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Murder at the Cottage | Sky

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  • Watched the 1st episode last night. Was surprised to learn that at least 1 of the houses close to Sophie's house was occupied. I thought they were holiday homes which were empty at that time of year. Strange that those people heard nothing given their proximity.
    The murderer clearly knew the area well, it didn't look like somewhere you'd be just passing by chance and you'd need to know your way out. Given the location, there weren't likely to be too many witnesses out and about.

    I doubt that anyone will ever be found guilty at this stage. Forensic evidence was crucial and that seems to have been one of many failings in the investigation.

    There was a lot of hyped up Hollywood style even in 1 episode, with Jim at the centre of it. I'm not sure what bearing the Civil War had on the whole thing. Beal na mBlath is a tidy step from Toormore, it's not as if it's just down the road. I guess all of this and the endless landscape / coastal shots are for the UK/US audience.




  • I am enjoying this, i've read and listened to so much about the case but apart from a picture of the house it was hard to get an image of the setting in its entirety.

    Had no idea about the close proximity of the neighbours. Would have liked to see some hypothesising from investigating officers basically retracing the steps they believe were taken on the night.

    Do they suspect someone came into her house?

    Do they think she fled and if so why run down the road rather than to a neighbours house? Was a strange move legging it down the hill towards the gate which was taking her further from safety if anything. Or was she subdued in the house and carried down the road and killed?

    Just little things like that, countless hours of playing out how events transpired can unlock some microcosm of evidence that can lead to even bigger leads. The Garda work was trully dreadful.

    We will never know, but I don't think Bailey did it (speculating myself of course). I think someone was sent from France to do it, but then the means of killing her doesn't fit an execution style that would possibly display, but its a theory I suppose




  • The coat was found, and processed. Nothing found on it. Not a speck of blood on a coat with below freezing temp outside.

    Marie F was with a married man that night, apparently he has passed away since which is why she came forward with the truth. But I'd agree, with the tooing and froing I'd be suspicious of anything she said.

    The burden of proof is high in Ireland, and rightly so. Being a strange person who is violent when drunk would damn 10% of men his age in the country, a sad indictment of our country but we can't pin every murder on the local eccentric without actual evidence. Maybe he did it, maybe he didn't but the local guards made damn sure the truth would be hard to find.

    The other odd thing which was never mentioned was why he would have been at that bridge in any event. As I understand the location, that would have been in the opposite direction to his/Jules Thomas’s house which was 4.2km away by the more direct route. Going via Kealfadda Bridge would have doubled that.




  • AdrianG08 wrote: »
    I am enjoying this, i've read and listened to so much about the case but apart from a picture of the house it was hard to get an image of the setting in its entirety.

    Had no idea about the close proximity of the neighbours. Would have liked to see some hypothesising from investigating officers basically retracing the steps they believe were taken on the night.

    Do they suspect someone came into her house?

    Do they think she fled and if so why run down the road rather than to a neighbours house? Was a strange move legging it down the hill towards the gate which was taking her further from safety if anything. Or was she subdued in the house and carried down the road and killed?

    Just little things like that, countless hours of playing out how events transpired can unlock some microcosm of evidence that can lead to even bigger leads. The Garda work was trully dreadful.

    We will never know, but I don't think Bailey did it. I think someone was sent from France to do it, but then the means of killing her doesn't fit an execution style that would possibly display.

    Last night it mentioned she was wearing her night clothes and boots. If she was fleeing from somebody would she have had time to put on boots?
    Also if she was trying to get away from somebody why did she go towards the road? Why didnt she go towards her neighbours house which was close by?

    Did she go down to open the gate for somebody?




  • Radio5 wrote: »
    Watched the 1st episode last night. Was surprised to learn that at least 1 of the houses close to Sophie's house was occupied. I thought they were holiday homes which were empty at that time of year.

    Came across this when I was looking up bits about the case last night:

    https://www.buzz.ie/news/neighbour-murdered-french-filmmaker-sophie-23995031

    https://www.daft.ie/for-sale/detached-house-dreenane-toormore-goleen-co-cork/3182114


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  • Throwing stuff into water is nearly number one evidence disposal that people do .




