Son of Sophie Toscan du Plantier says cold-case review ‘a very good step toward justice’

An Garda Síochána’s serious crime review team will conduct a full review of the case and provide recommendations to the local investigation team
Son of Sophie Toscan du Plantier says cold-case review ‘a very good step toward justice’

Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud on The Late Late Show

THE son of murder victim Sophie Toscan du Plantier has vowed to continue seeking justice after gardaí ordered a cold-case review into the 39-year-old French filmmaker’s murder in West Cork 25 years ago.

An Garda Síochána’s serious crime review team will conduct a full review of the case and provide recommendations to the local investigation team, it was announced on Wednesday.

Ms Toscan du Plantier was killed with a stone and breeze block on the night of December 22, 1996, while at her holiday home in Toormore, near Schull in West Cork.

Specialist officers will review the case, a move described by her only son, Pierre-Louis Baudey-Vignaud, as “a step toward justice”.

Speaking to The Echo, Mr Baudey-Vignaud said: “We are convinced that this new investigation is a very good step toward justice.

“My family and I are deeply involved in the fight for justice so we have big expectations with the serious review team. I think there is a lot of pressure from the point of view of public opinion, the media, the European Commission, the family, and from a women’s rights point of view.”

He said his family and the people of Ireland deserve answers.

“The DPP needs answers for the country and the people,” he said. “In addition, new elements must have been released during these past few months. Justice has to come, finally, for my mother and for the people living with a murderer.”

He also reiterated his hopes for English journalist Ian Bailey to be extradited.

Mr Bailey was found guilty of Ms Toscan du Plantier’s murder, in his absence, at a trial in France in 2019.

In October 2020, a third attempt by France to have him extradited in connection with the murder was rejected by the Irish High Court.

Mr Bailey has always denied any involvement in the murder. He was arrested twice as part of the investigation in Ireland but was never charged here.

In May last year, Mr Bailey wrote to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris seeking a fresh investigation into the murder.

'MAMMOTH TASK'

His solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said there was a chance the review of the case would uncover a suspect.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland, he said: “There is always a possibility or a chance that something will emerge. I think people should always remember that since this dreadful crime was committed — and leaving aside all the activity that has happened over the years involving Mr Bailey — there is an ongoing Garda file of investigation in relation to this matter. That file has never been closed. It is active up to recently in the West Cork area. It has never been a closed file and I have spoken to senior members of An Garda Síochána in relation to that for one reason or another.”

The solicitor described the proposed review as a “mammoth task”.

“It has been said to me directly that nothing would give An Garda Síochána more satisfaction than to identify a suspect in relation to this matter who might then be prosecuted and brought to justice.

“It’s a mammoth task but Mr Bailey has called for this for obvious reasons. He has been wrongly associated with this crime for 26 years. His association with it over the years has diminished and people have realised what his real position is in relation to it but I hope that there would be some possibility of success. I have no doubt that lines of inquiry will be pursued by the cold-case investigation team. Their purpose is to view the entirety of the file to see what lines of inquiry may be pursued.

“I hope it’s properly resourced and structured but I’m sure that, with the modern policing we have in An Garda Síochána, those matters will be relatively easily addressed.”

Mr Buttimer said his client will co-operate in any way he can to assist An Garda Síochána.

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