An Garda Síochána has appointed a team to carry out a preliminary assessment of the investigation into the 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork, in an attempt to ascertain whether a full cold-case review is needed.
The Irish Times has reported that four detectives from the serious crime review team have started examining the case file, which runs to some 4,000 pages and was submitted four times to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“Carrying out a scoping exercise would be standard before you begin a full review of a case,” a source told The Irish Times, adding that they would look at issues such as forensics and ask if advances in technology would make them worth revisiting.
“You would also look at statements. Maybe the circumstances of witnesses have changed and somebody who wasn’t able to talk 25 years ago might be in a position to talk now or maybe tell you more. It’s not a reinvestigation but a review to assist the senior investigating officer.”
Ms Toscan du Plantier’s son, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud, raised the possibility of a full cold-case review of the murder when he met Chief Supt Con Cadogan of the West Cork Division in Schull in October.
“I said to Chief Supt Cadogan ‘why not a cold-case review because it is a cold case?’ So, it is good to hear that detectives are carrying out some preliminary work in relation to that,” he said.
The body of the French film producer (39) was found on December 23rd, 1996, at the entrance to her holiday home at Dreenane near Toormore. She had sustained severe head injuries.
The chief suspect, Ian Bailey, has also called for a cold-case review. He has written three times this year to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris on the matter.
“To be honest, it doesn’t really matter to me whether it’s a cold-case review or a review. If it’s a review and it’s honest and independent, that’s what I really want,” he told The Irish Times.
The 64-year-old was twice arrested but never charged in Ireland in connection with Ms Toscan du Plantier’s murder. He has repeatedly denied involvement in the killing, but was convicted in absentia of her murder in France in 2019 and sentenced to 25 years.