Netflix documentary on murder ‘poisonous propaganda’, Bailey says

Trailer confirms his view that documentary will seek to demonise him, Bailey says

The house in Schull, Co Cork, that belonged to Sophie du Plantier, and the cross marking the spot where she was murdered. Photograph: Eric Luke

The house in Schull, Co Cork, that belonged to Sophie du Plantier, and the cross marking the spot where she was murdered. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Ian Bailey has predicted a Netflix documentary series on the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier will seek to demonise him on the basis of what he claims is a false narrative given to her family by gardaí.

Mr Bailey said he believed the series, Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, which airs on Netflix on June 30th, would not be an objective telling of the story of the murder of the French film producer in 1996.

“I said before I saw the trailer that it would be a piece of propaganda but now having seen the trailer, I think my prediction is 100 per cent accurate, it is a piece of biased, inimical, poisonous propaganda,” he said.

“It is based entirely on a false narrative, the same false narrative which was used to convict me in my absence in France, linking me to a crime that I had nothing to do with and it will most assuredly demonise me.”

Mr Bailey, who was convicted in France in absentia of the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier in west Cork , was never charged in Ireland despite being twice arrested and he has repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing.

The documentary is made by Lightbox and is directed by John Dower. Mr Dower acknowledged the had been made with the co-operation of Ms Toscan du Plantier’s family but strongly rejected any suggestion it was propaganda.

“I don’t think it is a piece of propaganda. Ian is in the film giving his account of what happened but Ian also very deliberately decided to stop talking to us because he signed an exclusive contract with Jim Sheridan for his film series.”

Director Jim Sheridan’s series aired on Sky Crime on Sunday.

“As I said to Ian several times ‘I want to give you a fair right to reply to some of these things’ but Ian refused because he said he was under contract to Jim for his series.”

“So Ian has got himself in the invidious position where he wants his story to be told properly and yet signing an exclusive deal with somebody else has sort of tied in his hands in a way,” he said.

Co-operation

Mr Dower acknowledged Lightbox had worked closely with Ms Toscan du Plantier’s family, particularly her cousin, Frédéric Gazeau, who acted as an associate producer and was hugely helpful in bringing the project to fruition, including locating Super 8 footage. He was keen to stress the family had no veto on what does or does not appear in his film.

“We set out to make this film with the blessing of Sophie’s family – everyone in the team felt that in true crime, the victim is often a passive afterthought and we wanted to tell Sophie’s story properly so we sought access to her family.

“And Frédéric did a lot of research for us and he helped find a lot of footage of Sophie for us because the family had a lot of Super 8 home-movie footage of Sophie growing up to which they gave us access to build this portrait of her.

“And even at the 11th hour, Frédéric found some emotional footage of Sophie in the cottage in west Cork that nobody had ever seen before, not even her son, Pierre Louis, so he was invaluable in enabling us to tell the family story.”

Mr Dower was keen to stress the family had no veto on what does or does not appear in his film.

“We are making this film with the family, we are not making it for the family, they have no editorial control over it but we were making it with their point of view in mind and that becomes clear, particularly in the final episode.”