BANTRY and Bandon are going to be the base of operations for a cold case review of the investigation into the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, and a new DNA machine may help them find her killer.
‘This is a live investigation,’ Chief Supt Con Cadogan told The Southern Star, ‘we have a cold case review team from Dublin, supported by a team of members from the West Cork Division.
‘They are a very close, core group of people who will be working on this for the next number of months,’ he said.
The senior garda would not comment on the possible use of a machine called the ‘M-Vac’ that has been successfully used to solve a cold case murder in the US.
M-Vac has been described as ‘the world’s greatest vacuum’ because it can glean 40% more DNA from a saliva stain than a cotton swab and 88% more from a blood stain.
It is essentially a DNA extraction tool that can pick up ‘touch DNA’ from grooves in a rock once held by the perpetrator.
In December 1996, at the end of the laneway leading to her home at Toormore on the Mizen peninsula, a concrete block and a rock were used to bludgeon Sophie Toscan du Plantier to death.
Chief Supt Cadogan said he would not discuss any evidential aspect of the investigation.
‘What I can say is that no stone will be left unturned and Commissioner Drew Harris and our Taoiseach have said that as well.
‘This is going to be a forensic investigation,’ he added, ‘nothing will be left to chance. The review team and the support team will start at the very start and go through everything meticulously.
‘It will be a painstaking process. There is somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 pages of documents to go through,’ said West Cork garda boss, who confirmed that the investigation file is being digitised to make it easier for cross-referencing.
‘We will be looking at that and new methodologies – we will be looking at everything,’ he said.
Chief Supt Cadogan confirmed that the team will be looking at ‘other potential witnesses’ and added that some people who have been interviewed already will be re-interviewed.
He said the gardaí have been in contact with Pierre-Louis Baudey-Vignaud, the son of the late Sophie Toscan du Plantier, and they are keeping him apprised of the review.
A senior officer has also been appointed to liaise with the review team.