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Slain Sophie's family to say thanks

THE parents of slain French mother-of-one Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39) are to offer special thanks to those who have supported Irish and French investigations into their daughter's killing.

Georges and Marguerite Bouniol will fly to Ireland tomorrow for a ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of Ms Du Plantier's death. However, it is understood that the couple will not speak to the Irish media out of respect for an ongoing Supreme Court hearing.

Georges and Marguerite Bouniol will fly to Cork from Paris tomorrowhaving had to postpone a planned trip earlier this month.

The couple will attend Mass in Goleen next Sunday 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 in west Cork, where her body was found.

During their trip, the couple will pay special thanks to all those who have assisted the garda and French probes -- and especially the 30-plus people who agreed to be interviewed by French detectives last October on behalf of Paris-based Magistrate Patrick Gachon.

A team of French detectives are due back in Ireland within weeks to conduct a final series of follow-on interviews.

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

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.

Mr Gachon issued a European Arrest Warrant for Mr Bailey in April 2010 having run a French investigation into the killing for almost four years.

Mr Bailey has vehemently protested his innocence and claimed that efforts were made to frame him for the crime.

A key issue now facing the Supreme Court is whether the French authorities want Mr Bailey simply for questioning or with a view to taking a prosecution.

Irish Independent