an evening for Sophie, 18 October, 2011

ASSOCIATION for the truth about the murder of SOPHIE TOSCAN DU PLANTIER born BOUNIOL


A friendly event to remember who was Sophie, to discuss her work as a producer, to update information on the progress being made on the case .

This friendly evening, organised by the Association for the Truth about the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, was the occasion for her family, friends and members of the association to remember who was Sophie, to discuss her work as producer and to provide an update on the progress of justice.

Over one hundred people came to attend this evening among whom were, besides her parents, son and brothers, French and Irish journalists, representatives of an association for the protection of victims of murder in Ireland, many friends of Sophie, parents, and relatives.

After a brief presentation of the evening program by the association president, Jean-Pierre Gazeau, Sophie's mother, Marguerite Bouniol spoke about the writing abilities of her daughter, her way of exercising her profession and her determination to share her passions through her television productions.

A video montage directed by Jean Senet of excerpts from documentary on images of Sophie at age 27, the creations of Sophie on artists Baseli and Armand, on "African Art" and "The Fold" was screened in an impressive silence.

Many people expressed the memories they kept of Sophie’s bright personality, her godmother, her aunt, her friends, her colleagues were required to spontaneously express their feelings and emotions (see below).

Counsel for the family and the association then gave an update on the latest important legal developments following the visit of two weeks by the French police and scientists to query about thirty witnesses and examine evidence after a fifteen years wait.

The success of this event could be measured by the number of participants, subscriptions of new members and the emotion that was felt throughout its development.

The family was able, within one night, to feel supported by the affection of all participants. The association welcomes the success of this event and would like to thank the people who by their presence or their intention joined this evening for Sophie.

Testimonials from family and friends of Sophie


Sophie had realised her dream of one day having a house in Ireland. She realised her dream, she had her house and at the end of her dream there was death. She had chosen her isolated house on the slope of a hill with sea view and the landscape was beautiful. Downstairs there were fields, birds singing. There were also foxes passing. There were plenty of horses and animals. It was a completely special life.

Sophie's house is a big house, as it appears in the papers. It is a house that catches you. First you had to find it. To find it, first, the signal was: you have to stop at every intersection and, where there is grass in the middle of the crossroads, take this road. It was what she had said and we got lost three times.

We take the path that is nothing extraordinary, we are in the moor, there are not many trees and at bend, you see this big white house which is surprising for its size, its whiteness and this house, for some reason, it is as if it is waiting for you, it welcomes you.

After what happen is difficult to tell, the house is always welcoming. I found there all the memories of my daughter and the way she furnished the house. One cannot write in one’s head and look all that you will put in a book or a movie and at the same time be distracted by what’s around. The old Irish chairs are completely flawed, there was an armchair stoned but there at least it was kept there as for her eyes not being distracted.

I will not monopolise the floor; there may be other people who want to talk.

I thank you all because you can not know what it feels good when you're parents and you have such a tragedy that falls on you, especially how it happened, that fifteen years after you have kept the memory of Sophie, you are there all around us to give us courage.

Thank you very much.

Sophie’s colleague

Sophie was my friend. Sophie is my neighbour. Sophie is my colleague and I had the chance to meet with her all these years and see her until November of that terrible year. We talked about our mutual friends, Agnes Thomas, Frederique Morré. We talked about her great love for her son, Pierre-Louis, whom I met when he was a young boy.

Obviously I was very shocked by her death. I really want that one fights for a solution and an end to this tragedy.

I want to salute the memory of a great friend, a wonderful woman, intelligent, beautiful and I am very sorry.

Thank you.

Ambassador Benoît Hablot

I have not had the chance to know Sophie other than by the photos in the property of her parents at Tourgéville. But it is often said that when one wants to choose a young woman, you better look at her mother to see how this young woman will grow old and I want to say thank you to Margaret and George to grow old so well.

I would also thank Marguerite because when Sophie died I wrote to Marguerite, "a tragic fate is not the lot of small" and Marguerite cited me in the epitaph of the book she wrote about Sophie, a manuscript, a wonderful book.

Thank you.

Sophie’s employee

I knew Sophie. I worked for her. She was a great lady, very beautiful, intelligent, she told me many things. She grew in a very good family and I am very sorry. I liked her very much.

Marie Madeleine Opalka read by Marie Claire Gazeau

Forgive me for not being with you tonight, but I would certainly not want to darken your evening with my grief sometimes uncontrollable.

Sophie was not a woman of excess.

She had an elegant and measured indulgence. Her personality had a double aspect, both earthy, but just as "Alice in Wonderland", which was interested in everything, eager to learn and always marvelled at the things that can broaden her knowledge.

Her field was the writing, which enabled her to embark on the film industry with very different achievements from one another, "Baselitz", "Arman," then "The fold" and finally the unfinished film "Les humeurs du corps. " but she had also a passionate interest in music and painting.

