Thursday 21 November 2019

Family delighted but prepared to wait on appeals

Shane Phelan Investigative Correspondent

THE family of slain filmmaker Sophie Toscan du Plantier has cautiously welcomed the High Court decision to allow the extradition of Ian Bailey to France.

Sophie's brother Bertrand Bouniol (51) told the Irish Independent he expected Mr Bailey to appeal the decision.

"This is a very important decision. My feeling is that this is going to be a very long process and I suppose the probability is that he is going to appeal," he said.

Mr Bouniol said he and his parents Georges and Marguerite had never given up hope of discovering what happened on the night Sophie (39) was murdered in in December 1996.

Sophie's parents have travelled to Cork almost every year since then, to attend a religious service on the anniversary of her death.

"What we want most of all is to know what happened on that night 14 years ago," said Mr Bouniol. "We have to be patient."

Sophie's uncle, Jean-Pierre Gazeau, said he was "delighted" by the court decision. "But we still have to wait because of the certainty Mr Bailey is going to appeal," he added.

He paid tribute to Paris-based magistrate Patrick Gachon, who sought Mr Bailey's extradition for questioning.

The magistrate opened an inquiry into Sophie's death in 2008 under laws that allow French authorities to investigate the death of any of its citizens abroad.

He secured access to evidence gathered during a series of unsuccessful garda investigations and had Sophie's remains exhumed in the hope that advances in technology would help yield new forensic evidence.

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