THE heartbroken parents of slain French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier have marked the 16th anniversary of her killing with a private prayer service in Paris.
Georges (87) and Marguerite (85) Bouniol have spoken of their despair at their 16-year wait for someone to be charged with their daughter's brutal murder.
Sophie's son Pierre-Louis, who named his first daughter after his mother, dedicated a special poem to her memory.
Yesterday marked the 16th anniversary of the brutal murder of the 39-year-old mother of one, whose blood-soaked body was discovered on a laneway leading to her isolated holiday home at Toormore outside Schull in west Cork on December 23, 1996.
Georges and Marguerite, together with Sophie's other relatives, friends and former colleagues, marked her anniversary in Paris with a special ceremony. The family opted not to travel to Ireland to mark the anniversary because the emotions are now too painful for them.
Georges and Marguerite will instead travel to Ireland early in the new year.
"Sixteen years after the murder of our beloved daughter Sophie, we are always in search of justice in Ireland," they said.
Pierre-Louis said he would never forget the mother he lost when aged just 15 as he wrote a poem for her anniversary.
"Memory of a little blonde girl who skipped down the lanes of Lozere, memory of a beautiful young woman with a wonderful smile who came and went, hair blowing in the wind.
"Memory of a young blonde mum, the most beautiful mum in the world who used to write poems. Memory of an icy night, lying on the edge of the path, memory of a frantic race across the fields.
"Memory of your last gaze as you faced your assassin."
It is believed Sophie tried to flee from her assailant but was caught and killed when her clothing apparently snagged on barbed wire as she ran.
No one has ever been charged with her killing.
A garda 'cold-case' team is now reviewing the murder file, which, since 1996, has been re-checked three times for any clues or new information that may have been overlooked.
A French probe into the murder was launched four years ago by Paris-based Magistrate Patrick Gachon.