A BRITISH journalist wanted for questioning by the French authorities over the Sophie Toscan du Plantier killing in west Cork 16 years ago has received a masters law degree.
Ian Bailey (55), who lives in Liscaha outside Schull in west Cork, yesterday received a master of laws degree at University College Cork (UCC).
His thesis for the masters was entitled 'Policing the Police – Garda Accountability in Ireland'.
His masters degree comes three years after he received a BL honours degree from the university, where he began his studies in 2007.
It is understood Mr Bailey became interested in law following his libel action against a number of Irish and British newspapers in 2003.
Mr Bailey was twice arrested by gardai investigating the killing of the 39-year-old mother of one near her holiday home at Toormore, Schull, on December 23, 1996.
The Manchester-born journalist was arrested in 1997 and 1998, but released without charge on both occasions.
He has consistently protested his innocence in the matter and claimed that attempts were made to frame him.
Despite one of the biggest garda murder probes ever mounted, no-one has ever been charged with Ms Du Plantier's killing.
The French launched their own investigation into the killing five years ago and Paris-based magistrate Patrick Gachon launched extradition proceedings against Mr Bailey three years ago.
The Supreme Court last year unanimously rejected the French request. The French investigation remains ongoing and last December gardai agreed to launch a new 'cold case' review following a request from Sophie's parents, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol.
The couple told the Irish Independent they will never give up hope that justice will be done for their only daughter.
Mr Bailey has predicted that the French will now attempt to try him in absentia.
He had reported on the killing of the French film executive in December 1996 and January 1997 for a number of Irish, British and French publications.
Sophie suffered massive head wounds and was wearing just a nightdress when she was discovered by a neighbour at the foot of the laneway leading to her isolated holiday home.
Mr Bailey was in UCC yesterday and was accompanied by his long-time partner, Welsh-born artist Jules Thomas.
Mr Bailey said he was "delighted" with his academic achievement and the six years he has spent studying at UCC.