Court shown images of injuries sustained by Sophie Toscan du Plantier

The investigation into the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier has always been stalled by the lack of forensic evidence from the scene of the crime.

On the first day of trial, the court saw graphic images of the victim’s battered body where it was found next to the gate of her neighbour’s property.

Next to her head was a large, flat blood stained rock while her dressing gown was found under some brambles at the same level as her hip, pinned down by a blood spattered breeze block.

The victim wearing a white teeshirt and long johns, as well as walking boots with no socks, while the leg of her long johns were caught on some nearby barbed wire.

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A general view of the Palais de Justice de Paris (Steve Parsons/PA)

The wounds to her head were so acute that the bones of the skull were exposed, there was a deep cut at the level of her right ear while she had several scratches to her right cheek.

On her neck was a graze of nine parallel scratches that some investigators believe match the soles of Doc Marten-style boots.

She also had injuries to her hands and a fracture to her chest, which indicated she had tried to defend herself during the attack.

Samples were taken from under her nails as well as intimate samples, but despite the violence of the attack no forensic evidence that could uncover the identity of the killer has ever been found.

The French Court was so frustrated by the lack of clues yielded by the crime scene that in 2008 it ordered her skeleton be exhumed and a second post mortem carried out.

On July 2 2008, pathologist Marc Taccoen began his own examination of Ms Toscan du Plantier.

He told the court that the biggest wound to the victim’s head was 8cm across but there were multiple fractures to the skull.

Mr Taccoen said there was a fracture to the thorax but that the spine was intact and there were no injuries to the lower limbs.

The court was shown first a sketch of Ms Toscan du Plantier’s skull detailing all the fragments, before being shown a picture of the skull itself that Mr Taccoen had pieced together.

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A general view of the room in the Palais de Justice de Paris, where the trial is taking place (Steve Parsons/PA)

He said the features had been caused by a blunt weapon and could have been caused by driving a rock into the victim’s skull.

The pathologist said Ms Toscan du Plantier had been “battered considerably” and that her injuries were consistent with her skull being “crushed”.

The original investigation noted there was an indentation in the earth beneath the victim’s head, indicating she was already on the ground when she received the fatal blows.

Mr Taccoen’s investigation confirmed the findings of the post mortem carried out by Dr John Harbison 11 years beforehand, that Ms Toscan du Plantier died from head injuries from a violent assault.

No further clues that could have unlocked the case were found.

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