Man in Irish extradition hearing over Frenchwoman's killing

25th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

A British journalist appeared in court Saturday after an arrest warrant was issued in France in connection with the murder 14 years ago of the wife of a high-profile film producer in Ireland.

Ian Bailey is wanted by authorities in France investigating the brutal death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, wife of the late Daniel Toscan du Plantier, a producer who also headed the Gaumont studios.

Bailey, who has twice been arrested and questioned in the past in connection with the murder, was bailed ahead of another administrative hearing at Dublin's High Court on Wednesday.

Toscan du Plantier, 39, was found beaten to death on December 23, 1996 outside her holiday home in the village of Schull in County Cork, southwest Ireland.

Her body, in nightclothes and boots, was discovered by a neighbour on a lane. A preliminary inquest heard that she had suffered severe head and facial injuries caused by a blunt instrument. No murder weapon was ever found.

Her remains were exhumed in 2008 from a cemetery in southern France for court-ordered DNA testing.

But in July 2009 Ireland's director of public prosecutions indicated there was no immediate prospect of charges being brought.

In a rare move in December 2009 -- after French investigating magistrate Patrick Gachon was appointed to conduct his own inquiry -- the Irish justice ministry handed over the police files of the unsuccessful investigation.

At the time, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said he hoped the move would help the victim's family in their long-running fight to bring the killer to justice.

Gachon issued a Europe-wide warrant on February 19 for the arrest of Bailey.

© 2010 AFP

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