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11th Jul 2022

Gardaí travel to France to find new suspect in Sophie Toscan du Plantier case

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Sophie was killed in 1996.

Gardaí are expected to fly to France to track down a new suspect in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case.

According to The Irish Mirror, the new cold case review team has taken a statement made by former Schull shopkeeper Marie Farrell more seriously than they previously had.

In the statement, Farrell claimed Sophie had been followed around the village the day before she was killed.

A Garda source said: “We are taking this new evidence very seriously.

“It is the first time we have another suspect in the case other than Ian Bailey and we want to find this person, interview them and get their DNA.

“For all we know he could be the killer, we have to check it all out.”

The man is believed to have been identified as the suspect after Farrell assisted Gardaí with a photofit. The director of the Sky documentary Murder At The Cottage, Jim Sheridan, also used his contacts in France to help identify him.

As it happens, the suspect is a known associate of Sophie’s late husband Daniel, who died in 2003.

The new suspect in the case is still living in Paris and Gardaí know his name and his place of residency, with the French authorities promising to cooperate with them fully.

Previously, the only suspect in the case has been former journalist Ian Bailey, who has continuously proclaimed his innocence since the 1996 murder occurred.

As well as this, his lawyer Frank Buttimer has always maintained that Sophie’s late husband had some type of involvement in her death, saying his behaviour was “very strange” around the time of her murder and it was odd that he never came to Cork to reclaim her body.

Retired Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll, who ordered the review of this case, said that the new suspect was one of the reasons the review has taken place to begin with.

Sophie was tragically killed outside her holiday home in West Cork on Christmas Eve in 1996. She was killed by blunt force trauma and the murder weapon was discovered to be a rock found outside her home.