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Trustful Sophie ‘opened the door to her murderer'

May 27th, 2019 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Sophie's son, Pierre-Louis Baudey-Vignaud with his uncle, and Sophie's brother, Bertrand Bouniol, at the family's holiday home in Toormore last Sunday. (Photo: Courtesy Paschal Sheehy/ RTE News)

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THE son of Sophie Toscan du Plantier said his mother had such confidence in West Cork, as a place of peace, that she opened her door to her murderer.

‘She opened her door because she was so confident that nothing bad would happen to her here in Ireland,’ Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud said, in the closing moments of noon mass at the church in Goleen – a church that is just 6km from the holiday home, located in the low hills around Toormore, that Sophie frequently visited.

Pierre Louis was eight years old the first time he came to West Cork, and aged 15 when his mother was brutally murdered two days before Christmas in 1996. 

‘I can’t bear the thought of her blood seeping into your soil,’ he said. He used the words ‘your soil’ because he was speaking to the congregation, but he claimed it was his soil, too, because he continues to visit and renew that early bond he had with his mother.

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

Pierre Louis said there are no words to describe what an autopsy can reveal – the ruthless, relentless violence Sophie endured. But what it also told him is that ‘Sophie fought like a lioness against the most atrocious violence there is – the violence used by a monster (who) struck her for no reason, for nothing at all.’ 

Pierre Louis said the only way for him to defy this violence – to destroy it – is to come back every year. 

After the mass, he spoke to the media and said there is, perhaps, one other way to defy the violence and that is through the courts. 

Pierre Louis issued an appeal to the 33 witnesses that the French authorities have written to in advance of the trial that is to commence in Paris next Monday, May 27th.

Ian Bailey – a man who has consistently denied the allegation – is to be tried for the murder. Sophie’s son asked the witnesses to come forward – to help the French investigation and the trial that French law allows to be held in the absence of their suspect.

Pierre Louis said the notion of ‘victory’ does not interest him. He said he wanted ‘truth’ and ‘peace’ – not just for him and Sophie’s ageing parents, but also for Toormore, the Mizen Peninsula, and West Cork.

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