Europe

Ian Bailey: Former journalist admits domestic violence

Ian Bailey arrives at the Four Courts in Dublin Image copyright PA
Image caption Ian Bailey pictured outside the Four Courts in Dublin

A former journalist who claims he was wrongly made a suspect in the murder of a French film maker has admitted beating his partner three times.

Ian Bailey is suing the Irish state after twice being questioned over the killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

The 39-year-old producer was found by two neighbours beaten to death on a hillside outside her holiday home in a remote part of west Cork in 1996.

Mr Bailey denies any involvement in the death and was never charged.

Under cross-examination in the High Court in Dublin, the 57-year-old was forced to recount his history of violence and a litany of injuries his partner Jules Thomas suffered at his hands.

Assault

Admitting he had been "seriously violent" towards his Welsh-born artist girlfriend three times, Mr Bailey said they separated for several months in mid-1996 after she sought a protection order against him.

"It's common knowledge, to my eternal shame, that in the past when I used to drink spirits, that to my eternal shame, that I was involved in incidents of domestic violence with Ms Thomas," Mr Bailey said.

"I don't know what I can say about that other than to say it's to my eternal shame."

In the most recent beating, in August 2001, the court heard Mr Bailey hit Ms Thomas across the face, body and limbs with a crutch after she woke him from a nap on a sofa in their home near Schull, west Cork.

Mr Bailey pleaded guilty to an assault charge and was given a suspended sentence.

In an earlier incident, Mr Bailey told the court, he pulled out a 4cm clump of Ms Thomas' hair, left her with a closed black eye, in need of stitches inside her mouth and bruising to the face and head, hands and arms after a row broke out in her car as she drove them home from a west Cork pub.

Ms Thomas was kept in hospital in Cork city for one night after the attack and the couple separated and got back together before Christmas.

Lashed out

Mr Bailey told the court Ms Thomas grabbed him when they were in her car after a night socialising and drinking. He reacted by pushing her away before attacking her.

He was shown four photos of injuries to Ms Thomas but refused to detail them to the jury.

Pressed on the injuries by senior counsel for the state, Mr Bailey agreed Ms Thomas was shown with a closed, blackened right eye, bandaged and badly bruised arms.

The couple have been side by side since the case started over a week ago.

In the earliest violent attack, in 1993, the court heard Mr Bailey attacked Ms Thomas after waking from sleep with a nosebleed and lashing out.

Almost 20 years on from the killing of Ms Toscan du Plantier, Mr Bailey, originally from England and resident in County Cork for 23 years, is suing for wrongful arrest and the handling of the murder investigation.

The jury of eight men and four women has been told the state denies all claims.

Mr Bailey was arrested twice on suspicion of the murder of Ms Toscan du Plantier, first on 10 February 1997 and again on 20 January 1998.

He told the court he was "1000%" sure he had never met the film maker in the months before her death.

Related Topics

More on this story