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French to test murdered Sophie's bloodied clothes

FRENCH investigators probing the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier will travel to Ireland next month to carry out DNA tests on bloodied clothing.

A pair of investigation teams, including three police interviewers and two forensic experts, will travel here in 10 days time, where they will interview up to 30 people.

One of the teams will visit Dublin, where they will examine bloodstained clothing and other materials gathered at the murder scene in Schull, West Cork almost 15 years ago. A second team will interview witnesses in Cork, however, it has emerged that the self-confessed prime suspect in the murder, Ian Bailey, (53) will not be one of those interviewed.

The Du Plantiers' Paris-based lawyer, Alain Spilliaert, said: "For the family this is very important because they have waited for this moment a long, long time."

Investigators will carry out DNA tests using the low-copy numbered method -- the same technique used on the body of Ms Toscan du Plantier when it was exhumed for the third time in 2008.

The method was developed in the Nineties and has rarely been used in Irish criminal cases, but is more established in France.

The visit will be seen as the latest push on behalf of French police to find the killer of the mum-of-one. It is understood that 27 people have confirmed that they will agree to being interviewed, with a further three yet to give their response.

The team is expected to spend at least five days in Ireland and each of the interviews will be supervised by gardai.

Police have admitted to being frustrated with aspects of the investigation, and were unable to get access to a series of diaries written by Mr Bailey.