A MAN accused of slaying Sophie Toscan du Plantier at her West Cork home says police have bombshell evidence that will clear his name – some 25 years after the murder.
Ian Bailey, 64, called for a new investigation into the film producer’s murder after learning of an unknown male DNA sample being found at the crime scene.
Sophie’s battered body was found outside her West Cork holiday home, Ireland, on December 23, 1996. She was only 39.
Her attacker had caved in her skull with a heavy 17in-long concrete block as she tried to flee.
For almost 25 years, Bailey has said he didn’t kill Sophie — despite a court in France convicting him in his absence.
The Irish courts have since refuse to hand him over to the French.
Now, Bailey wants Irish police to launch an immediate inquiry after DNA was found near the victim’s boot laces.
This comes as Netflix kick off a new documentary about the crime titled Sophie: A murder in West Cork.
Later re-testing of crime scene by French forensic teams discovered the new clue.
Bailey said the existence of the DNA could finally clear his name and end “this near 25 years of torture.”
Speaking exclusively to the Sun Online following the split from his long term partner Jules Thomas, Bailey said the new development was “very disturbing”.
“This took me by surprise as I had not been told that before and I understand it was found years ago and it was kept from me. I want to know why it was hidden,” he said.
“I found it totally shocking that this has been kept quiet as this could potentially clear me once and for all.
“I feel it should have at least been declared to my legal team in discovery during my legal action against the state.”
The former journalist wrote to Garda commissioner Drew Harris asking him to reopen the investigation.
“I think its the least I am owed,” he added.
“There has been a deliberate conspiracy to put me in the frame for murder and its never been acknowledged. I had nothing to do with her murder. It simply wasn’t me.
“There were over 50 suspects originally but in a matter of days it was whittled down and I was the sole suspect.
“I knew there was forensic evidence out there that could potentially clear me and show that I wasn’t involved.
“Hopefully now this will be the breakthrough I have been waiting nearly twenty five years for.
“I just want this nightmare to be over so I can finally get on with my life.”
Sophie’s slaying is set to become the world’s hottest real life murder mystery after becoming the subject of two documentary series – one on Sky Crime and another on Netflix backed by the Du Plantier family.
Bailey said the Netflix series was a “demonising propaganda” project.
“I haven’t co-operated with the Netflix project. I believe it is more propaganda than an objective documentary and it was made with Sophie’s family, not me,” he said.
Last Sunday, Sky began screening five-parter Murder At The Cottage, in which Jules and Bailey talk openly to Oscar-nominated writer Jim Sheridan.
And this Wednesday, Netflix will launch a three-parter on the killing.
Originally from Manchester, Bailey had worked as a journalist in Gloucestershire, where he covered events at Highgrove, home of Prince Charles and Diana.
He later moved to a little costal village called Schull in West Cork and was working as a freelance journalist when Sophie was discovered bludgeoned to death at her remote cottage.
He had previously beat up his long term partner Jules at the cottage they shared after a heavy drinking session leaving her with a swollen eye and clumps of hair missing from her head.
Just months after Bailey’s attack on Jules, Sophie — the wife of a wealthy director of the Gaumont cinema chain — was killed.
I found it totally shocking that this has been kept quiet as this could potentially clear me once and for all
In a blue bathrobe and hiking boots but no socks she had fled out of the back door of her farmhouse and ran towards the front gate.
But her killer caught up with her at the end of the 150-yard lane to the farm as she desperately tried to climb a briar-covered stone wall.
Bailey was the first reporter at the crime scene and quickly established himself as the leading authority on the case — although he was accused of including details in his reports that only the killer could know.
Bailey initially told police he had been in bed with Jules at the time of Sophie’s murder — but later admitted he had got up in the night.
Bailey says he went downstairs to write an article and didn’t leave the house that night.
There was no trace of his DNA under Sophie’s fingernails and none of his blood was found at the scene.
Bailey was arrested twice in Ireland yet never charged. The Director of Public Prosecutions decided there was not enough evidence to put him on trial.
The Irish courts have since refuse to hand him over to the French under a European Arrest Warrant, which means Bailey can’t leave Ireland .
A French forensic team re-examining evidence from crime scene in 2011 found an unknown male DNA sample near Sophie’s laces on a boot she was wearing the night she was killed.
They later filed a report but it is unknown whether this sample was run through crime databases in Europe or Ireland or checked against the DNA of emergency services on the scene.
Bailey says the existence of the report was never revealed to either him or his legal team during a civil legal action.
The information was uncovered by the hosts of a popular true crime podcast series focussed on the case.
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Now Bailey plans to clear his name and hopes the publicity surrounding the documentaries will help him do this.
He added: “This case hanging over me has completely ruined and tortured my life and now it has it has led to the breakdown of my relationship with Jules.
“They have only had me as a suspect and not looked at anyone else now is the time for the Garda to investigate other avenues.”