West Cork

By yarn fm

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Category: True Crime

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Description

In West Cork, it’s simply known as ‘the murder’. In 1996 French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier is found dead near her holiday home. There are no witnesses and no known motive. The police suspect one man in this community but they can’t make a charge stick and he refuses to leave, living under the glare of suspicion ever since. 


This series brings together an incredible cast of characters, many of whom have never spoken publicly before. The family of the victim bring to life a woman lost; the suspect puts forward his defence; and local people explain what it’s like to have the living embodiment of their unsettled nerves still resolutely among them. Reported and hosted by Jennifer Forde and Sam Bungey. 


To be first to listen to bonus episodes of West Cork and Sam and Jennifer's incredible next series, sign up at www.yarn.fm


  • “The hosts beautifully communicate how a tragedy can impact a town and its people in devastating ways.” Time magazine 
  • “Meticulous and thoughtful … The podcast is vastly more soulful than so many of its peers, in large part by functioning as an exploration of how a tragedy, mixed with spectacle, can redefine and consume the terms of a place, a person, and a time." Nick Quah, Vulture 
  • “One of the few podcasts that caused us to drive in pointless extra loops in total silence, just so we could hear another episode. West Cork is the new Serial. It may even be better.” India Knight, The Times 
  • "Knocked me out like no other podcast since S-Town. A masterpiece." Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Say Nothing 

Episode Date
1: Blow-ins
00:27:48

West Cork, Ireland is an outpost at the edge of Europe, the jumping-off point for America. Rugged windswept and coastal, it was a place of farmers and fisherman until the 1960’s, when it was discovered by the ‘blow-in’s.’ People who drove until the road ran out, artists and urban runaways – a haven for those ready to turn their backs on their old lives and start again. But then there was a murder in West Cork, and overnight, everything changed. To be first to listen to bonus episodes of West Cork and Sam and Jennifer's incredible next series, sign up at www.yarn.fm

 

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Mar 29, 2021
2: The Back of Beyond
00:27:18

A body is found at the end of a path leading to three houses. In West Cork, the police, known in Ireland as ‘the guards,’ have little experience with serious crime, and the victim—a French woman with a holiday home in the area—is a mysterious figure in West Cork. That night, as news of the murder snakes through the community, everyone begins to question whether or not they were ever, truly, safe. To be first to listen to bonus episodes of West Cork and Sam and Jennifer's incredible next series, sign up at www.yarn.fm

 

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Mar 29, 2021
3: Sophie Buoniol
00:34:06

Sophie Buoniol, commonly referred to by her married name, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, was 39 years old when she was murdered, a well-connected French film producer. In a place where there had been no murder that anyone can remember, locals speculated that the murderer must have come from out of town. But West Cork grapples with which version of Sophie to believe. Rumors about Sophie and her love life, fueled by tabloid headlines, abound. But there was a quieter, more bookish side to her, a side better represented by the small, simple, white house she kept in West Cork. In this episode we get to know Sophie, from the perspective of those who loved her most.

 

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Mar 29, 2021
4: Killer Among Us
00:35:43

In the weeks following the murder, Schull, the jewel-box vacation town closest to Sophie’s home, becomes a very different kind of place to live. With no answers, and the police focusing on locals, the townspeople start watching their neighbors more closely. And the guards begin receiving anonymous calls about a ‘strange man’ in town. To be first to listen to bonus episodes of West Cork and Sam and Jennifer's incredible next series, sign up at www.yarn.fm

 

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Mar 29, 2021
5: A Good Suspect
00:33:05

The guards have a suspect—one who has spent the last 20 years trying to convince Ireland that he is not a murderer. We begin on the first day of the investigation, tracing the suspects’ behavior over the six weeks following the murder, up until the day of his arrest. What was he up to, and how did he become the central figure in one of Ireland’s most notorious murder cases? To be first to listen to bonus episodes of West Cork and Sam and Jennifer's incredible next series, sign up at www.yarn.fm

 

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Mar 29, 2021
6: The Englishman
00:39:07

A blow-in from Manchester, England, the suspect has been grating on locals ever since he first arrived in West Cork. He has been accused of inserting himself into the investigation and delighting in his notoriety, at the expense of figuring out what really happened to Sophie. Though he is often perceived as arrogant and tactless, his history and personal diaries reveal deep insecurities, and a man increasingly desperate to save himself. To be first to listen to bonus episodes of West Cork and Sam and Jennifer's incredible next series, sign up at www.yarn.fm

 

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Mar 29, 2021
7: The Arrest
00:37:46

On February 10th, 1997, the guards make an arrest in a well-orchestrated plan to snare their chief suspect. There’s an interrogation, a question of coercion, and an alibi that doesn’t quite hold up—but no confession. The charge doesn’t stick, for now, but someone close to the suspect appears to waffle on his guilt.

 

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Mar 29, 2021
8: The Game Is On
00:37:52

After the guards fail to get a confession, a game of cat and mouse ensues; the guards need more evidence, but worry that they are being outsmarted. In this episode, secret recordings of the guards give an insight into the lengths they were willing to go to ensnare their suspect—planting spies, using wires—to little success. 

 

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Mar 29, 2021
9: The Moonshine Effect
00:35:55

After the arrest is made public in West Cork, the town is terrified, convinced there is a murderer next-door. And yet, the suspect remains. It seems everyone has a theory, a story about the suspects’ strangeness, from the plausible to the absurd: that he is a sexual predator, he wanders the countryside alone, howling, driven to madness by the full moon. As it turns out, however, some if the craziest rumors were coming from an unlikely source: the suspect himself.

 

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Mar 29, 2021
10: Shanghaied
00:42:46

Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder is big news in Ireland—so big that the suspect takes the newspapers to court for defamation, intending to clear his name with the public. But it backfires spectacularly when the newspapers round up angry locals to testify, air secret diaries, and reveal the suspects’ long history as a domestic abuser.

 

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Mar 29, 2021
11: Enemy #1
00:34:20

After the defamation trial, no one understands why the suspect is still a free man. But the case against him is quickly unraveling; there’s a new, seasoned lawyer, trouble with a key witnesses’ story, and questions about the legitimacy of the guards’ investigation. 

 

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Mar 29, 2021
12: Loose Ends
00:42:25

So if the guards’ chief suspect didn’t kill Sophie, who did? Theories abound: a ‘French Connection,’ a murderous horse, a misidentified man in a long black coat. There are promising leads that seem to have gone unpursued by the police, and the distinct impression that the case wasn’t nearly as strong as it originally seemed to be. 

 

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Mar 29, 2021
13: An Intimate Conviction
00:46:43

While the case has reached a stalemate in Ireland, a parallel investigation in France--pushed along by Sophie’s family--is moving forward. The suspect finds himself confronted with new charges, the community grapples with the case, and Sophie’s son, just 15 when his mother was murdered, shares a pint in his mother’s favourite pub in West Cork with the last known person who saw her alive. 

 

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Mar 29, 2021