Paris court finds Briton guilty of 1996 murder

Paris court finds Briton guilty of 1996 murder

The Paris high criminal court has convicted Irish-based former UK journalist Ian Bailey of murdering French television producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier in 1996. 

Her badly beaten body was found near her west Cork holiday home. 

Bailey, 62, was sentenced in absentia to 25 years in prison, after repeatedly denying any involvement. 

Du Plantier was assaulted near the home her husband had bought near Schull (pictured).

Her body was discovered by neighbours in a lane near the house in December 1996.

During the trial, photographs of the blood-stained rock and concrete block which were found close to du Plantier body.

Her house had no signs of an intruder and it is believed she opened the door to her murderer.

The court ordered another European arrest warrant be issued, asking Ireland for the third time to extradite the Englishman to France.

Bailey, who lived 3km from the holiday home, was twice arrested by the Irish police but was released without charge.

“The court considers that there is sufficient evidence to establish that Ian Bailey committed the crime he is accused of,” said Judge Frédérique Aline told the court.

Nobody has ever been charged in Ireland in connection with the murder.

A victim’s family demanded damages of €500,000 from the French commission for victims of crime and €365,000 from Bailey. A decision on the damages is expected on June 11.

Bailey’s solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said the journalist had no money to fight any compensation claim from the family.

Buttimer said “best of luck with the money” as his client had not been able to work for 23 years since he was connected to the case.

The lawyer said the court ruling was a “grotesque miscarriage of justice”.

The victim’s family welcomed the verdict. 

“There is no longer any doubt,” said her son, 38-year-old Pierre-Louis Baudey-Vignaud. “Now we will attend to the next step and one day for sure, Ian Bailey, who killed my mother, will go to jail.”

Du Plantier’s 93-year-old father, Georges Bouniol, said there was no joy in the ruling. “I want my daughter to be alive and with us here today as she should be and that is not possible.”

 

 

Schull in County Cork. Picture credit: IHA

 

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