‘West Cork’ investigates one of Ireland’s most notorious murder cases

True Crime July 6, 2022
West Cork podcast art
Listen to ‘West Cork’

39-year-old French film producer, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, was found dead near her Irish vacation home in 1996. With little clues, no witnesses, and no obvious motives, the police zeroed in on a suspicious member of the community deemed a “strange man” via anonymous tips. Law enforcement was unable to press charges, and he refused to skip town, generating even more suspicion from townsfolk. Who killed Sophie?

“West Cork” chronicles the true crime story and shares voices from the community, many who publicly spoke for the first time on this podcast. Seemingly everyone had a theory about the murder suspect. Tune in for conversations with the victim’s family, learn the suspect’s defense, and how the locals grappled with fear.

Start the podcast’s 14 parts from the beginning to hear the whole story, with all episodes less than an hour each. “West Cork” is reported and hosted by Jennifer Forde and Sam Bungey. 

In episode 1, we learn that West Cork, Ireland was an ideal coastal town for farmers and fishermen in the 1960s. It later became a safe haven for artists and those looking for a fresh start. After the murder, the entire community’s vibe shifted, putting everyone on edge and leaving residents to question if they were ever truly safe.

The 5th episode dug into the murder investigation’s beginnings and combed through the suspect’s activity 6 weeks after the murder. We hear what this character was doing and how he became the main suspect in the murder case.

By episode 6, we learn about the suspect’s personal life, history, and move from Manchester, England. His diaries revealed insecurities and awareness that he needed to save himself. He was arrested in 1997 with a sketchy alibi. Episode 8 shares the tactics prison guards used to try to elicit a confession, including spies, wires, and secret recordings.

The story received so much media coverage in Ireland that after the suspect was released from jail, he filed a defamation lawsuit. This backfired when newspapers got locals to testify about his behavior, published his personal diaries, and the suspect’s history as a domestic abuser bubbled up.

After the murder went unsolved, law enforcement investigated a bunch of leads, and Sophie’s family pursued an investigation in France. The suspect was slapped with new charges, the community dealt with the case’s fallout, and we hear that Sophie’s son grabbed a pint with the last person who saw her alive.

On a recent Podsauce episode, “Tenfold More Wicked” host Kate Winkler Dawson shared some of her favorite podcasts including “Over My Dead Body” Season 1, “Bear Brook,” and “West Cork.” We think fans of “Tenfold More Wicked” and “S-Town” will also enjoy “West Cork.”

This Audible Original is presented by yarn fm. All episodes are now streaming wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Listen to ‘West Cork’

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