Death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier

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Sophie Toscan du Plantier
Sophie Bouniol

(1957-07-28)28 July 1957
Died23 December 1996(1996-12-23) (aged 39)
Cause of deathBeaten to death[1]
OccupationTelevision producer
Spouse(s)Daniel Toscan du Plantier
Parent(s)Marguerite Bouniol
Georges Bouniol[2]

Sophie Toscan du Plantier née Bouniol (28 July 1957 – 23 December 1996) was a French television producer[3] who was beaten to death outside her holiday home near Toormore, Schull, County Cork, Ireland, on the night of 23 December 1996. She was the wife of film producer, Daniel Toscan du Plantier.

Du Plantier's death remains unsolved.[2][4][5] Journalist Ian Bailey was arrested twice in relation to the murder, but maintains his innocence.[6] He was tried in absentia in France after winning a legal battle against extradition.[7] On 31 May 2019 he was convicted of murder by the Cour d'Assises de Paris and sentenced to 25 years prison. France is hoping to secure an extradition from Ireland on basis of this sentence. [8]

Extradition case[edit]

The Sophie Toscan du Plantier incident was at the centre of an extradition case surrounding a prime suspect in the case, Ian Bailey, and the desire of the French authorities that he be brought to France to be questioned.[9]

In February 2010, a European Arrest Warrant was issued by a French magistrate which led to the High Court in Ireland granting an extradition order.[10] This was appealed to the Supreme Court by Mr Bailey.[11] In March 2012, the appeal was granted by the Irish Supreme Court.[12] All five judges upheld the appeal on the ground that the French authorities had no intention to try him at this stage; four of the judges also upheld the argument that the European Arrest Warrant prohibited surrendering Mr Bailey to France because the alleged offence occurred outside French territory and there was an absence of reciprocity.[13]

In March 2017, Bailey was arrested in Ireland on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the French authorities. The warrant sought to extradite Bailey to France to stand trial for the voluntary homicide of Sophie Toscan du Plantier and the High Court of Ireland endorsed the warrant. Bailey immediately instructed his legal team to oppose the application.[14] Bailey was successful in avoiding extradition, and in 2018, a French court ruled there was "sufficient grounds" for Bailey to face trial in absentia.[7] As Bailey was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison May 31, 2019 by a French court the conviction is expected to lead to a new French arrest warrant and renewed extradition attempts.[15]

Bandon phone recordings[edit]

In 2014, when it came to light that phone calls at Garda stations had been secretly recorded, there were claims that some recordings from Bandon Garda station had evidence of irregularities in the Toscan du Plantier investigation. The Fennelly Commission, a commission of investigation established in April 2014 by the then government of Ireland, includes within its terms of reference both the recordings generally and the Bandon allegations in particular. The sole member of the commission is Nial Fennelly, a retired justice of the Supreme Court.

In popular culture[edit]

The murder was the subject of a 2018 true-crime podcast miniseries titled West Cork,[16] produced by Audible and hosted by documentarian Jennifer Forde and investigative journalist Sam Bungey.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Helm, James (19 January 2004). "'Black cloud' of unsolved murder". BBC News. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
  2. ^ a b Phelan, Shane (14 July 2008). "High-profile killing remains unsolved over a decade later". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
  3. ^ "Sophie Toscan du Plantier tuée en Irlande". Libé (in French). 25 December 1996. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Mother of Sophie Toscan du Plantier 'will have no peace until killer caught'". Irish Times. 20 September 2010.
  5. ^ Day, Elizabeth (4 July 2010). "Du Plantier murder: village of Schull in West Cork is braced for new moves in case that shattered its peace". The Guardian. London.
  6. ^ O'Connor, Alison (4 April 2014). "Long political silence over garda conduct during Ian Bailey case". Irish Examiner. Archived from the original on 31 March 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b "British man to face trial in France over 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier - France 24". France 24. 3 February 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Ian Bailey allowed to appeal extradition". RTÉ News. 13 April 2011.
  10. ^ "Bailey arrested as French authorities up extradition bid". Herald Newspaper, Ireland. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Ian Bailey's lawyers seek leave to appeal". Southern Star Newspaper, Ireland. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  12. ^ "Ian Bailey wins appeal against extradition". Radio Telefís Éireann, Ireland. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Ian Bailey wins extradition appeal". Irish Times Newspaper. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  14. ^ "High Court endorses Ian Bailey European Arrest Warrant". RTÉ News. 30 March 2017.
  15. ^
  16. ^ West Cork.
  17. ^ Quah, Nicholas (7 March 2018). "West Cork Is a Meticulous and Thoughtful True-Crime Podcast". Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  • Ralph Riegel 2011, 'Shattered – Killers Do Time, Victims' Families Do Life, Collins Press