Hope for DNA lead in probe of French-Irish murder

30th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

The family of a French film producer murdered in Ireland 12 years ago hope the exhumation of her body will lead to new DNA clues about her killer.

30 June 2008

DUBLIN - The family of a French film producer murdered in Ireland almost 12 years ago hope the exhumation of her body this week will lead to new DNA clues about her killer, her uncle said Monday.

A French judge has ordered that the body of Sophie Toscan du Plantier be exhumed on Tuesday and a new post mortem undertaken.

The wife of the late Daniel Toscan du Plantier, the former chief of France's Gaumont film studios, was found beaten to death on 23 December 1996 in County Cork in south-west Ireland. She was 39.

No one has ever been charged with her murder.

Jean-Pierre Gazeau, the brother of Toscan du Plantier's mother, Marguerite Bouniol, said the family hoped new DNA evidence - which could lead to the capture of her killer - will be found on her remains.

"After almost 12 years we are not sure we will find some evidence but a lot of progress has begun recently in this kind of medical post mortem investigation," he told RTE state radio.

"Maybe it will be possible to find some sample of DNA that does not belong to Sophie, so in that case it would be very, very interesting evidence."

Gazeau is president of the Association for the Truth about the Murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, which the family established in 2007 to help in the hunt for the killer.

Irish police only issued a one sentence statement when queried about whether they were involved in the French investigation.

"This investigation (the Irish murder probe) is still ongoing and any current queries should be directed to the French authorities," according to the statement issued to AFP.

Gazeau said he did not believe a prosecution could take place in France.

He appealed for any witnesses who wished to give testimony to the French investigation to come forward.

Gardai (Irish police) have twice held British journalist Ian Bailey for questioning in connection with the killing, but they never charged him and he consistently protested his innocence.

Toscan du Plantier's body, in nightclothes and wearing boots, was discovered by a neighbour on a lane leading to her holiday home.

A preliminary inquest was told she had suffered severe head and facial injuries which had been caused by a blunt instrument. No murder weapon was ever found.

Georges and Marguerite Bouniol, the parents of the slain mother-of-one, visit the isolated laneway where she was murdered every year on the anniversary of her death.

The spot is marked by a small stone Celtic cross inscribed "Sophie".

[AFP / Expatica]

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