was through this strategy that police were drawn to journalist Ian Bailey, who had visible scratches on his hands and forehead.

Bailey, who had written a number of articles about the murder, claimed that he had been scratched while climbing a tree. 

But when questions arose over the reporter's claims, he was arrested for Sophie's murder.

Although Bailey denied any involvement with the crime in conversations with police, he told three people he had killed Sophie. 

Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Image: Netflix.


According to The Irish Times, one teenager, who received a lift from the journalist, told police that Bailey told him: "I went up there and smashed her brains in with a rock." 

Likewise, Bailey's colleague reported he told her: "It was me, I did it. I killed her. I did it to resurrect my career."

Another friend also reported that Bailey made a confession about going "too far".

There were 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. (Bailey's home was in walking distance of Sophie's home.)

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

But when no forensic evidence tied Bailey to the murder, he was eventually released.

In the years since, the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier has become a national obsession in both Ireland and France. 

And now, 25 years later, the controversial case is the subject of Netflix's new true crime miniseries, Sophie: A Murder in West Cork.

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


The new three-part miniseries was created with the blessing of Sophie's family including her son, Pierre-Louis Baudey, who 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."

To this day, Bailey has never been charged in Ireland. 

However, under French law, a trial for Sophie's murder was held in France. 

In 2019, Bailey faced trial in Paris in absentia. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison. In 2020, however, Ireland's High Court ruled Bailey could not be extradited to France.

Ian Bailey in 2020. Image: Getty.


As of 2021, Ian Bailey is still residing in West Cork. According to The Irish Postthe now 64-year-old is threatening to sue Netflix over its new documentary series.

He has long protested and maintained his innocence.

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

Feature Image: Netflix.

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