Ian Bailey's eight-year libel action has ended unexpectedly in the High Court, after he suddenly withdrew all of his claims.

Mr Bailey was suing five Irish and British newspaper groups, alleging they had branded him a murderer.

However, he withdrew his claims this morning in a move described by the newspapers as a 'complete capitulation'.

Ian Bailey's solicitor, Frank Buttimer, described the striking-out of the case as a 'honourable compromise'.

So after eight years and two trials, Ian Bailey left the High Court in Cork this afternoon without winning any damages and with the central allegation made by the five newspaper groups still standing: that he was a reasonable suspect in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder.

Mr Bailey has always disputed this.

The newspapers re-stated their position that they never said he was the murderer.

They are contributing €70,000 towards Mr Bailey's costs and are waiving costs awarded to them in his failed Circuit Court action, but they will not pay damages to him.

The newspapers have now called for reform of the libel laws.