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Sophie: The Final Verdict

On sale

12th September 2024

Price: £15.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781399742634

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It was 26 December 1996 when we arrived in West Cork to cover the recent murder of Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Our man on the ground was Eoin [Ian] Bailey. His level of detail on the case showed extraordinary insight. I was completely taken in. When the scales fell from my eyes some weeks later, it was the shock of my journalistic career. In a moment, everything that had been eluding me about the strange workings of this dreadful case made perfect sense. I knew with blazing clarity that I had held the gaze of a pitiless destroyer in the aftermath of murder.

Ian Bailey, prime suspect for the brutal murder in West Cork of Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier, died outdoors in January 2024, having never faced trial in Ireland.

His demise reopens a crime that shocked the nation in 1996 – along with divisions that have split society in the decades since over his guilt or innocence.

Sophie: The Final Verdict tells a remarkable story that could not until now be revealed. Senan Molony was the first national crime correspondent at the scene. From his growing unease at his helper Ian Bailey’s conduct, to the astonishing moment when Bailey was arrested for a murder the suspect himself had been covering, it is an insider’s account of those infamous early days of a doomed investigation, and the astonishing years to follow – as Bailey, a violent misogynist and pathological liar, escaped trial in his adopted country despite compelling evidence.

Including interviews with members of Sophie’s family, key garda investigators, local witnesses and Bailey himself, it sets out the full facts and categorically dismantles Bailey’s mainstay defence that he did not know Sophie. As it unpacks some of the commonly held myths attaching to the case – misinformation often seeded by the suspect himself – it also brings to light astonishing new witness testimony of confessions to the murder, along with fresh evidence of guilt.

Bailey was tried in absentia in Paris and sentenced to 25 years but enjoyed full freedom after the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to put his fate before an Irish jury.

This book lets the full evidence speak.