Ian Bailey: How to watch Netflix true crime documentary Sophie: A Murder in West Cork

Here is everything you need to know about Netflix true crime documentary Sophie: A Murder In West Cork which features Ian Bailey, who was a suspect in one of Ireland's most notorious murders.
Netflix's true crime documentary Sophie: A Murder In West CorkNetflix's true crime documentary Sophie: A Murder In West Cork
Netflix's true crime documentary Sophie: A Murder In West Cork

Ian Bailey, a man who lived in the public eye for three decades as a suspect of a brutal murder, died earlier the week it has been confirmed.

Arrested twice without charge for the murder of a French filmmaker, Bailey was the subject of extradition and several podcasts and true crime documentaries with Netflix launching 'Sophie: A Murder In West Cork' in 2021.

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Here is everything you need to know about the Netflix true crime series.

What is Sophie: A Murder In West Cork about

As per the Netflix synopsis, the Netflix documentary looks into the brutal murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, stating: "In 1996, a French woman is found brutally murdered near her rural Irish home just before Christmas, leaving her tight-knit community in shock. With the investigation heating up, police focus their attention on an unlikely suspect: a local journalist who had first reported on the murder"

Who was Ian Bailey, what happened to Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Bailey was a former journalist who became a suspect in notorious murder of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in 1996. Originally from Manchester, Bailey moved to Ireland in 1991 before moving in with his then partner Goleen a year later.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier had been brutally battered to death near her holiday home in West Cork in 1996 at the age of just 39. Although she had a home in the French capital of Paris, she was fond of Ireland and had visited many times in her younger years before buying a holiday home in the early 1990s. It is said the cottage was located in the townland of Dunmanus West in rural West Cork. Tragically, Toscan du Plantier was found dead outside of the cottage at 10am with a pathologist later confirming he had found "laceration and swelling of the brain, fracture of the skull, and multiple blunt head injuries" which caused her death.

Following the murder, Bailey was twice arrested by police in connection with the victim's death though prosecutors did not charge him and claimed there was insufficient evidence to do so which has left the crime unsolved since 1996.

Bailey went on to live in the public eye for almost three decades following his arrest with many convinced of his guilt and others feeling he was a victim of injustice. There were extradition attempts from France and also a European arrest warrant on Bailey, who maintained his innocence throughout.

In 2019, Bailey was sentenced in France, in absentia, to 25 years for the murder.

It is reported that Bailey was first informed of the murder at 1.40pm by a reporter from the Irish Examiner, who claims he did not inform Bailey that the murder was of a French woman as he did not know the information at the time, though several witnesses have claimed Bailey told them before noon that he was reporting on the murder of a French women and some even claimed they were offered crime scene photographs at 11am.

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Days on from Toscan du Plantier's murder, it was noted that Bailey had multiple scratch marks on his forearms and an injury to his forehead which he cited were due to cutting down a Christmas tree in the day previous, though witnesses who were with him on the evening of the December 22, before the murder, could not recall any injuries. There were also conflicting accounts of his whereabouts on the night of the murder from both himself and his partner.

A 14-year-old boy also claimed that, two months on from the killing, Bailey had confessed to the murder and stated he "smashed her brains in with a rock". Bailey denied this claim.

Bailey died yesterday (21 January 2024) after suffering cardiac arrest in Bantry.

“He suffered a deep and grievous wrong at the hands of the Irish state,” said Frank Buttimer, a solicitor who represented Bailey. “It shaped his life for the past 27 years. It took any form of normal existence away from him. He became extraordinary because of what happened to him.”

Sophie: A Murder In West Cork - how to watch true crime documentary

The series is currently available to watch for subscribers to Netflix UK after it was released on the platform in 2021. The series is split into three parts with each episode lasting between 49–64 minutes.

You must have a Netflix monthly subscription in order to watch, which is available here at prices that begin at £4.99.