Ian Bailey, main suspect in Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder, dies in Cork

Ian Bailey, the main suspect in the murder of French producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier, has died in Cork.

Mr Bailey, 66, had a very severe heart condition and had been a candidate for surgery.

His solicitor Frank Buttimer, who has known Mr Bailey since March 1997, said he was “very upset” to hear of his death.

“I knew Ian was very unwell, we were in communication in the past five days, but I didn’t know he was terminally unwell,” he told the PA news agency.

“He had a very severe heart condition, a very bad heart condition, and had cardiac events prior to Christmas.

“He was a candidate for surgical intervention but wasn’t well enough, so he was trying to become well enough.”

Ian Bailey lawsuit
Sophie Toscan du Plantier (Family handout)

The body of Ms Toscan du Plantier, 39, was found badly beaten outside her holiday home in Schull, West Cork, in December 1996.

Mr Bailey, with an address at The Prairie in Schull, was convicted of her murder in his absence by a Paris court in May 2019, which imposed a 25-year sentence.

He had no legal representation, did not attend the court and described it as a farce at the time.

In October 2020, the High Court in Ireland rejected an attempt by French authorities to extradite Mr Bailey for the murder.

The court ruled that he would not be surrendered to France after a European Arrest Warrant was issued in 2019.

Mr Bailey has always vehemently denied any involvement in Ms Toscan du Plantier’s death.

Manchester-born Bailey tried to build a career as a journalist before moving to West Cork in the mid-1990s where he turned his hand to poetry, gardening and running a pizza stall with his former partner.