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Will gardaí ever catch Sophie Toscan de Plantier’s killer?

With little fresh evidence to go on, gardaí face a battle to solve a murder case that has dogged them since 1996

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Sophie Toscan du Plantier was killed near her holiday home in West Cork just before Christmas 1996

Sophie Toscan du Plantier was killed near her holiday home in West Cork just before Christmas 1996

Undated family photo of Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Undated family photo of Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Jim Sheridan on location filming 'Murder at the Cottage'. Picture by Barbara McCarthy

Jim Sheridan on location filming 'Murder at the Cottage'. Picture by Barbara McCarthy

Ian Bailey was arrested twice over the murder but was never charged and he has always protested his innocence. Picture by Mark Condren

Ian Bailey was arrested twice over the murder but was never charged and he has always protested his innocence. Picture by Mark Condren

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Sophie Toscan du Plantier was killed near her holiday home in West Cork just before Christmas 1996

On the day Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s body was found at the end of the lane at her holiday home near Schull in 1996, a group of old school friends who were home for Christmas prepared to meet for drinks in the local pub. It was Monday, December 23, the day before Christmas Eve. Ronan Collins, an engineering student, had dinner at his friend Dillon Fairbairn’s house. Both were at Schull Community School with Jules Thomas’s children, Saffy, Ginny and Fenella.

They met in the Courtyard pub later for drinks. They were a group of 10 or 15 including Arianna, “the Italian girl”. She had heard the news of the murder earlier that day on the radio news as she travelled on the bus from Cork. Ronan first heard about it in the pub that night.


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