Sophie Toscan du Plantier went to her holiday house alone. Within days, she was dead.

Video by MWN

On December 23, 1996, Sophie Toscan du Plantier was beaten to death outside her holiday home in West Cork, Ireland.

The murder sent shockwaves through the close-knit coastal community.

More than 20 years later her murder remains unsolved and now West Cork, a new investigative podcast from Audible, is delving into the case.

The podcast is the result of three years of investigation, reporting, research and interviewing by its hosts Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde. Bungey is a journalist and Forde is TV documentary producer and researcher.

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The pair joined forces to shed light on a case that has long been considered Ireland’s secret shame, a blemish on its otherwise stellar reputation as a welcoming, jolly country.

As Una Mullally from the Irish Times puts it, “There is the collective shame a small nation holds when a visitor is attacked or killed”.

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And this humiliation has been hanging over Ireland for more than two decades.

Sophie, a French film producer, was holidaying alone in the small town at the time of her death.

Three years earlier the 39-year-old, along with her husband Daniel, had purchased a holiday home in Drinane near Schull, County Cork, a popular tourist destination that’s known for its choppy coastlines and steep cliff-faces.

The couple would often stay in the holiday home together, enjoying some much needed time away from their busy lives in France.

But this time Sophie had decided to travel to West Cork alone, leaving her husband and son behind in France.

Just days after she arrived in the small community, she was dead.

The Toscan du Plantiers were what the locals in Cork called ‘blow-ins’ – non-locals who had settled in the area in a bid to escape the hustle and bustle of the larger cities.

There was disconnect in the community between the locals and the blow-ins and Sophie’s murder only seemed to deepen that divide.

Before the blows-in, there had never been a murder in County Cork.

Then the blows-in arrived, Sophie was brutally beaten to death, and the community was sent into chaos.

People became suspicious of their neighbours. They started locking their doors and checking over their shoulders as they walked at night.

They began gossiping and then the gossip turned into allegations until the whole community was turning on each other.

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In the end another, more settled, blow-in was arrested and charged with Sophie’s murder.

Twice.

But he was never convicted.

While the once close-knit community believes in his guilt, the man has continued to protest his innocence. And the shame of Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder still hangs over West Cork.

The podcast is delving deep into the case and is attempting to finally answer the question, who killed Sophie Toscan du Plantier?

You can download West Cork for free on Audible.com.au

To read more from Keryn Donnelly, follow her on Facebook.

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