  • Marcusm wrote: »
    GSM phones were available by early 1995 but were still very uncommon. In Dec 1996, very few people had a mobile phone of any sort. It was my first Christmas trip back to Ireland from working in London and mine (which was no great shakes) attracted lots of attention amongst well paid Dublin professionals. Most gardai would have had service radios etc so would be less likely to have invested in a mobile phone. By 1998/9 all that would change.

    Yeah, it wasn't till 97/98 that mobiles became really commonplace. I got my first one in 98 and I remember the reception being virtually non existant travelling in some rural areas especially if you had hills or mountains.




  • One really can't believe much stories from local country areas as they have nothing better to do than to make up or give legs to innocent scenes. They might see a married man talking to a young woman and a week later lo and behold tis 'all around' that he's having an affair.
    So tis hard to believe a word of 'stories'.




  • One thing I do agree with the garda is that I do think it had to be someone local.

    In many ways it makes more sense if the person who did it had a link to France but just because of the location I have to believe its a local or familiar with the area and also the sheer violence of the murder screams not a planned execution




  • Larsso30 wrote: »
    One thing I do agree with the garda is that I do think it had to be someone local.

    In many ways it makes more sense if the person who did it had a link to France but just because of the location I have to believe its a local or familiar with the area and also the sheer violence of the murder screams not a planned execution

    It wouldnt be that difficult for someone to figure out the locality if they had time to plan the murder.

    Her husbands reaction to her death was very strange. Sophie died in December 1996, he had a new baby with another women by March 1998 and was remarried by June 1998. He didnt mourn Sophie for very long. I know he was in France when she was murdered but it wouldnt be impossible for him to organise her murder. He had money and power. The gardai discounted him as a suspect very quickly as he was in France. I doubt if the gardai ever investigated any theories relating to France.


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  • Deeec wrote: »
    It wouldnt be that difficult for someone to figure out the locality if they had time to plan the murder.

    Her husbands reaction to her death was very strange. Sophie died in December 1996, he had a new baby with another women by March 1998 and was remarried by June 1998. He didnt mourn Sophie for very long. I know he was in France when she was murdered but it wouldnt be impossible for him to organise her murder. He had money and power. The gardai discounted him as a suspect very quickly as he was in France. I doubt if the gardai ever investigated any theories relating to France.

    Listening to the Jim Sheridan on RTE yesterday with Brendan O'Connor, he said that the Gardai went to France and the local police told them to go home. Got no co-operation.

    Yet, the French police were allowed to conduct interviews in Ireland, on at least two occasions IIRC. Had at least one meeting with Dermot Aherne Minister for Justice, presumably a number of meetings/communications with senior Gardai and were given the Garda files to boot. Which they then used for the French court case.

    Seems strange alright.




  • Larsso30 wrote: »
    One thing I do agree with the garda is that I do think it had to be someone local.

    In many ways it makes more sense if the person who did it had a link to France but just because of the location I have to believe its a local or familiar with the area and also the sheer violence of the murder screams not a planned execution

    You're assuming that just because someone is hired to do a murder, they are consummate pros who know what they are about ... crime cases are filled with 'amateurs' hired to do a murder who make a botch of it in one way or another. They can panic too.
    Or conversely, you may not want it to look like a professional execution... this wasn't a mafia informant...




  • I told ya wrote: »
    Listening to the Jim Sheridan on RTE yesterday with Brendan O'Connor, he said that the Gardai went to France and the local police told them to go home. Got no co-operation.

    Yet, the French police were allowed to conduct interviews in Ireland, on at least two occasions IIRC. Had at least one meeting with Dermot Aherne Minister for Justice, presumably a number of meetings/communications with senior Gardai and were given the Garda files to boot. Which they then used for the French court case.

    Seems strange alright.

