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Murder at the Cottage Sophie Toscan du Plantier's family withdrew documentary interviews as 'everything focused on Bailey'

'The objective of this documentary was not Sophie, it was Mr Bailey'

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Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

Sophie Toscan du Plantier

The family of Sophie Toscan du Plantier asked for their interviews to be removed from Jim Sheridan’s Sky documentary because “everything is focused on Ian Bailey”. 

Sophie’s brother, Bertrand Bouniol, said he has watched both documentaries that have come out about his sister in the past few weeks: Netflix’s Sophie: A Murder in West Cork and Sky’s Murder at the Cottage: The search for justice for Sophie.

The French documentary filmmaker was 39 when she was beaten to death at her isolated holiday home near Schull in West Cork on December 23, 1996.

In a case that shook the world, no one has ever been found guilty in Irish courts of her murder.

However, Ian Bailey – who has vehemently denied having any involvement in her death – was found guilty in his absence by a French court two years ago.

He was questioned by gardaí in relation to the murder but was never charged and on three occasions, French bids to have Mr Bailey extradited to Paris were rejected by Irish courts.

After expressing their unease with Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan’s documentary, Sky agreed to remove Sophie’s family’s interviews before it aired.

When asked why he wished for his family’s interviews to be removed, Mr Bouniol told RTÉ Radio One: “When we met the project of Mr Sheridan they told us that they want to also speak about Sophie so we said ok, we want to speak about Sophie.

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“So, I met Jim Sheridan at different times with my parents and alone when he interviewed us.

“But from the beginning of [watching] his documentary it was clear that he wanted to be a witness trying to understand what the case is.

“The objective of this documentary was not Sophie, it was Mr Bailey. And when you look at this documentary everything is focused on Mr Bailey.”

Mr Bouniol said he was happy to participate in the separate three-part Netflix series because it was the first time in 25 years that Sophie was the focus of the case.

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"What is important is the project, which described by Netflix was to put Sophie in the centre of the story, and for the first time in the last 25 years someone put Sophie in the centre,” he said.

“So it was important for us that it was told ‘Who was Sophie?’ Because during the 25 years we forget that.”

When asked if he worries he may be part of trying to send an innocent man to prison, Mr Bouniol said “it’s not for me to answer”.

He added: “I’m a victim because I’m Sophie's brother, and something that I’ve learned in the 25 years is that we the victims ask for justice.

"Justice is given by the police, I have not decided that this man was guilty and that’s important.

“But, at the same time, we need to decide and define who is guilty or not.”

After speaking with Mr Bouniol, RTÉ presenter Philip Boucher-Hayes pleaded with people not to take selfies at Sophie’s West Cork home.

It came as Independent.ie reported that locals and community leaders have hit out at a surge in so-called 'murder tourism' in the wake of the two hit Sophie Toscan du Plantier TV documentaries and the intense publicity now surrounding the 1996 killing.

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