herald

Sunday 20 October 2019

'Sophie fought like a lioness' - son calls for Irish support of trial

Sophie Toscan du Plantier
Sophie Toscan du Plantier

The son of murdered French woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier (39) has publicly called on Ireland to support the Paris murder trial next week over his mother's brutal killing as he said his family had firmly placed their trust in the people of west Cork.

"Sophie fought like a lioness against the most atrocious violence there is," Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud (37) said.

Monster

"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.

"For 20 years I have trusted you. Do not betray me. Do not betray yourselves," 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).

Mr Bailey faces trial in absentia next week over the killing of the French 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 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.

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 Bauday-Vignaud asked everyone in west Cork who can support the Paris prosecution to do so.

Truth

"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.

"If God is love and if this Church is his, let us pray for my mother to find peace and that God's righteousness may join that of men.

"This case is first and foremost about an innocent woman. This is a trial of a crime you and I did not deserve, whether it takes place here or in France."

The murder trial is scheduled to begin on May 27.

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