Relative of Sophie Toscan du Plantier says Schull has become 'Baileyland' following murder documentaries

Relative of Sophie Toscan du Plantier says Schull has become 'Baileyland' following murder documentaries

SOPHIE Toscan du Plantier's uncle says the town where his niece was murdered has become 'Baileyland' in the wake of two documentaries series about her death.

Ms Toscan du Plantier was killed outsider her home near the town of Schull in west Cork on December 23, 1996.

Her killer has never been found, although a significant amount of evidence points the finger at Ian Bailey, an English journalist who lived nearby at the time.

Bailey was arrested by gardaí twice in the months following Sophie's death, but was never charged.

Relatives of Ms Toscan du Plantier campaigned for years to put Bailey behind bars, and in 2019, he was convicted in absentia for Sophie's murder in a French court, and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Extradition charges have however been rejected in Ireland, where Bailey continues to live.

The murder case has been thrust back into the spotlight this month following the release of two documentary series centred around Sophie's death, on Sky and on Netflix.

Jean-Pierre Gazeau, Sophie's uncle, said the town of Schull has become a tourist attraction over the last few weeks, comparing it to Disneyland.

"In some sense, what happens now, the region of Schull is becoming - because of the documentaries and so on - is becoming a touristic place," Mr Gazeau told Newstalk's Pat Kenny.

"And it's a kind of 'Baileyland' - like we have Disneyland, the people want to see him.

"And in some sense he is happy with that".

French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier was killed in Co. Cork in 1996

Mr Gazeau was critical of Irish director Jim Sheridan's docu-series, which aired on Sky, as he felt it attempted to paint Bailey as the victim - a man wrongly convicted of murder and hounded by the media ever since.

"My reactions were contrasted: because for the documentary of Jim Sheridan - besides the artistic quality of the documentary - I don't agree about the content.

"For me, it appeared eventually it was presenting Ian Bailey as a victim.

"On the other hand, [the] Netflix documentary was made in collaboration with the family… I am firmly satisfied by the quality of the documentary."

He also voiced his frustration at Ireland's refusal to extradite Bailey, suggesting that as two EU member states, the French and the Irish should be working together.

"If Ireland had extradited Ian Bailey, Ian Bailey would have the right to have a new trial: but at the moment, he is free - completely free in Ireland," Mr Gazeau added.

"We are two European countries, and we are part of the same European Union.

"So there are special agreement in the judicial cooperation - Ireland respects its signature fulfilling the European Judicial Collaboration."