Her uncle, a physicist who has lectured all over the world, does not understand why the murder of his niece was never solved.
It’s not that difficult a problem for him, given all the evidence that has surfaced, even if most of it is indirect or circumstantial.
Jean-Pierre Gazeau looks much younger than his 77 years and his lively eyes dart around as he approaches the entrance of Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s holiday home in Toormore, West Cork.
It’s the place she loved coming to and the place where she died in December 1996 after being beaten to death with a brick.
“Ah, there are still horses here,” said Mr. Gazeau of a field leased for grazing in Ms. du Plantier’s time.
“There are a thousand theories,” he said softly. “One of them was even being killed by a horse. There was a man who sent pictures of people being killed by horses with major damage to their heads.”
He pauses and a deeper melancholy seeps into his voice. “Of course, horses can’t lift concrete blocks.”
Mr Gazeau is in Ireland this weekend to represent Ms Toscan du Plantier’s family at an emotional and lively concert held in her memory last night, during which he thanked the community for their continued support.
Ian Bailey’s ex-partner, Welsh artist Jules Thomas, attended the concert commemorating the murder victim in Schull last night.
Mrs. Thomas refused to say a word Irish Independent while addressing the “Remember Me” event at the Harbor Hotel. She split from Mr Bailey in early 2021.
Film director Jim Sheridan, who is directing a five-part Sky TV documentary on the case entitled ” Murder in the Shackwas also present at the event last night.
Mr Gazeau said the news and leads keep coming, many via the website of ASSOPH, the French association set up to campaign for justice for Ms du Plantier. However, he believes some of the information should throw them off course.
Nobody could come from France and not get lost. In 1996 there was no navigation device. How could one find this remote place without being seen?
“We are still getting allegations that the murder was committed by a police officer who is of course dead. We were told the killer was from France and that a Citroen was seen leaving the area the next morning,” added Mr Gazeau.
“The Garda went through all of that and narrowed it all down and the history of the French car is just a mistake. But there were people using others to leave messages, all of that.”
He gestures desperately. “Here we are, and we got lost (come here). Nobody could come from France and not get lost. In 1996 there was no navigation device. How could one find this remote place without being seen? no The Garda believe it was a local and so do we.”
Mr. Gazeau lays flowers, lights a candle and bows his head in prayer in front of the Celtic cross inscribed ‘Sophie’ that marks the place where she died.
Having spent much of his childhood with her in Lozere in the Massif Central, they always had a close bond. He was in snowy Bialystok, eastern Poland, when he was shocked to learn that she was dead.
Since then he has studied the case in minute detail. He believes a three-man jury in Paris was right in 2019 when it convicted Ian Bailey in absentia of the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier.
Mr Bailey has always denied knowing the talented French socialite and filmmaker, claiming he had no part in the crime.
“Bailey knew Sophie and Sophie knew Bailey,” Mr Gazeau said.
“Several sworn testimonies support this fact. Sophie even mentioned the name ‘Bailey’ to her collaborator Guy Girard in November 1996, who gave an affidavit to the effect in March 1999.”
In fact, film director Mr Girard flew to Ireland for the first and only time in his life to make a statement to Gardaí. That Irish Independent can reveal that it said in part: “We have long discussed the subject of human tragedy (for a film project). And during that time Sophie mentioned the name Eoin Bailey to me. I’m sure of it.
“I thought Sophie was talking about Edwyn Bailly, a French film director, and I implied that, but Sophie corrected me with a smile and said I couldn’t know who she was talking about because Bailey was a man, a writer who lives in Ireland . I’m not sure in what context Sophie mentioned Bailey, but I got the impression that he, Bailey, was also working on the subject of human tragedy.”
Mr Gazeau said there were attempts some years ago by Mr Bailey’s lawyer, Frank Buttimer, to contact the family on his client’s behalf but they were unwilling to engage in conversation.
“Mr. Bailey has admitted to murdering Sophie many times,” Mr. Gazeau said matter-of-factly. “Witnesses are categorical on this point and some of them corroborated their testimony during the 2015 trial.”
He dismisses Mr Bailey’s explanation of typically British black humor as ‘irrelevant’ in some cases (while denying others), adding: ‘We are entering the psychology of a person who is seriously suspected of murder.
“Some interesting aspects of this type of hidden guilt behavior have been analyzed.”
There are things that are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to believe
He quotes the groundbreaking work of Theodor Reik The forced confession.
Mr Bailey never gave a reasonable statement to explain wounds that did not exist prior to the day the body was found, he said.
However, Mr Bailey said he felled Christmas trees and was scratched by a turkey while killing him.
“There are things that are very difficult, if not impossible, to believe,” Mr Gazeau said. “One of them is that Sophie could be killed so cruelly in a place as beautiful as this. A place she loved with all her heart.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/there-was-no-sat-nav-in-1996-how-could-you-find-this-remote-place-and-not-be-seen-sophie-toscan-du-plantiers-uncle-on-the-many-theories-sent-to-the-family-42013799.html “In 1996 there was no navigation device. How could you find this remote place without being seen?”: Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s uncle on the many theories sent to the family