Gardaí investigating Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder seize items from Ian Bailey’s flat

Chief suspect in the murder of the French film producer died from a suspected heart attack in Bantry, Co Cork last week

Gardaí began searching Ian Bailey’s rented ground floor flat on Barrack Street at 10am on Friday after getting a warrant for the property. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardaí investigating the murder of French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier have carried out a search of the flat of chief suspect Ian Bailey and seized a large quantity of items including notebooks and computer equipment for examination.

A team of 10 officers, made up of detectives based in Bantry, who are investigating the killing, assisted by officers from the Serious Crime Review Team from Dublin, began searching Mr Bailey’s rented ground floor flat on Barrack Street in Bantry at 10am on Friday after getting a warrant for the property.

Mr Bailey died from a suspected heart attack on Barrack Street in Bantry around lunchtime last Sunday.

Officers spent until 5pm sifting through Mr Bailey’s belongings and seized a large quantity of personal items, including several notebooks with his writings, as well as his mobile phone, laptop, hard drives and memory sticks and other electronic storage devices.


The items were catalogued before being put in evidence bags and storage boxes and brought to Bantry Garda station. There, the investigation team, assisted by the Serious Crime Review Team have set up an incident room from where they will co-ordinate a cold case review of the 1996 murder.

It is understood the search team also seized some personal hygiene products, such as combs and razors, which will be sent to the Forensic Science Ireland laboratory in Dublin. This will enable gardaí obtain a more detailed DNA profile than that developed from the samples that Mr Bailey provided in 1997.

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The mobile phone, laptop and other electronic storage devices will be sent to the computer crime investigation unit in Cork City..

Mr Bailey had been living in a flat in Glengarriff after he separated from his partner of 30 years, Jules Thomas, in March 2021. For approximately the last 18 months he had been living in the bedsit-type flat in Bantry which comprised a kitchen, livingroom and bedroom and a separate shower and toilet.

“There was some amount of stuff there. He was a huge hoarder, he threw nothing out. He had kept a huge amount of newspaper cuttings, articles he had written going back 40 years when he was freelancing, long before he came to Ireland or before the murder of Sophie,” said a source.

Gardaí left many items they felt would be of no evidential value in their investigation, including Mr Bailey’s clothing, his large collection of CDs and his wooden carvings.

Meanwhile, Mr Bailey’s solicitor Frank Buttimer scotched reports from earlier this week that there will be a memorial service in the UK for the former journalist, following his cremation at Island Crematorium in Ringaskiddy on Tuesday morning.

“I am utterly unaware of any plans for a memorial service in the UK,” said Mr Buttimer, who confirmed that he had been in communication with Mr Bailey’s next of kin, his sister, Kay Reynolds, who had organised the cremation of her brother’s remains from her home in the UK.

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Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times