Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s son’s ‘shock’ at seeing Ian Bailey

Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud encountered journalist once in years visiting west Cork

The son of French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier has said seeing Ian Bailey, the man French authorities want to put on trial in for his mother's murder, during a visit to west Cork felt like an "electroshock".

Pierre Louis Baudey-Vignaud (35) said he had encountered Mr Bailey (59), an English journalist, just once in the years he has been coming to the area with his wife and children. He said he found it an upsetting experience.

“It was the first year coming here with the kids. I was going into Spar to buy some lemons and the children were in the car and suddenly I saw him in the shop. He didn’t recognise me but it was like an electroshock and I froze – I just couldn’t move,” said Mr Baudey-Vignaud.

"I had thought about it happening many times but I was still in a state of shock. We left the next day for France, but there is always a chance of meeting him when I come here. But I'm not going to give him the chance of stopping my life here because I might meet him."


After learning the French authorities had sanctioned charging him with the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier 20 years ago, Mr Bailey said he intended to write to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to ask her to reconsider a decision not to try him in Ireland over the 1996 death.

He said he did not believe he would get a fair trial in France and that it would be logical for the DPP to ask the French authorities to pass on the evidence supporting their decision to try him to see if it merits a charge in Ireland so he can clear his name.

Judicial process

Lawyer Alain Spilliaert, who represents Mr Baudey-Vignaud, said he was aware of the reports about Mr Bailey requesting a trial in Ireland but this was a matter for Mr Bailey and the Irish authorities. Mr Spilliaert said he did not believe the move would have any impact on the French judicial process.

“It’s a decision of the French justice system to try Mr Bailey now and he can do whatever he wants now in Ireland but that process has started in France following a long investigation. I don’t think Mr Bailey writing to the DPP is going to stop the French trial process,” he said.

“There was co-operation between the Irish and French justice systems and that has culminated in the French decision to seek an indictment order against Mr Bailey for voluntary homicide and that will result in a trial here in France and that’s the way it is.”

Mr Spilliaert said he did not believe the Irish authorities would extradite Mr Bailey to France on a new European Arrest Warrant after refusing to do so in 2012.

He said it would be “frustrating for the family” if Mr Bailey were to go on trial but not be in the country. But it was eqally important for them “to have an opportunity to have all the evidence presented and the truth finally emerge”.

Mr Bailey was twice arrested for questioning about the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier at her holiday home at Dreenane, Toormore, near Schull but has always denied any involvement in her death or ever making any admissions about killing her.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times