    The husband was also a good friend of Chirac so it makes more sense in that context. He wasn't going to allow garda to come an interview the hoi polloi of the french cultural scene. The french have conducted a witch hunt by all accounts. Hearsay is a ludicrous thing to consider in a trial given than eye witness testimony is not even particularly accurate.

    It wonder how hard it would be to sneak around that area though, it's small, lots of dead ends, nosy people in general. Hard to believe a lad in a beret in a small town in 96 wasn't noticed by more people, we'd have nearly followed him in my town just for something to do as kids. We'd have definitely asked if he was from France.




  • The husband was also a good friend of Chirac so it makes more sense in that context. He wasn't going to allow garda to come an interview the hoi polloi of the french cultural scene. The french have conducted a witch hunt by all accounts. Hearsay is a ludicrous thing to consider in a trial given than eye witness testimony is not even particularly accurate.

    It wonder how hard it would be to sneak around that area though, it's small, lots of dead ends, nosy people in general. Hard to believe a lad in a beret in a small town in 96 wasn't noticed by more people, we'd have nearly followed him in my town just for something to do as kids. We'd have definitely asked if he was from France.

    The person hired wouldnt have to be french though. They could even be sonewhat local.




  • Deeec wrote: »
    Last night it mentioned she was wearing her night clothes and boots. If she was fleeing from somebody would she have had time to put on boots?
    Also if she was trying to get away from somebody why did she go towards the road? Why didnt she go towards her neighbours house which was close by?

    Did she go down to open the gate for somebody?

    The impression I got was that she may have been expecting a caller and went out to let them in.

    Was there ever an explanation or scenario proposed for how her blood got on her door?




  • Did Bailey ever reveal/explain his sources for the ITK stories he was writing about the murder at the time?




  • robwen wrote: »
    Did Bailey ever reveal/explain his sources for the ITK stories he was writing about the murder at the time?

    It is not beyond the realms of possiblity that a local garda gave him that info, especially back then. (not surprised if it was to happen now either!)

    That never convinced me of baileys guilt tbh, that's his job to have sources




  • Deeec wrote: »
    It wouldnt be that difficult for someone to figure out the locality if they had time to plan the murder.

    Her husbands reaction to her death was very strange. Sophie died in December 1996, he had a new baby with another women by March 1998 and was remarried by June 1998. He didnt mourn Sophie for very long. I know he was in France when she was murdered but it wouldnt be impossible for him to organise her murder. He had money and power. The gardai discounted him as a suspect very quickly as he was in France. I doubt if the gardai ever investigated any theories relating to France.
    Were they not seperated for a good while before her death though?
    Not impossible for him to arrange it.

    From what I have have seen and read previously, I think Bailey is the most likely person to have killed her. I do think the Gardai made a hash of things (the gate disappearing is bizarre) and tried to engineer some evidence (not unlike making a murderer).




  • The international hitman angle is just a bit to far fetched for me. The violence involved in the murder says a lot about the crime.

    After seeing the show I was surprised how close she was to her neighbours and a little surprised nothing was heard.




  • The time of death was never established which was a big handicap in finding the killer. John Harbison was very unprofessional to not get to the scene of the crime as soon as possible. He knew he could get away with it I suppose.
    The Garda investigation was inept, no doubt about that. Deliberately inept?
    Possibly so. What has come to light in the years since regarding Garda corruption makes that easy to believe. The Gardai were not used to dealing with homicides so that was another factor in the mishandling of the case.
    Also the time of year being Christmas didn't help. A sort of an Irish "erra I can't be a###d attitude" was there I think. It doesn't matter if it is Christmas though, you still have to do your job.
    All in all a bit of a cock-up, the Irish justice system failed Sophie and her poor family. I know murders occur all the time and the killer is not brought to justice but it still makes me sad.


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  • The impression I got was that she may have been expecting a caller and went out to let them in.

    Was there ever an explanation or scenario proposed for how her blood got on her door?

    I'm just as conflicted as I was before I watched the show.
    No blood anywhere in the house only on the door?

    If she went to let someone in, then how did her blood end up on only the door and her body/scene of murder was found at the gate? It makes no sense to me. Surely there would have been a trail of blood. Up or down

    Incompetence of the Gardai maybe? Her body being left overnight is shocking and disturbing. How does a gate disappear also?

