Ian Bailey's libel trial has heard evidence that he confessed to a 14-year-old schoolboy that he killed the French woman, Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Malachi Reid said that Mr Bailey told him he 'bashed her brains in'.The court heard earlier that Mr Bailey rang a woman and told her about the murder of a French woman more than an hour before he says he heard about the incident for the first time.

The eight newspapers being sued by Mr Bailey began their defence today with a number of witnesses giving evidence which would appear to contradict Mr Bailey's version of events.

Eddie Cassidy, a journalist with the Irish Examiner, was the last witness called by Ian Bailey's legal team.

In 1996 he was West Cork correspondent for that paper and he recalled a two-minute phone call to Ian Bailey at 1.40pm on 23 December 1996, the day Ms Toscan du Plantier's body was discovered.

He said he told Mr Bailey he had heard the body of a female non-national had been found at Toormoor.

Eddie Cassidy was adamant that he was not aware at this stage that the woman had been murdered or that she was French: he thought she might have been killed in a hit-and-run and the first indication he got that this was a murder was when he arrived at the scene at around 4pm.

This would appear to contradict Ian Bailey's evidence in which he said he first heard about the murder of a French woman in that phone call from Eddie Cassidy.

The court later heard from Caroline Leftwick, a market gardener from Skibbereen. Ian Bailey says he rang her before midday on 23 December 1996.

Ms Leftwick said Mr Bailey told her there had been a murder in the locality - a French woman who was on holiday had been killed.

She also recalled Mr Bailey's partner Jules Thomas saying to her some weeks later that Sophie Toscan du Plantier's body ‘was in a terrible state; you should have seen it’. She said she got the impression that Ms Thomas had seen the body or photographs of it.

Ms Leftwick said Ian Bailey was known in the locality as a strange character. She had heard rumours about him howling at the moon at night and she had heard about his assaults on Ms Thomas.