Asked by the Cork Examiner to cover a murder story, investigative journalist Ian Bailey, 42, had the shock of his life when, after being the first reporter on the scene, he was arrested himself for the murder.

He said after his release without charge: “When after 12 hours of questioning I would not confess to a crime that I had no knowledge of and definitely hadn’t done, the police told my partner that I had confessed, and that she was going to be charged with complicity to murder by providing an alibi for me.”

This bizarre behaviour by the Irish police followed the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, found battered to death on the path leading to her isolated holiday home near Goleen, on Ireland’s dramatic Mizen Peninsula coastline.

Sophie, a TV producer living in Paris, was the wife of a twice-married French film producer. On Monday, December 23rd, 1996, the day she was murdered, she told a local bar owner that she was on a flying visit to her Irish home and intended returning to Paris for Christmas.

Ian Bailey is certain there is a “French connection” to the killing, and he wonders why the police dismissed sightings of a French-number-plate vehicle in the area at the time of the murder.