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Parents of slain Sophie fly in to mark her 15th anniversary

THE parents of slain French filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier are to fly to Ireland next week to mark the 15th anniversary of their daughter's death.

Georges and Marguerite Bouniol will fly to Cork from Paris next Tuesday having had to postpone a planned trip to Ireland earlier this month.

The elderly couple will attend Mass in Goleen in their daughter's memory and will also lay a wreath of white lilies at the stone Celtic cross that marks the spot in Toormore, Schull, where her body was found.

During their trip, which ends on February 5, the couple will stay at the holiday home in Toormore that was owned by their daughter. It is now owned by Pierre-Louis Bauday, their grandson.

Ms Toscan du Plantier's parents will be accompanied by her aunt, Marie-Madeline Opalka, who acts as their interpreter.

A garda liaison officer will assist the family during the visit.

Traditionally, the family visits Ireland each December to mark the exact anniversary of Sophie's death. But the family's lawyer, Alain Spilliaert, said a visit to west Cork was not possible last December due to the illness of a family member.

Ms Toscan du Plantier was discovered battered to death on the isolated laneway leading to her holiday home at 10am on December 23, 1996.

She had apparently tried to flee from an intruder but the killer caught her at the foot of the laneway when her clothing snagged on a barbed wire fence.

No one has ever been charged with her killing despite one of the biggest murder investigations in the history of the gardai.

Former British freelance journalist Ian Bailey (54) is now awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on his appeal against extradition to France in relation to the matter.

Irish Independent