Netflix true crime series Sophie: A Murder In West Cork has been criticised by prime suspect Ian Bailey as “demonising propaganda”.
The new three-part documentary focuses on the murder of French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier, who was found dead in her nightgown down the road from her rural holiday home, just before Christmas 1996.
Bailey, a freelance journalist who lived three miles away, became the central suspect in the case shortly after in large part due to his in-depth knowledge of the case, and the speed at which he arrived on the scene.
In the series, Toscan du Plantier’s family speak out about their loss, and Bailey is interviewed about the 25 years that have followed. He vehemently maintains his innocence, but remains the only central suspect.
But speaking on Newstalk Breakfast in Ireland Bailey, now 64, berated the series and called for his interview to be removed.
He said: “From what I have seen of it — and I have seen clips from it — yes, unfortunately, I think it is a piece of self-serving, demonising propaganda.”
Watch a trailer for Sophie: A Murder In West Cork
Bailey was arrested twice for the murder, but was ultimately released without charge in Ireland due to evidence against him being circumstantial.
However, French courts have convicted him ‘in absentia’ and he faces a 25-year prison sentence.
Bailey remains in Ireland, and the country's high courts have refused extradition attempts from France for Bailey.
Du Plantier’s family, including her son Pierre-Louis, who was 15 when she died, and uncle Jean-Pierre Gazeau, are convinced Bailey is the real killer.
In the film, Gazeau labels Bailey a ‘narcissist’ who was relishing in the attention of the case making him the story as opposed to the writer.
But Bailey has defended his outspoken nature regarding his involvement in the case, insisting he was somewhat set-up by the Garda who were under immense pressure to find the killer in the usually quiet and crime-free area.
He said: “I was arrested in a very high-profile way. My arrest was broadcast as it was happening.
“I have had 25 years of life taken away. I have lost my career as a journalist. I have now lost my partner - we had been together for 30 years - and I am now losing my home so for anybody to suggest that is perverse."
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“It has been a very difficult 25 years, and I was presented with a very difficult situation," he continued.
“My identity was released right from day one. There was no way of hiding from this and I have just dealt with it the best way I can.”
Sophie: A Murder In West Cork is streaming on Netflix.