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Thursday 14 December 2017

Sophie's murder is a 19-year mystery

Sophie Toscan Du Plantier
Sophie Toscan Du Plantier

FOR two decades, the murder of 39-year-old French film executive Sophie Toscan du Plantier has dominated headlines in both Ireland and France.

The mother of one fell in love with west Cork on her first holiday visit little realising that, a few short years later, she would become the focus of one of the Europe's most dramatic murder cases.

• January, 1993 - Sophie purchases the Toormore property in west Cork.

• December 20, 1996 - Sophie flies into Cork Airport for a brief pre-Christmas break alone at Toormore.

• December 23, 1996 - Sophie's battered body is discovered at the foot of the laneway leading from her Toormore home.

• February 10, 1997 - Ian Bailey, a Manchester-born freelance journalist now living in Schull, is arrested by gardai for questioning in relation to the killing. He is released without charge after 10 hours.

• February 12, 1997 - Mr Bailey gives a dramatic radio interview to Pat Kenny on RTE Radio One.

• January 27, 1998 - Mr Bailey is arrested a second time by gardai for questioning. He is again released without charge.

• December 8-19, 2003 - Mr Bailey sues eight Irish and British newspapers in Cork Circuit Civil Court for libel. He pleads his innocence and says his life has been ruined.

• January 19, 2004 - Mr Bailey loses six of the eight claims.

• February 13-16, 2007 - Mr Bailey appeals the libel defeats to the High Court but the action ends unexpectedly. He is not awarded damages.

• October, 2007 - Sophie's family press the French authorities to launch their own murder probe.

• April 7, 2010 - The French issue a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for Mr Bailey.

• March 1, 2012 - The Supreme Court unanimously upholds Mr Bailey's appeal against extradition.

• December, 2013 - It emerges that telephone calls at some garda stations, including Bandon where the du Plantier probe was based, were recorded.

• June, 2014 - Sophie's son, Pierre-Louis Baudey-Vignaud, appeals to Ireland to continue to co-operate with the Gachon probe.

• November, 2014 - Ian Bailey's High Court action for wrongful arrest against the State opens in Dublin. It takes five months including more than 90 witnesses and 63 days at hearing.

• March 30, 2015 - The High Court jury rejects Ian Bailey's claims.

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