Ian Bailey is the prime suspect in the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a filmmaker who was on holiday in West Cork, Ireland, when she was found brutally murdered near the gate of her isolated vacation home. Be forewarned that there will be spoilers for the Netflix series in this article.
The evidence against Bailey is reaching fresh audiences due to the new Netflix series set in Ireland, Sophie: A Murder in West Cork. According to The Sun, the crime was brutal; the killer “caved in her skull with a heavy 17 inch-long concrete block as she tried to flee.” Du Plantier, a movie producer and French national who was vacationing in Ireland, also had injuries to her chest and hands, as well as scratches on her cheek and neck, the British news site reported.
As the Netflix series shows, Bailey was arrested twice by Irish police in connection with Sophie’s death, but he’s never been charged with the crime in Ireland, after Irish prosecutors took a pass due to the circumstantial nature of the case. However, a French court convicted him in absentia of the homicide. Because the Irish and French legal systems are different, Irish courts have refused to allow Bailey to be extradited and, today, he remains a free man, still living in Ireland.
He’s been in the news a lot lately, still giving his side, criticizing the Netflix show, and saying that the media attention wrecked his life. To this day, Bailey, a former journalist, denies being the killer.
Here’s what you need to know:
Bailey Recently Floated the Theory That a Hitman Killed Sophie & Sophie’s Family Lawyer Challenged Him to Prove It
Over the years, Bailey has given alternate theories for the homicide, alleging that the killer of Sophie Toscan du Plantier may be a hitman and implying that her husband, Daniel Toscan du Plantier (who died of a heart attack in 2003), set it up. Daniel was never accused in connection with the death.
According to a July 1, 2021, article in The Irish Times, a lawyer representing Sophie’s family recently challenged Bailey to come up with some evidence to support his hitman theory.
“Ian Bailey was convicted in his absence in the Cour d’Assise in Paris in May 2019 of the voluntary homicide of Sophie Toscan du Plantier but if he were to come to France, he would have the opportunity to have a new trial where he would be legally represented,” he said to the newspaper.
“If he believes that Sophie Toscan du Plantier was killed by a French hitman and he has information to that effect, then he should come to France, surrender to the French authorities and he could present whatever evidence he had on this hitman to the new trial.”
Bailey told The Irish Mirror, “I suspect the hitman is from France – it was always one of the theories in the case but it was never seriously followed up the by gardaí. What I do know is it was not me. I did not know Sophie, I did not have sex with her, I did not kill her.”
He further claimed, “In cases like this, you have to ask who benefitted most from her death? Her husband was having an affair with his fourth wife, Melita Nikolic. He had a substantial amount of insurance on Sophie’s life. He acted very strangely after her death. I do not have hard evidence to prove it but that is my view.”
The Irish Times reported that Marie Farrell, the woman who retracted her claim that she saw Bailey by a bridge, now says the man was Middle Eastern and “recognised the man as being known to Ms Toscan du Plantier’s husband, Daniel.”
Bailey Has Trashed the Netflix Show as ‘Propaganda’
Bailey has not minced words when it comes to the Netflix program.
According to Irish Mirror, Bailey has accused the Netflix series of being a “piece of self-serving, demonising propaganda.” He added, “I have had 25 years of life taken away. I have lost my career as a journalist. I have now lost my partner – we had been together for 30 years – and I am now losing my home, so for anybody to suggest that is perverse.”
His former girlfriend has spoken to the media about why they parted ways.
According to the Southern Star, Jules Thomas, Bailey’s long-time partner who was featured in the Netflix show, broke up with him. She told the publication that her daughters wouldn’t come visit with her grandkids if Bailey was present. “My daughters were absolutely thrilled when I finished with Ian,” she told the site.
She told Extra, “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, I’ve been praying that he will get fixed up in his own place soon.” She told the site she adamantly believes he is innocent in the murder, despite being a domestic violence survivor herself. She told the site that Bailey is living with her but they aren’t on speaking terms, and he is trying to find a place of his own.
The murder was also featured in another program called Murder at the Cottage.
Sophie Toscan du Plantier was a French national on holiday at her isolated, coastal Irish home near Schull when she was found battered to death in 1996 near a gate on her own property. According to The Irish Times, there is no DNA or fingerprint matches in the case.
The show alleges that Bailey confessed multiple times to the murder to various people, and that witnesses claim he knew Sophie, contradicting his claims that he did not know the victim. Bailey was working as a journalist when the murder occurred, and he showed up at the scene, and by some accounts knew a French woman had been murdered before this was widely known. He adamantly denies murdering Toscan du Plantier.
He also had an alleged history of violence against women, and a woman claimed she saw him standing near a bridge the morning of the murder, although she later recanted that accusation. He also had wounds to his hand and face the day after the crime.