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Tuesday 17 October 2017

Conversations taped between key witness of Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder probe and gardai

Victim: Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, who was bludgeoned to death in Schull, Co Cork in 1996
Victim: Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, who was bludgeoned to death in Schull, Co Cork in 1996

Three phone calls between a central witness in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder investigation and members of the gardaí were recorded, it has been revealed.

Former garda commissioner Martin Callinan wrote to the Department of Justice earlier this month about the taped telephone conversations which were kept in garda stations.

Marie Farrell, the key witness in the murder probe, had first identified Ian Bailey as a suspect but she later changed her evidence.

Mr Bailey is suing the State for wrongful arrest.

The former comissioner Mr Callinan asks in his letter that Minister for Justice Alan Shatter be informed of three earlier recordings between Ms Farrell and members of the gardaí.

But Mr Shatter said he did not see the letter until more than two weeks later.

Mr Callinan's letter also says the Attorney General's office had been informed four months previously and that transcripts had been forwarded to the Attorney General's office and the Department of Justice.

The murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier at her holiday home in Schull in 1996 is one of the State's most notorious unsolved crimes. Mr Bailey, a local journalist, was twice arrested and released, as was his partner, Jules Thomas.

The French authorities launched their own investigation into the murder and sought Mr Bailey's extradition from Ireland two years ago.

The extradition request failed, but the French investigation continues.

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