The family of murdered French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier has expressed hope that a Garda cold case review will uncover new evidence.
Speaking ahead of a trip to west Cork for a concert to remember the 39-year-old mother of one, her uncle, Jean Pierre Gazeau, said he and Sophie’s parents, Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, and her son Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud remain hopeful that they will see her killer brought to justice in Ireland.
“I would like here to repeat the appeal that Pierre Louis made on the Late Late Show in Ireland in 2021 when he urged anyone with information about Sophie’s murder to contact gardaí, not just for the sake of her family but ‘for all the women’ who are living in Ireland,” he said.
“Of course, the actions by the Garda cold case review to open a new phase in the search of truth and justice for Sophie and is crucial for us, her family and our hopes for an eventual outcome in this sense are very strong.”
Ms Toscan du Plantier’s badly beaten body was found near her holiday home at Toormore near Schull on the morning of December 23rd, 1996. Although a suspect was twice arrested for questioning about the killing, nobody has ever been charged with the murder.
Mr Gazeau is due to travel for a tribute concert for Ms Toscan du Plantier at the Harbour View Hotel in Schull on Friday night. The line-up features traditional and classical musicians as well as some spoken word artists.
“We are deeply grateful to those who organised this concert, Remember Me – A Concert for Sophie, as it shows that Sophie continues to live in the hearts and the minds of the people of west Cork, a place that will always be dear to our family because of what happened to Sophie there.”
Mr Gazeau said Mr and Mrs Bouniol, both in their 90s, would not be able to travel due to poor health and that Mr Baudey-Vignaud would also be unable to attend. He said Ms Toscan du Plantier’s brother, Bertrand Bouniol, may yet travel depending on how well his parents are.
“Remembering Sophie in this way with this concert in Schull is extremely moving and comforting for the family…it shows us that she is not forgotten by the people of west Cork who still want to see justice for her even after all these years,” he said.
Mr Gazeau said his niece fell in love with west Cork generally and Toormore outside Schull in particular as its rugged landscape reminded her of the Aubrac Plateau in Lozere in central France, where her parents lived before moving to Paris and where the family used to holiday.
“In Toormore, she could find peaceful and friendly human atmosphere, especially in the pubs where she was used to go to sit for a while, to think, to observe, to discuss with people, and to find inspiration for her work as a producer,” he said.
“The family is very respectful of west Cork people and the landscape because we know what Sophie’s feelings were for them and we are extremely grateful for the people who organised this memorial event during which, we will certainly feel the presence of Sophie.”
Bill Hogan, one of the organisers and a friend of Ms Toscan du Plantier, said that those who knew the French film producer had long thought of holding a concert to remember her and give the people of west Cork an opportunity to show their support for her family.
“This is a tribute that is long overdue – in a way, Remember Me will be like a traditional Irish wake – it will be an opportunity for friends, family and neighbours to come together to show their respect and their esteem for someone who was lost,” he said.
Remember Me – A Concert for Sophie will feature Liam Kenneally on fiddle, Mairead Casey on harp, soprano Wendy Dwyer, tenor Ryan Morgan, Antoinette Baker on piano, Diane Llewellyn on cello, Carol Daly on violin and spoken word artists Pat Bracken and Gaelle Lacquement.