Murder victim Sophie Toscan du Plantier remembered at concert in west Cork

Film maker Jim Sheridan and Ian Bailey’s ex-partner Jules Thomas among those paying tribute at Schull event

Friday evening was an opportunity for the people of west Cork to show that, despite the passing years, they have not forgotten film producer and young mother Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

They sent out a powerful message of solidarity to the murder victim’s family from the Remember Me – A Concert for Sophie event at the Harbour Hotel in Schull.

Organised by locals Bill Hogan, Len Lipitch, Diana Llewellyn and Denis Quinlan, the event began with Mr Hogan welcoming Ms Toscan du Plantier’s uncle, Jean Pierre Gazeau, before announcing to warm applause that the concert had generated a surplus which was being donated to West Cork Women Against Violence.

Mr Gazeau said it was “very emotional for me to be here … thanks to all of you here, Sophie is with us tonight. Of course, time does not exist for her, but time exist for us. Time is dramatically rolling on for her parents, they could not come for obvious reasons of poor health.


“But two days ago Sophie’s mother, Marguerite told me of her regret over not being able to come and Georges [her father] told me that Sophie wanted so much to be Irish. Here in West Cork, she could find the really peaceful atmosphere to be herself, to be Sophie Bouniol,” he said, referring to Ms Toscan du Plantier by her maiden name.

The French film producer was killed in December 1996. Her badly beaten body was found near her holiday home at Toormore near Schull. Nobody has ever been charged with her murder.

Mr Gazeau passed on the regrets of Ms Toscan du Plantier’s son, Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud, and her aunt, Marie Madeleine Opalka, who were unable to be present at the concert.

Among those in attendance was one of the last people to see Sophie alive, Yvonne Ungerer; film maker Jim Sheridan, who was behind the documentary Murder At The Cottage; as well as artist, Jules Thomas, the former partner of Ian Bailey, who was twice arrested but never charged in connection with the unsolved murder case.

The concert featured music, singing and poetry from several local artists.

Speaking ahead of the concert, Mr Gazeau repeated her son’s appeal on the Late Late Show last year for anyone with information on the murder to come forward not just for the sake of her family but ‘for all the women’ who are living in Ireland.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times