A Manchester man accused of murdering a young woman in 1996 has once again protested his innocence after Netflix brought the crime back into the spotlight with their latest true-crime series.
Across three episodes, Sophie: A Murder in West Cork delves into the unsolved murder of French national, Sophie Toscan Du Plantier, a thirty-nine year old film maker and mother of one.
Two days before Christmas in 1996, Sophie’s body was found outside of her holiday home in West Cork, Ireland, a place she would regularly escape to from her busy life back in France.
Sophie’s body bore clear signs of assault, with over fifty injuries primarily to the head – however, because a murder hadn’t occurred in the area for decades, the police had little to no experience with this type of investigation, so the body was left outside until the pathologist arrived the next day.
Given the time that elapsed before his arrival, it was almost impossible to pinpoint a time of death, and other forensic evidence may have been lost due to this delay.
The police looked into a handful of suspects for Sophie’s murder, including her husband, Daniel Toscan du Plantier, and former lover, Bruno Carbonnet. But eventually, police tried to pin the crime on one man – Ian Bailey, a journalist from Manchester who had moved to Ireland to work as a reporter. Eerily, he had actually covered Sophie’s murder.
The police brought Bailey in for questioning when they noticed suspicious scratch marks on his hands – Bailey later insisted that they had happened when he climbed a tree to cut it down for Christmas. However, the evidence continued to stack up against Bailey, such as the level of detail about the murder and Sophie’s injuries used in his articles.
Friends also revealed that Bailey had made a confession about going ‘too far’ to them, while another witness had come forward to say they had seen Bailey in the vicinity of du Plantier’s holiday home on the night of her murder.
Bailey was also known for previous incidents of domestic violence towards his partner – a psychiatrist’s report prepared for the murder trial concluded he had a ‘personality constructed on narcissism, psycho-rigidity, violence, impulsiveness, egocentricity, with an intolerance to frustration and a great need for recognition.’
On February 10th, 1997, Bailey was arrested, as was his partner, but both were released without charges. And then, in January 1998, Bailey – alone this time – was again arrested before being released without charges.
The issue was the evidence – or the lack of it. Bailey explained away his ‘confessions’ as dark humour or his reiterating what was being said about him. There had also been no indication of forced entry at Sophie’s home, indicating that she had willingly opened her door. And, most prominently, no forensic evidence was found to tie him to the murder.
And, to this very day, Bailey maintains his innocence – just last month, he confirmed that a fresh investigation into Sophie’s murder had been authorised by Gardaí (the Irish police) after the emergence of what he described as ‘new information.’
He wrote on Twitter: “For those who have not heard a comprehensive cold case of the murder file an investigation has been authorised by Commissioner Harris as a result of me writing to him and the emergence of new information… I pray the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth emerges.”
And, on the topic of Netflix’s investigation into the matter, Bailey had merely said that he suspected the documentary series about the murder will be ‘a piece of propaganda’ and ‘a piece of demonisation.’
Bailey does appear briefly in the documentary, but only gave Netflix ‘limited access.’
Sophie: A Murder In West Cork is available to stream on Netflix now.
Coronation Street fans are convinced a character secretly made a comeback in the form of ‘creepy’ ghost
Who could it be?!
Speculation is rife among Coronation Street fans this week after the ghostly appearance of an old character during Wednesday nights episode.
As Super Soap Week got well underway with a series of explosive and terrifying events, eagle-eyed viewers couldn’t help but notice a mysterious figure lurking along the cobbles in one particular scene.
Following the dramatic event of Harvey being sucked into the ground as a sinkhole gave way in the storm that battered Weatherfield (the most Corrie thing to happen ever, I know), an ominous figure dressed as a makeshift ghost stood and watched in the background.
The figure was undeniably sinister and a little of out character for the soap but, regardless, fans were quick at getting to work working out who it could’ve been.
And many came to the same conclusion; it must’ve been none other than Harvey’s aunt Sharon Bentley, played by Tracie Bennett.
One person wrote on Twitter, “guys the ghost could be Sharon…” while another commented, quite frantically, “THE GHOST HAS TO BE SHARON RIGHT? WITH HER TASER?”
