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Assault on partner my 'eternal shame', says Bailey

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Ian Bailey and Jules Thomas outside the High Court in Dublin.

Ian Bailey and Jules Thomas outside the High Court in Dublin.

Ian Bailey and Jules Thomas outside the High Court in Dublin.

IAN Bailey has told a High Court jury it was to his "eternal shame" that he assaulted his partner Jules Thomas in the past.

He accepted Ms Thomas was hospitalised after a May 1996 incident and was hit with crutches in a 2001 incident. While he could not recall another incident in 1993, he was not disputing that happened.

Barrister Luan O Braonain, for the State, told Mr Bailey his history of violence was one reason he was a suspect in the garda investigation into the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier, whose body was found near Schull on December 23, 1996.

Mr O Braonain said another reason gardai suspected him was because one witness had said Mr Bailey appeared to have briar scratches on his arms when he saw him in a local creamery on Christmas Eve 1996.

Two other witnesses said they saw no scratches on his arms when they saw him playing a bodhran in a bar on December 22, 1996.

Ms Toscan du Plantier's body was found in a laneway where there were briars and there were signs she had struggled with her attacker.

Mr Bailey said he had marks on his arms as a result of cutting down a Christmas tree on the afternoon of December 22.

He was being cross-examined in his continuing action for damages on a number of grounds, including wrongful arrest, against the Garda Commissioner and State. They deny all the claims.

When asked about domestic violence towards Ms Thomas he said that, "to my eternal shame" when in the past he used to drink spirits he was involved in incidents.

The reasons for that "have been long cured", he said.

He said the May 1996 assault, which led to Ms Thomas being hospitalised, happened when the couple were driving home after both were drinking.

He said Ms Thomas grabbed him and he pushed her away. Asked was he saying she was to blame, he said: "That's how it started."

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When shown photos taken after that assault in which Ms Thomas had a closed black eye and some hair missing, Mr Bailey said those were "shameful and disgraceful of me".

He agreed he had assaulted Ms Thomas in 2001 and had pleaded guilty to that. Mr O Braonain said Ms Thomas was hit on the face and body with a crutch.

It occurred after he was asleep in the lounge, with his leg in plaster, and she told him to find somewhere else to sleep, Mr Bailey said.

Unfortunately, he "wasn't the only person in west Cork who engaged in domestic violence when drink was involved," he said. Earlier, Mr Bailey told the jury he believed he had not told the 'Sunday Tribune', when contributing articles to it concerning the murder of the filmmaker, he himself might be a suspect.

Mr Bailey, who denies any involvement in the killing, said he believed gardai had a number of suspects and those might include himself and his partner Jules, but he was not certain. He did not know the finger of suspicion was "being pointed at me".


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