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Wednesday 29 January 2020

Two Du Plantier witnesses 'took back statements'

Shane Phelan and Ralph Riegel

TWO key witnesses in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder probe withdrew statements made to gardai.

A third individual, who offered to assist detectives years after the killing, subsequently had to receive psychiatric help, it has emerged.

The latest developments came as friends and former neighbours in west Cork of the French mother of one today mark the 15th anniversary of her brutal murder.

The body of the film executive was discovered at 10am on December 23, 1996, at the foot of the laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore outside Schull.

Former freelance journalist Ian Bailey (54) is fighting extradition to France, where Paris-based magistrate Patrick Gachon wants him for questioning and possible trial.

The Supreme Court will rule on January 13 next on Mr Bailey's application for the extradition case to be referred back to the High Court in light of new documents from the State.

These revealed that officials in the Director of Public Prosecutions' office were concerned as early as 2001 about aspects of the garda probe including:

• That a garda had attempted to induce a drug addict to assist the probe with the offer of cash and cannabis.

• That some witness statements were unreliable.

• Mr Bailey's immediate offer to undergo blood and DNA analysis was indicative of innocence.

The Irish Independent has learnt that two witnesses have since changed their statements.

Another witness insisted on a statement being withdrawn after he said they wrongly stated he had identified Mr Bailey in relation to a timing issue.

A person who claimed to have significant new information subsequently had to receive psychiatric help. The man's offer was not taken further by gardai.

Irish Independent

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