Mother of Toscan du Plantier writes of frustration over inquiry

Murdered woman’s parent publishes book on search for daughter’s killer

Marguerite Bouniol writes in the preface to a new book on the case that her daughter always craved privacy, despite being married to well-known film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier. Photograph: Frank Miller

Marguerite Bouniol writes in the preface to a new book on the case that her daughter always craved privacy, despite being married to well-known film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier. Photograph: Frank Miller

Thu, Jan 30, 2014, 01:00

The mother of murdered French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier has told of how she has had to betray her daughter’s wish for privacy in what to date has been an unsuccessful attempt to have her killer brought to justice.

Marguerite Bouniol writes in the preface to a new book on the case that her daughter always craved privacy, despite being married to well-known film producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, and that she has had to disregard that wish for privacy to highlight her daughter’s case.

“At each new development . . . I was obliged to betray my daughter. Married to a public man, Sophie avoided journalists.

“For 16 years, I have broken this rule which she imposed. I said and cried her name so that one would not forget her, but always the silence descends again.

“It always descends on me, and around her [Sophie] the obscurity returns.

“ I have betrayed this wish of my daughter so that justice would be done to her, in a vain and cruel effort which has led to nothing,” writes Ms Bouniol, who is in her 80s.

Ms Bouniol made her comments in the preface to L’affaire Sophie Toscan du Plantier, Un Déni de Justice (a denial of justice), which looks at the murder of her daughter at her holiday home near Schull in west Cork in 1996 and efforts to bring her killer to justice.


Campaign group
The book is the work of the Association for the Truth about the Murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

The campaign group was set up in 2007 by relatives and close friends of the murdered 39-year-old mother-of-one to try to obtain justice for her.

The 192-page book, published in France today, looks at the murder and charts the family’s frustration with the Irish justice system, as well as what they see as the belated but welcome involvement of the French authorities.

Ms Bouniol says she had enjoyed a good, comfortable and peaceful life until her daughter’s murder, but since then she has experienced emotions that run contrary to everything she was ever taught and about which she feels shame.

“Up until then . . . I was unaware of violence until it befell my daughter and I was unaware of hatred before it imposed itself upon me when I was haunted by the thought of the last thing Sophie saw – the mad eyes of a man who smashed a concrete block down on her face.”


Resignation
Ms Bouniol also writes of how with “a feeling of resignation that was threatening her”, she gave her consent in 2007 to family and friends to establish the truth association to take up the struggle – a move that was welcomed by a friend in the Garda.

“I had been slow to understand that neither Sophie nor the suspect were what were at stake in this story, and that the murder of Sophie was the source of a conflict between the Irish police and the Irish justice system and between the Irish justice system and our justice system.”


Support
“What consideration then my daughter ? What consideration then for the truth? And who fights for her?” writes Ms Bouniol, as she recalls the support she and her husband Georges have received from many in Ireland, including the families of other murdered women.

English man Ian Bailey, who was twice arrested for questioning about the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier and successfully fought an extradition application to France in relation to her killing, has always denied any involvement in her death.