GARDAI ARE revisiting the investigation file on the unsolved murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier after a new suspect emerged.
The murder of Toscan du Plantier 24 years ago has been the subject of much debate and speculation over the past few weeks following the release of two new true crime documentaries reviewing the case.
Now, according to the Irish Independent, detectives are reviewing the case based on information provided by Marie Farrell who claims she can now identify the male suspect she saw with the victim just days before her murder.
Farrell was previously a key witness in the Gardai’s case against the prime suspect in Toscan du Plantier’s murder, Ian Bailey.
She initially identified Bailey as the man she recalled seeing outside her shop in Schull on the day Toscan du Plantier was last seen alive back in December 1996.
Farrell recalled seeing a man wearing a long black coat watching the victim that day.
She also recalled seeing the same person on a remote bridge close to the holiday home Toscan du Plantier was staying in at the time.
Though she initially claimed the man was Bailey, Farrell later withdrew her testimony.
However in a fresh twist, she has now identified the man as an alternative suspect.
Farrell pointed out the individual, she claims to have seen, while perusing photos of Toscan du Plantier with filmmaker Jim Sheridan in the Sky documentary Murder at the Cottage.
It is understood she identified the man while perusing photos of Sophie, her late husband and people known to the couple.
Detectives are now in the process of assessing the credibility of the information and will be reviewing the investigation file to see if the person Farrell has named is among the 50 suspects initially identified as potential suspects in Toscan du Plantier’s murder.
Bailey has twice been arrested by gardaí for the murder, in 1997 and 1998, but never formally charged in Ireland.
He was, however, convicted in absentia by a French court in 2019.
Bailey has always maintained his innocence and claimed in Sheridan’s documentary that a French hitman may have been hired to kill the Paris-born filmmaker at her home.
Despite this latest development, Bailey’s solicitor Frank Buttimer, told Extra that it is unlikely to lead to a major breakthrough.
He said: “One of the awful consequences of this tragic situation would become apparent in the event that a genuine suspect for the offence became identifiable, which might require cooperation from the French authorities to An Garda Síochána and where the likely outcome, in that event, would be a refusal to provide mutual assistance from the French.”