Timeline of two decades since Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder

December 23, 1996: The body of Sophie Toscan du Plantier is found outside her holiday home near Toormore, near Schull in West Cork by a neighbour. Gardaí launch an investigation into the murder of the French film-maker.

February 10, 1997: Ian Bailey, an English journalist who moved to West Cork in 1991, is arrested at his home near Schull in connection with Ms du Plantier’s murder. His partner, Jules Thomas, is also arrested for questioning and both are later released without charge. A court will later hear that by the time of Mr Bailey’s arrest, schoolboy Malachi Reid had made a statement to gardaí claiming that when Mr Bailey had been giving him a lift home he had said he had killed Ms du Plantier.

September 29, 1997: A file is sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

January 27, 1998: Ian Bailey is arrested again. He is questioned at Bandon Garda Station and is released without charge.

September 22, 2000: Jules Thomas is arrested for a second time and one of her daughters is arrested in Cork City. Both are released without charge.

January 2002: Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne orders a review of the Garda investigation into Ms du Plantier’s murder, following a highly critical analysis of the handling of the case, produced the previous November by Robert Sheehan, a solicitor in the DPP’s office.

December 19, 2002: Ms du Plantier’s family begins a civil action against Mr Bailey for her wrongful death. It is withdrawn in 2006.

March 2003: A new file on the case is presented to the DPP.

December 2003: Mr Bailey begins a libel action against eight newspapers, losing six and winning two.

The hearing includes testimony from Marie Farrell, who lives near Schull, in which she confirms an earlier statement given to gardaí that she saw a man she later learnt was Mr Bailey at Kealfadda Bridge on the night of Ms du Plantier’s murder.

April 2005: Ms Farrell withdraws her statement placing Mr Bailey near the scene of the murder and alleges she was coerced into making it by gardaí, sparking a Garda review into the investigation.

May 1, 2007: Mr Bailey launches a High Court action alleging, among other charges, wrongful arrest and false imprisonment, against the minister for justice and the Garda commissioner.

June 2008: A French magistrate orders the exhumation in France of Ms du Plantier’s body. The following month the DPP recommends no prosecution. The Garda file on the murder is made available to French authorities.

February 19, 2010: Judge Patrick Gachon, who ordered the exhumation of Ms du Plantier’s body and who also visited the murder scene and met with gardaí, issues a European arrest warrant for Mr Bailey. In April, Mr Bailey is arrested and brought before the High Court, where he is granted bail.

March 18, 2011: The High Court orders Mr Bailey’s surrender to the French authorities on foot of the arrest warrant, but grants him leave to appeal.

March 1, 2012: The Supreme Court rules in Mr Bailey’s favour, blocking any extradition. Mr Bailey lodges a complaint with GSOC regarding the Garda investigation.

April, 2014: Following revelations that phonecalls at Bandon Garda Station had been recorded, the Government says this will form part of the Fennelly Inquiry.

March 30, 2015: Mr Bailey loses his civil action against the State and gardaí.

July 27, 2016: French judge Nathalie Turquey orders a fresh arrest warrant for Mr Bailey.

More on this topic

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