Shocking true story behind Netflix’s true crime series Sophie: A Murder in West Cork

Sophie Toscan du Plantier was a 39-year-old French television producer (Image: PA)

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Netflix’s new true-crime documentary Sophie: A Murder in West Cork revisits the 1996 killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Ireland.

The three-part series takes a look at the baffling case, which saw the 39-year-old French television producer murdered just days before Christmas.

Sophie’s assassination has been viewed as "the region’s first murder in living memory" by locals in Schull, the Irish coastal town in which Sophie was brutally killed.

In the trailer, an expert featured in the documentary is seen admitting that the shocking case had "no witness and no DNA", and only "circumstantial evidence".

The Parisian woman was a regular visitor to Ireland, as she had bought a cottage in a remote part of rural West Cork back in 1993 following several trips to the country as a teenager.

Murder-victim, Sophie, often travelled to her holiday retreat in Ireland with her son
(Image: NETFLIX)

She often travelled to her holiday retreat with her son and was known by the locals.

On December 20, 1996, Sophie arrived at her holiday home, which was located 5km away from Schull. She had plans to return to her home city of Paris in time for Christmas.

Sophie was set to work on two filming projects for the TV Channel Arte during her stay.

On December 23, at 10am, the television producer was tragically found dead by her neighbours in a laneway beside her house dressed in nightwear and boots.

At 10 am, on December 23, the television producer was tragically found dead by her neighbours
(Image: PA)

Sophie’s neighbours reportedly struggled to identify her as her facial injuries were too severe.

It was later revealed that on the night of the 22nd of December, Sophie had first been struck to the face by her murderer before scratching him on the head and on his arms while attempting to fight him off.

Police investigators subsequently found hair under Sophie’s nails.

The evil killer had severely beat her using a block of cement found in the garden.

Following the neighbours' discovery, Sophie’s body was left outdoors until the arrival of the State Pathologist, John Harbison, 28 hours later.

Despite failing to determine the television producer’s time of death, John found that the victim had suffered "laceration and swelling of the brain, fracture of the skull, and multiple blunt head injuries."

Have you seen Sophie: A Murder in West Cork? Let us know what you think in the comments below

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Netflix documentary Sophie: A Murder in West Cork was created with the co-operation of Sophie’s family, who also founded the Association for the Truth on the Murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in 2007.

Ian Bailey was arrested twice by the Garda Síochána, however, no charges were laid as the Director of Public Prosecutions found the evidence observed was too insufficient to proceed to trial.

Ian was later convicted of the murder in 2019, by the Cour d'Assises de Paris and sentenced to 25 years in prison. However, in 2020 Ireland's High Court ruled that he could not be extradited.

Sophie: A Murder in West Cork is now available to stream on Netflix.

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