Du Plantier’s mother confident justice will be done

THE mother of murdered Frenchwoman Sophie Toscan du Plantier yesterday said her family still lives in hope of seeing her daughter’s killer brought to justice.

Sophie’s mother Marguerite Bouniol was speaking after a memorial Mass in Goleen, West Cork, yesterday just ahead of the eighth anniversary of her daughter’s death.

Earlier, Ms Bouniol, her husband George, Sophie’s aunt Marie Madeleine Opalka and her husband Roman, who are staying at Sophie’s house in Toormore, laid a bouquet of white lilies at the Celtic cross that marks the spot where Ms du Plantier’s battered body was discovered on December 23, 1996.

They joined local parishioners in the Church of St Patrick and Our Lady for mass at noon. Afterwards, an emotional Ms Bouniol, speaking through an interpreter, said her family’s pain is worse now than it was eight years ago. She said her family is “frustrated, but confident justice will be done”.

Ms Bouniol praised the bravery of locals who had come forward during the unsuccessful libel trial brought by English journalist and self-confessed main suspect Ian Bailey against eight Irish newspapers in December 2003.

She also praised the newspapers who fought the case. Ms Bouniol said the family is committed to pursuing a civil action against Mr Bailey. The family also told of the shock felt by Sophie’s son, 23-year-old Pierre Louis, that yet another year has passed without anyone being charged with his mother’s murder.

Local priest, Fr Hugh McLaughlin, who celebrated the Mass, said Sophie was remembered this year by a community that is still in shock. The annual visit to Goleen by Sophie’s parents and family brings back the awful memories of Christmas 1996, he said.

“We were all shocked that this horrendous murder took place,” Fr McLaughlin said.

“We are all disappointed that no one has been charged or convicted of the murder.

“We still hope that the culprit will be found sometime to put finality to the case for Sophie’s parents.”

Fr McLaughlin had lunch with the family in Sophie’s house yesterday afternoon and said they are at peace in the home and in the area.

“They still hope that by coming over, something will emerge, that it will strike a note with somebody who will come forward with new information,” he said.

The garda investigation into Ms du Plantier’s murder is still open, a garda spokesman said.

“Our investigations are ongoing, this is still an active investigation and will be until someone is brought to justice.”

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