Sophie Toscan Du Plantier's son appeals for witnesses to testify at Bailey trial

Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud the son of murdered Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Goleen, West Cork, for the mass for his mother at the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea and St Patrick. Picture Dan Linehan

The son of murdered French woman Sophie Toscan Du Plantier has urged locals in West Cork to travel to Paris to testify at the trial of English journalist Ian Bailey.

Speaking in Goleen, in West Cork, Pierre-Louis Baudey Vignaud said that it was imperative that the relevant parties travel to France for the four-day trial which gets underway on May 27.

"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."

Mr Baudey Vignaud travelled to Goleen with his uncle Betrand in order to attend a mass in memory of his mother.

He told mass goers that his idyllic childhood had been blighted by the violent killing of his mother in West Cork in 1996.

He stressed that Sophie was a real flesh and blood person whose life ended in a horrifying manner. He spoke of his pride at her 'resilience' in her final moments.

"My mother, Sophie is not a ghost, she is the victim of human cruelty and violence which has no place here. Sophie fought like a lioness against the most atrocious violence there is.

"I still come back here every year because it is the only way for me to defy this violence and to destroy it."

Pierre Louis stated that his life became a 'prison" overnight after his mother's death and that it was impossible for him to come to terms with what had happened to her.

"I have been coming to Ireland for 30 years. I was eight years old the first time I came here and I was 15 years old when my mother was brutally killed. I can’t bear the thought of her blood seeping into your soil."

He told mass goers that he was drawn to the poetic and romantic image of Ireland, "the real reasons that attracted her (Sophie) here to West Cork."

He claimed that the killing of his mother was not in keeping with the soul of Ireland.

"This is a trial of a crime that does not fit with what Ireland is like and does not fit with what you, Irish people, are. This is a trial of a crime that no one, especially myself but also you, would have wanted to know about. This is a trial of a crime that you and I did not deserve, whether it takes place here or in France."

He stated that his mother felt at ease in Ireland.

"It is the trial of a crime that bears the mark of a country in which a woman, my mother, had such confidence that she opened her door to the person who murdered her. She would not have done this in Paris. She opened her door here in Ireland because she was so confident that nothing bad would happen to her. And that confidence was the reason why she chose to come to this county."

He said that Sophie travelled to Ireland for "peace of mind, serenity and trust" and never would have thought that she was at risk in her "haven of peace."

Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud the son of murdered Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Goleen, West Cork, for the mass for his mother at the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea and St Patrick. Picture Dan Linehan
Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud the son of murdered Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Goleen, West Cork, for the mass for his mother at the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea and St Patrick. Picture Dan Linehan

The church heard that the murder of the French film producer was the "darkest page" in the history of Sophie's family and a sad page in Irish history.

Pierre Louis said that he decided to keep his mother's home in Toormore near Schull because he preferred to "believe in the trust that my mother had when she opened her door. "

"I could have given up my mother’s dream of peace of mind. I could have abandoned this country, this house, her house, mine and your house. I could have chosen not to bring my children here, I could have believed in curses and in a kind of predestination. I could have been afraid but here I am standing before you.

"I preferred to desire her Ireland, your Irish way of life that tranquility that she could not find either in Paris or in the glitter that so many others imagined."

Massgoers at the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea and St Patrick were told that this land must end a crime which is "neither a mystery nor a legend."

Pierre Louise attended the mass with his uncle Bertrand. The family have travelled to West Cork on numerous occasions over the years.

Meanwhile, Mr Bailey who is due to be tried in Paris for the murder of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier has said he expects to be found guilty of the offence.

In an interview with Virgin Media News earlier this year Bailey, who vehemently denies any involvement in the murder of the 39-year-old in says he has no plans to travel for France

"I am greatly, greatly imperilled here. I know I had that I nothing to do with this and I am going to finish up a convicted murderer. I am actually an innocent man. What will happen in France is that they will probably celebrate the fact that I have been convicted. All they'll have succeeded in doing is convicting an innocent man.

"I am looking at a date in May when the tectonic plates in my life are going to shift hugely. And I don't know how I am going to handle it."

Mr Bailey (62), who lives in Schull Co Cork, says that he is heading into a very difficult period in his life.

"I am facing in to a very grim dark period of my life. And yet at the same time I know there are people here in Ireland and in Bantry who know that I have nothing to do with this. Short of a miracle or an intervention some new information coming out, it would appear inevitable that at a point later this I will become a convicted murderer in France.

His solicitor Frank Buttimer previously said the criminal trial is just a "show piece trial" to satisfy certain interests in France.

Mr Bailey has fought two attempts by the authorities in France to extradite him to the country.

Mrs Toscan Du Plantier was murdered at her holiday home at Toormore near Schull in west Cork in the early hours of December 23, 1996. Her battered body was found in a laneway near her cottage.

More on this topic

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West Cork murder: Paris verdict does not close case

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