Twitter page Just Spooky Thoughts even went to the lengths of conducting a poll of who the ghost could’ve been, with 51.8% of eager participants saying they believed it to be Sharon. 22.4% voted for ‘One of Harvey’s goon’s, 17.6% selected Natasha and 8.2% believed it to be Jacob.
Sharon was shopped to the police in June by Rita Tanner over her ties to Harvey after she tried to get £10,000 from her former foster mum to go on the run.
But in an exchange for her freedom, Sharon struck a deal with the police to testify against Harvey, with her eventually giving evidence against him.
At the end of Wednesday night’s double episode, Harvey was seen very much alive and reaching for the gun brandished earlier by Abi Franklin in her own showdown with her son Seb’s killer Corey Brent.
Married At First Sight is looking for single Mancunians for a brand new UK series
Fancy finding the one?
Channel 4’s hit dating reality show Married At First Sight is on the look out for keen singletons from Manchester to take part in its next series.
The show sees contestants tie the knot with strangers who are deemed ‘compatible’ by a team of psychologists following personality tests. Following a full blown wedding ceremony, the couples are then tasked with giving married life a good go for six weeks, with them even enjoying a honeymoon and moving in together.
Throughout the six weeks, the married couples also meet up with the other paired-off contestants for weekly commitment ceremonies and dinner dates, which is where most of the drama kicks off – anyone who watched the latest season will know about this all too well.
For those out of the loop; Durham-born contestant Nikita Jasmine was booted off the show after an altercation with other contestants during one of the weekly dinner dates.
Channel 4 announced in a statement that Nikita’s ‘aggression’ had been ‘unacceptable and breached our agreed code of conduct on behaviour’, adding: “The wellbeing of cast and crew is our utmost priority at all times throughout production and beyond.”
But, putting all the drama to one side for a second, Channel 4 is officially on the hunt for singletons to take part in its next series.
Sharing a call-out on social media, Channel 4 appealed: “Married At First Sight UK Is Calling All Singles… Are you ready to find The One?”
To be in with a chance of appearing on the show, you will have to tell producers a little bit about yourself, your ideal first date and how long you’ve been single, all alongside a video message.
The series is set to start filming in Spring 2022, so you have to be available then and must not have any current TV connections.
You can apply by clicking here, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
First look at new Channel 4 prison drama written by Killing Eve creator
The series will be based upon Williams’ real-life experience from working in prisons
Channel 4 has given viewers the first glimpse at their upcoming new prison drama Screw, written by BAFTA nominated writer Rob Williams, one of the masterminds behind Killing Eve.
The new series will throw viewers into grisly mens prison Long Marsh, a place tinged with humour, emotional high stakes and an overwhelming danger for prisoners and officers alike.
Nina Sosanya will take on the role of Leigh, the head of the group of Long Marshes prison officers, who having devoted most of her adult life to the prison appears to have her fair share of dark secrets.
Derry Girls star Jamie-Lee O’Donnell will also play an integral part in the show as street-wise copper Rose.
Making up the team of ‘screws’, there will also be Line of Duty’s Faraz Ayub as Ali, I May Destroy You’s Stephen Wright as Gary, Game of Thrones’ Ron Donachie as Don and King Gary’s Laura Checkley as Jackie.
The series, which is said to have been inspired by writer Rob Williams’ real-life experience from working in prisons, will offer an insight into incarceration rarely seen before on British TV, according to producers.
The series is also said to tackle contemporary stories ‘head-on with through a vibrant and multi layered cast of characters’.
Williams said on his new project: “Screw is a real passion for me; I’ve wanted to write about prisons ever since teaching in that environment in a former life.
“I’ve maintained close links since then and the idea has grown. After the experience of working with Sarah Brown and her team at STV Studios on The Victim, I wouldn’t want to pursue a project that means so much to me with anybody else.
“I feel very lucky to be working with Channel 4 on the show and I can’t wait to introduce the world of Screw to as wide an audience as possible.”
Screw will air on Channel 4 and E4 in early 2022.