    Ian Bailey gives me the creeps but the only parts that swayed my opinion towards his guilt was his previous assault on his partner. And his behaviour when asked about his alibi in the final episode.




  • lukin wrote: »
    John Harbison was very unprofessional to not get to the scene of the crime as soon as possible.

    Was that his fault ?

    I remember a few times, we had crimes at opposite ends of the country and he could only be in one place at a time. I don't remember the reason (if any was ever given) for the delay.




  • gmisk wrote: »
    Were they not seperated for a good while before her death though?
    Not impossible for him to arrange it.

    I'm sure her family said she was due to fly home on 24th to spend Christmas with her husband and son. Something else I didn't understand was her husband told her parents he had been speaking to Sophie an hour previous to the news breaking in France. Which was several hours later from what I can gather. And then his son calls to tell her parents to tell them it is Sophie, not him?

    He certainly didn't seem to grieve too long and who doesn't get on a flight immediately when they learn their wife has been murdered. Bizarre behaviour but we didn't see any interviews from him either.




  • I quite enjoyed it. Went in without much knowledge of the case despite being from Cork.

    Found it quite suspicious that Bailey knew the outcome of the post mortem prior to it being conducted. Was a bit strange.
    There were times throughout it where I said "he's 100% guilty" and other times where I said "the guards are stitching him up". Will need more time to process it.
    What a bizarre story it all is.




  • Was that his fault ?

    I remember a few times, we had crimes at opposite ends of the country and he could only be in one place at a time. I don't remember the reason (if any was ever given) for the delay.

    He'd taken a rare day off for his birthday. He was 60 I think so was at his own party. To be fair he could have had a couple of drinks by the time he got the call given how slow they were out of Bandon.

    But yeah, like you said he was the only one in the country, our murder rate actually goes through fluctuations depending on how many Coronors we had on the books, a scary thought really

    Comparing it to the Phylis Murphy case nearly a decade and a half earlier the lack of process is really stark. They didn't even know for sure they could ever test DNA and all the sample, and sample from the community were stored and kept almost 20 years and they eventually got the guy, sterling work in that case. In the 90s they would have been aware of forensics, they should have called murder squad immediately, there are plenty of murder investigations in Ireland at the time and before for comparison!




  • There were times throughout it where I said "he's 100% guilty" and other times where I said "the guards are stitching him up". Will need more time to process it. What a bizarre story it all is.

    I think in this case both things are true




  • Just finished it there. As others have said, nothing new in it. An absolute mess of a case how it was handled. Did we really need to see Bailey pulling one of his teeth out with a pliers?!




  • Marcusm wrote: »
    Not great at all; some insight into the character of Bailey, poignant scenes with the son at the cottage but overall little in the way of analysis. Sheridan spent too much time on camera, it’s not his forte. His scene-setting in the first 10 minutes was difficult to endure. And yes, I have watched all episodes despite the beautiful day outside.
    I agree.I think its terrible. Watched 15 mins. Does it get better? Sheridan injecting himself into it makes it seems like its more about him.A lot of modern docs are like that about the presenter. Sheridan doesn't have the voice for narration either




  • Just finished watching it all. I got an answer to the question I previously had about the black coat which I thought he burned in the fire, but apparently the guards took it (and now it’s missing?)

    How can a gate go missing? Why is missing?

    Sophie’s blood on the door, I would imagine came from the killers hand, who I’m guessing made his way up to the house to maybe look around.

    It’s extraordinary there wasn’t more evidence. We’re the guards that bad? Or was the killer that good....

    I really hope these documentaries actually try to progress the case some day rather than just reporting on it. There are some questions that need further clarification


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  • Looks like there'll be another series, Sheridan was on the radio this morning saying there's more to come focusing moreso on the French side

    https://www.goloudnow.com/podcasts/dermot-dave-65/theres-more-to-come-jim-sheridan-talks-about-murder-at-the-cottage-286273


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