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Saturday 24 August 2019

'Do not betray me' - Sophie Toscan du Plantier's son asks for Irish support for Paris murder trial

Appeal: Son Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud in Cork yesterday to ask for information about the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier ahead of the trial of Ian Bailey. Photo: Provision
Appeal: Son Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud in Cork yesterday to ask for information about the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier ahead of the trial of Ian Bailey. Photo: Provision

Ralph Riegel

The son of murdered French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier has publicly called on Ireland to support the Paris murder trial next week over his mother's brutal killing, saying his family have placed their trust in the people of west Cork.

Speaking yesterday, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud (37) said: "For 20 years I have trusted you. Do not betray me. Do not betray yourselves."

He said his mother "fought like a lioness against the most atrocious violence there is".

"The violence used by a monster that nothing stops - the one that struck her for no reason, for nothing.

"I still come back here every year because it is the only way for me to defy this violence and destroy it," he said.

Mr Baudey-Vignaud issued the appeal as he spoke to the media in west Cork in advance of the Paris murder trial of British freelance journalist Ian Bailey (60).

Ian Bailey. Photo: Collins Courts
Ian Bailey. Photo: Collins Courts

Mr Bailey faces trial in absentia next week over the killing of the 39-year-old mother of one in west Cork 22 years ago. Ms du Plantier was found battered to death by the side of a laneway leading to her isolated cottage at Toormore outside Schull at 10am on December 23, 1996. No one has ever been charged in Ireland with her killing.

Mr Bailey has consistently protested his innocence and in 2012 successfully fought extradition to France. He has maintained the Paris prosecution is "farcical" and "a show trial".

Mr Baudey-Vignaud, who attended Mass in Goleen with his uncle Bertrand, urged Ireland to support the French campaign to see justice done for his mother.

Letters

Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Photo: PA
Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Photo: PA

A number of Garda murder case witnesses have now received letters asking them to attend the Paris trial.

They cannot be compelled to attend - and Mr Baudey-Vignaud asked everyone in west Cork who can support the Paris prosecution to do so.

"This trial isn't just about my mother - it is the trial of the truth.

"I want to make an appeal to all the people here - anyone who has received requests from the magistrates in France, come and tell [your story]. We must be all together against violence.

"It is the trial of a crime that bears the mark of a country in which a woman, my mother, had such confidence that she opened her door to the person who murdered her. She would not have done this in Paris.

"She opened her door here in Ireland because she was so confident that nothing bad would happen to her," he said.

Mr Baudey-Vignaud said that since the murder his family have been trapped in a prison of undelivered justice.

"It was my last day of being a child," he said of the day he learned his mother had been murdered.

"I was eight years old the first time I came here and I was 15 years old when my mother was brutally killed.

"It is time today to turn one of the saddest pages of your history - the darkest page of mine.

"We must turn this sad page together because my mother, you and I, must refuse to see these hills sink into one of the worst tragedies and injustices."

A French investigation was launched after the Director of Public Prosecutions here ruled out taking any action against Mr Bailey.

Mr Bailey's solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said his client would not travel to Paris for the trial and will not be mounting a defence.

Speaking to RTÉ, Mr Buttimer said: "He doesn't recognise that the proceedings are valid or just.

"He has been entirely exonerated in this country. The Director of Public Prosecutions has long since decided that there is no evidence upon which he can be put on trial.

"The French have decided that the exact same evidence is sufficient to put him on trial.

"The situation is, quite frankly, farcical and, of course, extremely unjust."

Irish Independent

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