Son of French film producer’s wife who was murdered outside her holiday home in Ireland in 1996 reveals he’s bumped into British journalist convicted of killing her TWICE after Irish court refused to extradite him
- Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s son Pierre-Louis Baudey, 40, given rare interview
- French documentary-maker was murdered in Ireland 24 years ago aged 39
- Pierre-Louis is ‘still in shock now’ and awaits her killer being brought to justice
The son of a French film producer’s wife who was murdered outside her holiday home in Ireland 24 years ago has revealed he’s bumped into the man convicted of killing her twice, after an Irish court refused to extradite him.
French documentary-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier, 39, was beaten to death two days before Christmas in 1996, with her body found outside her remote cottage near the village of Schull in West Cork.
In 2019, British journalist Ian Bailey, 63, was tried and convicted in absentia of her murder in a French court. But following a three-day hearing last year, Ireland’s High Court rejected an attempt by French authorities to have him extradited to serve his 25-year jail term.
It means her son Pierre-Louis Baudey, now 40 and married with children of his own, is still to see his mother’s killer brought to justice.
French documentary-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier, 39, was beaten to death two days before Christmas in 1996, with her body found outside her remote cottage near the village of Schull in West Cork (pictured with her son Pierre-Louis Baudey)
Pierre-Louis Baudey, now 40 and married with children of his own, is still to see his mother’s killer brought to justice. Pictured in a new Netflix documentary about her murder and the subsequent trial of prime suspect Ian Bailey
Ian Bailey, 62, pictured in July 2010, was found guilty of killing Sophie Toscan du Plantier, 39, in 1996, in his absence at a French court last year
Speaking to The Sunday Times Magazine in a rare interview ahead of a new Netflix documentary series – Sophie: A Murder in West Cork – being released later this month, he admitted he is ‘still in shock now’ about her death, adding: ‘It was violent and it will never go away.’
He also revealed that he continues to visit his mother’s Irish holiday home with his family because it’s ‘a connection between them and her’ and ‘the only way I have of explaining who she was’, and has bumped into Bailey twice.
‘The second time was especially hard because I was with my children,’ Pierre-Louis recalled, admitting it impacts him psychologically every time is happens. ‘But I’m free. I can go where I want. I will not let him have that.’
Sophie, who was married to celebrated French film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, a friend of Jacques Chirac, was found dead on an isolated hillside after being beaten over the head with a concrete block. Marks on her arms suggested she struggled with her attacker.
Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s battered body was found on an isolated hillside in Toormore, near Schull, west Cork, two days before Christmas in 1996
Bailey, who lived around six miles from the murder scene and has remained in Co Cork, soon emerged as the prime suspect. He was found to have scratches to his arms and face, and also had a history of domestic violence.
He was arrested and questioned in February 1997 and again in 1998, but never arrested since police could find no forensic evidence linking him to the crime.
Bailey denied being the murderer, claiming he got the scratches cutting down a Christmas tree and carving a turkey. He has denied even knowing Sophie, claiming to have seen her once, but never to have met her.
Witness Marie Farrell subsequently came forward to claim that she had seen Bailey at the scene of the crime, but later retracted her evidence, saying that gardaí had pressured her into making the statements.
Sophie, who was married to celebrated French film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, a friend of Jacques Chirac, was found dead on an isolated hillside after being beaten over the head with a concrete block. Marks on her arms suggested she struggled with her attacker (pictured, her holiday home at Mizen Head in Cork)
Several other witnesses claimed that Bailey, who had worked as an investigative journalist in London before moving to Ireland when his marriage ended, admitted to them that he was the murderer – evidence that was submitted during the French trial.
Ireland has twice refused to send him to France to stand trial, saying police had questioned him twice about the killing but failed to find any substantive evidence. It has also cited the lack of an extradition agreement with France.
Only due to a quirk of France’s Napoleonic law that allows crimes against French citizens to be tried in their own courts, no matter where in the world they were committed, was Bailey tried and sentenced in Paris in 2020.
Sophie was among the social elite in Paris and ‘the best mother in the world’ according to Pierre-Louis, who lived with her after his parents’ divorce and was ‘very close’ to her.
Several other witnesses claimed that Bailey, who had worked as an investigative journalist in London before moving to Ireland when his marriage ended, admitted to them that he was Sophie’s killer – evidence that was submitted during the French trial
Pierre-Louis said that his grief now, more than decades on, is still like losing a limb (pictured at the Court of Appeal in Paris for the trial of Ian Bailey)
She bought the cottage when Pierre-Louis was eight, having fallen in love with the rugged Irish countryside and the sense of escapism it offered her. The pair travelled there twice a year, with Sophie keen for her son to learn English.
The year she was killed, Pierre-Louis, then 15, was spending Christmas with his father. They only realised something was wrong when news reports emerged about a woman being killed in Ireland.
Pierre-Louis told the publication that his grief now, more than decades on, is still like losing a limb, adding: ‘I’m alive but it won’t grow back.’
He added that he believes the police in Ireland were out of their depth when it came to handling the murder.
Pierre-Jean Baudet (right), first husband of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, arrives with the family lawyer to attend the trial at Paris’ courthouse on May 29, 2019
Pierre-Louis, who is set to challenge Ireland’s refused to extradite Bailey in the European courts, said he sees the upcoming Netflix documentary as a way of showing the evidence against Bailey that he and others have stacked up over the years that ‘allowed the French justice system to say that he is the murderer’.
‘He is not a failed poet or a violent alcoholic, he is a murderer and everyone will know that,’ he said.
Speaking in the documentary, he states his intention to make it happen, regardless of how long it takes, insisting: ‘Justice has no time limit.’
Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, a three-part series, is available on Netflix from June 30.
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