The family of murdered French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier have welcomed the news that An Garda Síochána is to carry out a full cold case review of the west Cork killing over a quarter of a century ago.
Ms Toscan du Plantier’s son, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud told The Irish Times he was very pleased to learn that Garda Commissioner Drew Harris had sanctioned the cold case review following the receipt of a report from Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll.
“I must say I am very happy there is to be a full cold case review and I have big expectations that hopefully the next few months will see developments which, for all of us, Ireland, France and my mother’s family, will finalise this story in a way that will finally get justice for my mother,” he said.
Mr Baudey-Vignaud said he was surprised to receive a phone call on Wednesday from Supt Joe Moore informing him of the decision.
“I was surprised but in a good way to hear from the Garda, because for years, I had no communication so it was good that they contacted me first rather than letting me learn it from the media; hopefully, it is a good omen for how this review will go,” he said.
The main suspect in the case, English journalist Ian Bailey, who has repeatedly denied any involvement in Ms Toscan du Plantier’s murder at her isolated holiday home at Toormore on December 23rd, 1996, also welcomed the review.
“Twelve months ago, I wrote to Commissioner Drew Harris as ‘a clean pair of hands’ asking him to review the case. I today heard via the media that a review has been sanctioned and I clearly welcome that,” Mr Bailey said. “There have been a number of reviews of this case previously and I am on record as saying I will co-operate with any meaningful and objective review of the case. My prayer has always been for the truth to come out and I hope this review will be part of answering that prayer.”
On Wednesday, gardaí said while the case has remained open and active, it will now be reviewed in its entirety.
“Following a review by Assistant Commissioner, Organised and Serious Crime, the Garda Serious Crime Review Team will now conduct a full review of this case,” it said in a statement.
“On the finalisation of this review, the Serious Crime Review Team will provide recommendations to the local investigation team.”
The Garda reissued its standard appeal for information in the case and said it would make no further public comment.
In October 2020, the High Court rejected an attempt by French authorities to extradite Mr Bailey for the murder. Mr Bailey was facing a third extradition process to France in relation to the filmmaker’s death. The court ruled that he would not be surrendered to France after a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued in 2019.
Mr Bailey, with an address at The Prairie in Schull, was convicted of murder in his absence by a court in Paris in May 2019. The three-judge court imposed a 25-year sentence. He had no legal representation for the case and did not attend the court.
Responding to a question on the case in the Dáil earlier this month, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Ms Toscan du Plantier’s murder had been met with “shock and horror by the people of the country”.