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Video evidence in Sophie probe

A TEAM of top French detectives are to discuss video-link evidence with potential witnesses for any trial next year over the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39).

The team -- which is comprised of some of France's top detectives and forensic science experts -- have been ordered to Ireland by Paris-based magistrate Patrick Gachon.

Mr Gachon is leading a French probe into the murder which was launched in 2008 following pressure from Sophie's family and friends.

Sophie's battered body was discovered on December 23, 1996 at the foot of a laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore outside Schull, Co Cork.

She had apparently tried to flee her attacker who caught up with her and then bludgeoned her to death.

Despite one of the biggest murder probes in Irish history, no one has ever been charged with the killing.

The French team will arrive in West Cork next month and are negotiating to interview 31 key witnesses in relation to the murder of the mother-of-one.


Among those expected to meet the French team are Shirley Foster, Sophie's neighbour and the woman who discovered her body; Marie Farrell, a former Schull shopkeeper who gave dramatic sworn evidence only to later recant it and Jules Thomas, the partner of former reporter and current law student, Ian Bailey (53).

The witnesses previously gave sworn statements to gardai in 1996 to 1998 and some of them also gave evidence during a high-profile libel action taken by Mr Bailey (53), against eight newspapers in 2003.