Netflix is known for leading the way when it comes to true crime documentaries, so it’s no surprise that its newest series is shaping up to be a smash-hit.
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork is a three-part documentary film series that takes a look at the life of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, as well as an investigation into her death in 1996 after her murder – which became a national obsession in Ireland and France.
On the morning of 23 December 1996, the Gardaí – or Irish police – discovered French producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier dead in the coastal outpost of West Cork.
Toscan du Plantier had been residing in her holiday home in Ireland before she was murdered, and the police looked into a handful of suspects, including her husband, Daniel Toscan du Plantier, and former lover, Bruno Carbonnet.
But for decades, the prime suspect in this tragic case – who was never tried in Ireland but has since faced the court of public opinion – has boiled down to one man.
And that prime suspect is from right here in Manchester.
Who is Ian Bailey?
Born in Manchester, Ian Bailey moved to Ireland in 1991 with his partner, Jules Thomas, and settled in the remote West Cork village of Schull from 1992 onwards.
He worked as a freelance journalist, fish farmer, poet, and held a market stall selling pizzas.
Bailey was known for previous incidents of domestic violence towards Thomas, which had resulted in her hospitalisation, and in 2001 he was convicted of assault in Skibbereen District Court.
A psychiatrist’s report prepared for the murder trial of Sophie Toscan du Plantier concluded he had a “personality constructed on narcissism, psycho-rigidity, violence, impulsiveness, egocentricity, with an intolerance to frustration and a great need for recognition” and also had a tendency to become violent “under the liberating effects of alcohol”.
The judge stated that “Mr Bailey is a man who likes a certain amount of notoriety, that he likes perhaps to be in the limelight, that he likes a bit of self-publicity”.
How did he become the prime suspect?
Ian Bailey has denied ever officially meeting Toscan du Plantier.
While Bailey initially presented himself as a helpful local journalist for out-of-town reporters, he soon became the centre of the murder investigation, with the most damning evidence against him coming from a shopkeeper named Marie Farrell, who said that she had seen a man in a long coat at Kealfadda Bridge the night that Toscan du Plantier was murdered.
Farrell later retracted her statement, and claimed that Bailey threatened her after she initially identified him.
Despite Farrell’s testimony, other signs such as scratches on Bailey’s head, hands, and arms days after the murder were also identified and according to a report from the Irish Independent, neighbours also saw Bailey burn a mattress among other belongings.
On top of that, Bailey also confessed to Schull residents that he killed Toscan du Plantier – but he later claimed he was only joking.
Did he ever get convicted?
The Director of Public Prosecutions in Ireland said that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to try Bailey.
Although he wasn’t convicted in Ireland for the murder, his legal battle continued in France, as according to French law, the country has extraterritorial jurisdiction when a French citizen is murdered, so Bailey was tried in absentia, and in 2019, the three-judge Cour d’Assises in France officially convicted Bailey of murder, sentencing him to 25 years.
However, the Irish High Court ruled in Oct 2020 that Bailey, then 63, could not be extradited.
Bailey himself has also pursued legal action twice – once against the media for libel, and another time against the Irish state for wrongful arrest.
He lost both cases.
According to a 2021 report in The Irish Post, Bailey is getting ready to sue Netflix for using his interview in the true crime documentary, alleging in a letter: “At no time did I agree to it being used in a finished documentary.”
You can find more information about Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, and watch the series in full on Netflix here.
Featured Image – Netflix UK & Ireland
Peter Kay moved to tears by standing ovation in Manchester as he returns to stand-up
Peter Kay was moved to tears by the outpouring of love from the audience in the AO Arena before he’d even started his set.
The Bolton comedian, 49, made his long-awaited return to the stand-up scene this weekend, with two sold-out shows in Manchester.
Another wrote: “What an absolute privilege to be there for Peter Kay’s return to the big stage. He got a standing ovation for his entrance and was reduced to tears, never seen anything like it. No spoilers, just a superb night.”
Someone else said: “I was expecting a huge standing ovation for Peter Kay’s return, but that was just mega. I felt so privileged to be there tonight. I’ve waited to see him live for so long. If you recorded anything, please don’t be a d*ck sharing it and ruining it for everyone else.”
One person tweeted: “What a beautiful moment yesterday. Peter Kay in tears after such a rapturous reception.”
Featured image: TikTok, @hannah5290_
Stone Roses bassist Mani raises over £100k for The Christie and local NHS charities
Stone Roses bassist Mani and his wife Imelda have raised over £100,000 for two cancer charities close to their hearts.
After Imelda Mounfield – who is the wife of Stone Roses bassist Gary ‘Mani’ – was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer back in November 2020, the couple not only set out to raise awareness of the devastating disease, but also raise as much money as possible for local cancer charities through an online auction featuring some impressive prizes.
The auction was launched at a fundraising event held at Kimpton Clocktower Ballroom on Friday 18 November, and saw the couples’ friends from the world of music, sport, and entertainment donate an incredible array of exclusive items.
Some auction highlights included Noel Gallagher’s framed and signed set of six platinum discs for the album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, which went for an impressive £8,000, while guitars donated by Damon Albarn, Arctic Monkeys, Primal Scream, Foo Fighters, Peter Hook, and The Who were also all up for sale.
The highest bid went to John Squire’s Jackson Pollock-inspired painted and signed Hofner guitar 3/3 for a whopping £16,800.
Liam Gallagher’s 2022 NME award for ‘Music Moment of the Year’ sold for £4,100, and David Beckham’s signed boots he wore for the last match of his career on 18 May 2013 were sold for £6,800.
All together, over £80,000 was raised from the auction, as well as £24,000 raised on the night of the fundraising event itself – which means that just over £100,000 has now been donated to The Christie Charity andStockport NHS Charity.
Imelda explained that funds were donated to these two charities as they “supported me through my journey.
“Cancer affects not just the person who has it, but everyone around them,” she explained, “I hope that by investing in some more research, we can help alleviate some of the devastation caused to families by cancer.”
Both charities say they are “really touched” and “hugely grateful” for the contributions.
“We’re really touched that Imelda’s experiences as a patient have spurred her and Mani into action for our charity,” said Louise Stimson – Head of Fundraising at The Christie Charity.
While Karen James OBE – Chief Executive for Stockport NHS Foundation Trust – added: “We’re hugely grateful to Imelda and Mani’s efforts in organising the fundraising event and auction [and] we’re proud of the care Imelda and many others with cancer have received at Stepping Hill Hospital.
“This fundraiser for our charity is a really touching display of her thanks, which will help us go on to support more patients in the future.”
Sadly, Imelda’s cancer has spread to her liver and a small nodule in her lung, so she underwent emergency life-saving bowel surgery as it perforated, and after months of treatments, she had the right side of her liver removed.
Imelda is now currently waiting for the next stage of treatment.