The son of murdered French film producer, Sophie Toscan du Plantier has appealed to anyone with information about her killing to contact gardaí, not just for the sake of her family but “for all the women” who are living in Ireland.
Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud (40) said he was convinced that there were people in Ireland who had information that could assist gardaí bring to justice his mother’s killer here in Ireland as he defended the decision of the French justice system to convict Ian Bailey of her murder in absentia.
“It’s been 25 years, the truth has not arrived yet – we must end this story – for me, for my mother, for Irish people… You, the Irish people, you have a murderer living in Ireland,” Mr Baudey-Vignaud told host, Ryan Tubridy when he appeared on The Late Late Show on Friday.
Mr Tubridy invited Mr Baudey-Vignaud, who was only 15 years old when his mother was beaten to death outside her holiday home in Toormore near Schull in West Cork on December 23rd 1996, to issue an appeal to the Irish people for information about his mother’s killer.
“My mother was found dead with the complete body destroyed… Her face was … destroyed by stones. She was almost naked in the land, with scratches on the face and on the body,” he said.
“Please for you, for me, for my mother, for the justice – for all the women who are living in this country, we must end this – please call me, send me an email or go to the gardaí, for sure, you (who) know something.”
He also he urged the Director of Public Prosecutions to reconsider the decision not to charge Mr Bailey with his mother’s murder.
An only child, Mr Baudey-Vignaud, who returns to his mother’s holiday home near Toormore every year with his own young family, said that he has a sense that people in West Cork have information about what happened and he urged them to come forward.
“It’s extraordinary but when I am in West Cork, in my mother’s house, all the people I meet are very clear, it’s very clear for them – it’s a very small community and it’s not easy to say but now it’s been 25 years but this land, this very little part of Ireland must find peace again,” he said.
“Thanks to the very recent films of Netflix and Jim Sheridan, there is a sort of revolt of the people, they want to know, they want to understand, they want answers – there are new testimonies in recent weeks some public, some not, but I know there are people out there with information.”
Mr Baudey-Vignaud defended the decision of the French justice system to convict Mr Bailey (64) in his absence in Paris in May 2019 and sentence him to 25 years in jail for the killing even though the Irish courts have refused to extradite the former journalist to France to serve the sentence.
“The French court said two years ago that Ian Bailey is guilty – the French investigation was of more than ten year’s duration, full of trust working with the Irish gardaí” said Mr Baudey-Vignaud, adding that France was not a dictatorship and it was a legitimate verdict by the French justice system.
“The verdict in France was very powerful because they said Ian Bailey is guilty and must go to jail for 25 years …. I’m not saying he is guilty, the French is saying he is guilty and when you see all the files, I think Ireland …. must go to a trial soon, the elements of the files are unambiguous.”
‘My life was turned upside down’
Earlier, Mr Baudey-Vignaud told of how close he was to his mother and how his life was changed forever when his father came to break the news to him that his mother had been murdered in Ireland during a short visit to West Cork in the run up to Christmas 1996.
“My parents divorced when I was one, so very early I was very close to her, she was my whole (world)… she was my everything – we used to live together in a very small flat because we were not so rich – we shared the same bed from I think, (when) I was one to maybe six.
“I was like a little monkey attached to her, following her everywhere in restaurants, in festivals, in galleries, in the cinema … we had a very special connection and we were very much the same with the freckles but she was an extraordinary mother, a romantic woman, a lovely person.
“She came in December 1996, very late in the year which was not really her habit… She came because she wanted to be sure the house would be okay for the winter… she just came here for two or three days before coming back to me and my family for Christmas so it was a very short trip.
“It was my last evening of childhood – I was in my grandparents house in the countryside of Paris and my father, who was supposed to come the day after, came in the night, woke me up and held me in his arms very hard, too hard – he was crying and he told me we will never be the same, like before…
“So my life was turned upside down and yes, my mother was found dead with the complete body destroyed because that’s it – her face was … destroyed by stones, she was almost naked in the land, with scratches on the face and on the body, it was not like a car accident.
“And you can’t forget – even if I didn’t see the pictures, I know my mother, I know the place, I know how you can destroy something so there are no words to describe my pain which is still bleeding today from this very special night …. the pain has never left me, it can’t.”
Mr Bailey, who was twice arrested by gardaí for questioning about Ms Toscan du Plantier’s murder but released without charge on each occasion, has repeatedly denied any involvement or connection with the killing of the French film producer.