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Sophie lover was murder suspect

A MAN who had a relationship with murdered Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier was identified by a former DPP’s office as a "suspect" in the garda inquiry into her death.

The man has never been named and has since passed away – but it is understood he had a relationship with Sophie in the months before her death.

Documents relating to the investigation have emerged and other claims include:

l Drugs were offered to a user by a garda to obtain evidence against self-declared suspect Ian Bailey:

l A solicitor involved in a 2001 review of the case said there was no evidence linking Mr Bailey to the killing and his actions were indicative of innocence:

l Mr Bailey’s partner Jules Thomas was arrested and detained unlawfully. She was not questioned about Sophie’s murder:

l Gardai did not tell the DPP that two witnesses reported seeing “unusual activity” on the day of Sophie’s death:

l Gardai told members of the community in Schull that Mr Bailey was the murderer, despite his insistence that he was innocent, and there was every chance “he will kill again”:

l Common sense and strong evidence suggested that scratches seen on Mr Bailey were sustained by cutting down a tree and killing two turkeys. The latter was observed by two witnesses.

These claims were contained in a report compiled in 2001.

The review of the investigation was ordered by the office of the then DPP James Hamilton and was entitled Analysis of the Evidence To Link Ian Bailey To The Sophie Toscan Du Plantier Murder.

The report names the man with whom Sophie had a relationship and says his existence was known to both gardai and the DPP.

The report described this man as a “suspect in relation to the murder inquiry” and said he regularly stayed in Sophie’s

home in Schull, West Cork, before she ended the affair.

In relation to the claim of the offer of cannabis to a user, the report says on the balance of evidence, it believes the drug user is telling the truth. This has been completely rejected by the garda in question.

On January 13, the Supreme Court will consider an appeal by Mr Bailey against the High Court decision to extradite him to France.

Meanwhile, Sophie’s family has predicted that the Supreme Court will proceed with the landmark extradition hearing next month and not refer it back to the High Court over controversial new files.

Mr Bailey wants an extradition order reheard in the High Court on foot of the stark revelations contained in the new documents only supplied to the defence by the State last month.

Mr Bailey (54) – who has vehemently protested his innocence – is fighting extradition to France where he faces questioning and possible trial over the death of the mother-of-one (39) in 1996.

Alain Spilliaert, lawyer for Sophie’s parents, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, said they were now “hopeful and quite optimistic” that the Supreme Court would not get involved in the controversy generated by the documentation but would proceed with the core extradition issue”.

“We do not believe it is relevant,” Mr Spilliaert told the Herald.

He said aspects of the original Irish murder investigation were not central to the core extradition issue now at hand.

“We believe the issue is whether the French judicial system is fair and balanced. That is what we believe the Supreme Court will focus on. Actually, we are quite optimistic that it will not be sent back to the High Court,” he added.

The Supreme Court will now hear the defence application fon January 13 next.