Garda investigates new allegations that Ian Bailey dated Sophie Toscan du Plantier prior to her assassination

Garda has new information that suggests self-proclaimed suspect Ian Bailey knew Sophie Toscan du Plantier prior to her murder and allegedly even dined with her.

A new police statement issued by detectives in recent weeks alleges that Mr Bailey admitted he knew Ms Toscan du Plantier but allegedly then added, “I don’t want the cops to know about this.”

A major re-investigation of all the facts and allegations of the case is underway in the area, with progress being made in reported encounters between the couple regarding Cape Clair Island, off the coast of southwest Cork and elsewhere.

The re-investigation reportedly noted “notable” developments in a number of areas of the guard, with advances on a number of fronts.

Meanwhile, Ms Toscan du Plantier’s former lover Bruno Carbonnet, who lives in France, is wanted on charges that he and the slain French filmmaker dined at the house Bailey shared with his former partner, Jules Thomas.

Mr. Carbonnet, previously ruled out by Garda as a suspect, declined to comment. Irish independent this week on the specific claim that he ate in the company of Mr. Bailey and Miss Tuscany du Plantier.

He said Irish independent: “As you should know, I did not make any (public) comments regarding this criminal case.”

Mr. Carbonnet made no mention of possible contacts with him by the police or the French police, but he had long ago proven his innocence with an ironclad alibi and official data.

He was indisputably in Paris at the time of the brutal murder at Turmore, near Shull in West Cork, on the night of 22 December 1996.

Mr Bailey has long claimed that he never knew the victim prior to her brutal murder in December 1996, although he admits he once saw her through the kitchen window.

The French woman’s former neighbor, Alfie Lyons, testified to the police, claiming that Mr. Bailey and Ms. Tuscany du Plantier met. He publicly stated at his 2003 libel trial that he was “90 percent sure” that he had introduced Mr. Bailey and the murder victim. Mr Lyons has since died.

His partner, Shirley Lyons, told the court at the time, “I don’t think you can identify anyone through the kitchen window. It’s rather obscure. Sink by the window.

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Jan Bailey. Photo: Mark Condren

In the meantime, the Garda received reports of the Cape Clear festival in 1995. In one of them, a witness said he identified a Mr. Bailey, whom he knew, in an alleged conversation with a blonde woman, in whom the witness later identified Ms. Toscan du Plantier from the media. reports of her murder.

There is also a separate report of an alleged encounter with the victim on the Cape Clear ferry from Baltimore.

It was previously alleged that Mr Bailey told others, including Yvonne Ungerer, Ann Cahalein and Helen Callanan, who gave police statements, that he knew Ms Tuscany du Plantier. He denies these interpretations.

There are also allegations that witnesses saw him on the main street of Shull, not far from where Mrs. Tuscany du Plantier was on Saturday, 21 December 1996. Her battered body was found in the driveway to her vacation home the next morning.

The counterclaim concerns misidentification.

Mr Bailey has always ardently maintained his innocence, with his attorney calling a 2019 trial in absentia in France in which he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison as a “farce”. The Irish courts refused to extradite him to France.

Meanwhile, key witnesses in West Cork are sworn to secrecy amid growing signs of a reinvestigation that is steadily gaining momentum.

Locals are now campaigning for action on Ireland’s most infamous unsolved murder, and Taoiseach Michael Martin has been invited to a Concert for Sophie in Shull next month.

Mr. Martin is unable to attend due to a previous commitment.

In a February 1997 statement, two months after the assassination, local resident Bill Fuller told Ghardai, “I also want to point out another point that I think is important.” What he goes on to say was refuted by Mr. Bailey in court.

“About three weeks after the murder, I was at the home of Jules Thomas in the Prairie, Shull, County Cork. This was before Ian Bailey’s arrest. Jules Thomas and Jan Bailey were there. Ian Bailey was wearing a ladies’ skirt. I asked him why he was wearing a women’s skirt. He said it should help him relax.

Locals call for action over infamous unsolved murder

Mr. Fuller continued: “Ian Bailey spoke about the murdered French woman and her French lover… (and) stated that the French woman and her French boyfriend (Bruno Carbonnet) were at their house for dinner two years ago (1995). “It was the Saturday before Ian Bailey’s (40th) birthday”, which fell on the Monday, January 27, 1997.

In recent months, Mr. Fuller has made a new brief statement to Garda.

Again, Mr. Bailey completely denies these allegations and stated under oath that no such conversation ever took place, while arguing, like Ms. Thomas, that separate statements by Mr. Fuller, Chef at Schull, completely false.

Nevertheless, Mr. Fuller said Irish independent that he “told the truth all along” and would do so anyway in the future.

In the meantime, it is said that the fact that in December 1996 the Shulla telephone exchange, which is remarkable for that time, was transferred to digital, was of particular help in the investigation. “He was able to provide detailed billing information,” Garda said in a statement.

This allowed verification of witnesses’ claims that they allegedly received telephone calls from the homes of interested parties in the period following the assassination, and sometimes for many years after it. The probe continues.

This week, Mr Bailey filed a complaint with An Garda Síochána alleging he was verbally abused by a man who visited the Schull Market last Sunday.

He told his “friends, fans and followers” on social media, “I’m just sending a message that I won’t tolerate abuse.”

An attempt was made by Irish independent contact Mr Bailey and Miss Thomas.