And, about cinema, she has never been a woman of glitter, much less a starlet in need of a producer. She was not that kind of a woman who would have climbed twice the stairs of the Cannes Palais des Festivals to make sure she had been photographed.

Besides, she always had to force herself to go to Cannes because each year more she dreaded having to face her arch-worldly side.

I think it's that aspect of her personality who had seduced Daniel Toscan du Plantier.

Sophie was true and was advancing in life without a mask, open minded and not despising anyone. Her attitude in life was always the same, open, curious and happy rider, identical both for the for the President of the Republic as well as for the tramp to whom she allowed to sleep at night in her car and so he kept it.

When meting with someone, her interest and attention were such that she became more intelligent and more excited.

In the Latin sense of the word, she was not a snob because her internal nobility was as deep as her external nobility.

She had a natural beauty. Her makeup was a little lipstick, and a little shade on her eyes.

All these things I just mentioned were so obvious that when she stepped in a room, all at once the air was different.

Her presence was such that she immediately attracted people’s attention.

I remember one evening in Paris in a party to celebrate sculptor César, many beautiful and elegant women were present, but when Sophie stepped in the conversations fell silent and suddenly César voiced: "Hey you little girl, come to me at once".

I think no one will contradict me in my description, and if I say all this it’s for those who did not know Sophie, so that you can share with me who she was and continues to be for all of us and for whom her absence is again crueller.

Anne Delcassian :

I just would like to thank our lovely French friends for taking the time to spend with us this lovely afternoon today and I would like to offer our deepest condolence, as actually your case is still not being resolved in Ireland.

The same thing has happened to me. My sister was murdered six years ago in Ireland and her case is still not being resolved.

It seems to be that the Irish judicial system is very much behind the times and is not helping us really. I think change has got to come for all of us because there are literally 220 cases in Ireland, which have still not been resolved in that country which is absolutely appalling.

There is in fact a new minister for justice who has taken over from a previous minister who died a couple of years ago so may be there be will changes.

I intent writing to him but I wanted to wait to speak to our friends here before I did that to see if there is any change. I know you have an on going investigation as I have. I can’t speak about either of those and cases at the moment but I my sympathy and my heart, my tears and everything is with you all and I hope, with God’s help, with the justice system it can work for us and something will come for your case. It’s absolutely appalling that it is taking this long and my own case is going the same way.

So, Marguerite I’ll talk to my friends for you. I really really do.

It’s been a lovely time in Paris and thank you very much.

Barry Roche, The Irish Times

I just like to thank you very much for invitation here. I’d like to pay tribute to Georges and Marguerite for their great determination and fortitude over many years. And the association who has come on board in recent times and I’m sure that has given a new impetus perhaps to see a resolution very shortly.

But still it is their determination for their daughter that is very moving and wonderful and the precious person she was and I wish them success.

Francis Lefèvre

What I would say is that when I came to Paris as a student, while coming from Marseille, Marguerite and George and all the family greeted me as a son. For two years I stayed with them so I had moments of joy and happiness with Sophie, Bertrand, Marguerite and George. I have pictures that come back to me as when we listened to "The Bolero" again and again. Sophie was a little girl but she was interested in music, archaeology, and literature. We spend time together. I remember also Grignon.

I also remember the welcoming of Marguerite and George, Sophie and Bertrand. Stéphane was not yet born. From time to time our paths crossed, since I roamed the world and France and when we met, it was always a good time.

I remember the marriage of Bertrand where we spent a great night, where Sophie was singing like crazy. These are memories and I thank Marguerite, George, Sophie, Bertrand and Stéphane since I even cared for him when he was a baby...

Jacqueline Delmas, Sophie’s godmother

I had the joy that Marguerite and Georges choose me to be godmother to Sophie. So I had the immense privilege of wearing Sophie at St. Eustache for his baptism.

We got along very well, we were very close together until my wedding when I went to Switzerland and when I saw the newspapers about the death of Sophie, I cannot forget the words prepared by her mother she told me at my marriage. She could not read, of course, since she was six. At one point she said, because she knew I was going to Switzerland, "And since you go so far, do not forget to keep us posted."

I must say that this sentence, now that she is so far away, comes back every time to my mind whenever I have the pleasure of going to Combret or Tiquetonne street, to see the whole Bouniol family, see again Bertrand and Stéphane, their children and the immense joy that I have had to know Pierre-Louis and now Aurelia.

All that to say that the very strong links I have in memory of our Sophie, are indelible.

God knows if I wish that in the end we have the satisfaction of knowing why and how such a thing could happen to us to deprive ourselves of an exceptional girl, an exceptional mother and of course my exceptional goddaughter.

Excuse my emotion.