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Monday 19 February 2018

Fresh DNA results due in Sophie case


THE results of fresh forensic tests carried out by the French team investigating the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier are due back later this month.

The French conducted the tests on exhibits taken from the west Cork murder scene where Ms Toscan du Plantier was beaten to death 15 years ago. They include samples of hair and nail scrapings and items belonging to Ian Bailey, who is fighting extradition to be questioned about the murder in France.

According to French lawyers, any new evidence such as DNA will be shared with gardai and could prompt fresh arrests in Ireland. The Supreme Court was told last week that there might be "some developments outside the control of the State" that may affect Mr Bailey's extradition appeal, although it was not clear what these were.

Ms Toscan du Plantier was murdered at her holiday home in west Cork in December 1996. Mr Bailey, a former journalist, was twice arrested but the Director of Public Prosecutions found no evidence to charge him. After the State failed to prosecute anyone, the French appointed a magistrate to investigate Ms Toscan du Plantier's death under French law.

French investigators spent two weeks in Ireland gathering evidence and re-interviewing witnesses. Three forensic scientists were given access for the first time to exhibits in the garda file, which were subjected to complex and detailed tests. Past forensic tests failed to detect any DNA on Ms Toscan du Plantier's body. The French team said they were hopeful that advances in for-ensic science since her death could yield new evidence.

At a sitting last week, the chief justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham, asked to be kept informed of anything that could affect the listing of the appeal. The State's legal team told her there may be "some developments outside the control of the State" which may affect the appeal.

Mr Bailey, 54, who moved from the UK to Schull in 1991, has always denied involvement in her death and is suing the State for wrongful arrest. The High Court ordered his extradition to France in March.

Sunday Independent

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