Ireland hands over French murder mystery files
Files related to the murder of French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier were handed to France who seeks to bring her killer to justice.
DUBLIN – The files of an unsuccessful probe into the 1996 killing of a French film producer in Ireland were handed over to the French embassy in Dublin on Thursday, in a rare move.
"The handover of the files took place after it was cleared by a District Court judge," according to a justice ministry spokeswoman, who said she was unaware of any precedent for such a move.
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 southwest Ireland. Sophie Toscan du Plantier was 39.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said he hoped the file handover would help the victim's family in their long-running fight to bring the killer to justice.
He deeply regretted that no one had ever been charged with her murder.
"I've taken a deep personal interest in bringing about this situation so today I am satisfied that at least this step has been taken in the effort to secure justice," he said.
Ahern said the police investigation remains open and every lead would be pursued.
Irish police pledged full assistance to the French authorities last July after the country's director of public prosecutions indicated there was no immediate prospect of charges being brought.
Last June, a French judge ordered that the body of Toscan du Plantier be exhumed and a new post mortem was undertaken at the request of her family.
Toscan du Plantier's body, in nightclothes and wearing boots, was discovered by a neighbour on an isolated 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 lane where she was found every year on the anniversary of her death.
The spot is marked by a small stone Celtic cross inscribed "Sophie".
[AFP / Expatica]