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Image / Living / Culture

Netflix announce new details of Sophie Toscan du Plantier documentary


by Jennifer McShane
19th May 2021

NETFLIX

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The streaming giant has finally confirmed a June release date for the anticipated three-part docu-series.

Sophie: A Murder in West Cork comes from the Oscar-winning producer Simon Chinn (Man On Wire, Searching For Sugarman), and it was filmed in West Cork and other locations around Ireland and France.

The series will feature contributions from Sophie’s family, including her son Pierre-Louis Baudey, as well as residents from Schull and the local press.

It charts the story of Sophie’s life and rigorously details the investigation into her death, exposing the enduring mysteries and questions at the heart of this case.

What exactly happened?

Two days before Christmas in 1996, 39-year-old French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier was found brutally murdered outside her holiday cottage in Schull, West Cork. She called it her “dream home” and had been due to fly back to Paris later that day (December 23, 1996) to spend Christmas with husband, Daniel du Plantier, and family. She apparently tried to flee from an intruder but was caught and killed when her clothing tragically snagged on barbed wire by the roadside.

English journalist Ian Bailey –  he was the first reporter on the scene – was arrested and questioned by Gardaí as a prime suspect twice, but was never charged or faced trial in Ireland.

The case has been surrounded by controversy from the outset, leaving prime suspect Bailey who was never tried in Ireland but who has been found guilty in the court of public opinion, and a family in search of justice for nearly a quarter of a century.

Last year a French court tried and convicted Bailey in his absence although the Irish courts have recently ruled against his extradition so he will remain a free man in Ireland while Sophie’s family continues to fight for justice. Bailey maintains his innocence.

“Sophie was much more than a victim of a murder,” said the series producers.  “She was a mother, a daughter, a sister, a filmmaker and a writer. Whatever actually happened on that cold December night in 1996, the story is one of a collision of worlds, cultures and characters and it was that which drew us to it.”

“But it was meeting and gaining the trust of Sophie’s family which really gave us our purpose. Justice has eluded them for a quarter of a century since Sophie’s death and their main aim in cooperating with us to make this series is to do justice to her memory. We hope we have achieved that, for them.”

Sophie: A Murder in West Cork will launch on Netflix on 30th June

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