Journalist Ian Bailey has accepted that he had a history of violence towards his partner Jules Thomas and that this could have been a relevant factor in his becoming a suspect for murder.

Mr Bailey, 57, from the Prairie, Schull, in west Cork, is suing the Garda Commissioner, Minister for Justice and the Attorney General for damages for wrongful arrest during the investigation of the murder of Ms Toscan Du Plantier.

The jury was told of two assaults on Ms Thomas in 1996 and again in 2001.

During cross examination, Mr Bailey was shown photographs of Ms Thomas after she had been assaulted by him in 1996.

He was asked to describe what he could see in the photographs and he said he was not going to do that, it was a shameful thing he had done, it was absolutely appalling.

He said to his "eternal shame in the past" when he used to drink spirits he had been involved in an incident of domestic violence with Ms Thomas.

"I don’t know what I can say about it other than it is to my eternal shame and the reasons for it have been long cured", he said.

The jury was told the photographs showed Ms Thomas with one of her eyes closed over, a bandage on her head and a substantial amount of hair pulled out from the back of her head.

Mr Bailey said he "knew this was going to happen and knew this was going to come out" as it did in the libel trials. He said he was advised by his lawyers not to raise the issue at the beginning of this case.

Mr Bailey also agreed there had been a third assault on Ms Thomas in 1993.

When questioned further he said he could not recall the details because it was a long time ago.

He said they were in bed and he struck her unintentionally due to being in close proximity to her in bed.

Asked by senior counsel Luan Ó Braonáin why he thought it would be a good idea not to tell the jury the truth he said he had raised the issue with his lawyers and was told it was not a good idea.

"Whatever my shortcomings and my absolutely disgraceful behaviour and until I die I will be ashamed of that but compared to what was done to me..." he said.

Mr Ó Braonáin said he was not asking about the assault but about how he wanted to portray himself to the jury.

He was then asked about the May 1996 assault after which Ms Thomas was brought to hospital by one of her daughters.

The court heard she had been struck on the head, face, hands and had her hair pulled out.

"This happened in a car when we were driving home and she grabbed me and I tried to push her away." Asked if he was ascribing some blame to Ms Thomas he said: "Well that is how it started."

He accepted his friends and others in the community would have become aware of this, along with gardaí.

He accepted that this could have been a relevant issue in terms of suspicion falling on him after the murder of Ms Toscan Du Plantier.

However, he did not believe this had ever been cited as such.

Asked if he was shunned in the community after the assault, he said he was not aware of it.

When pressed further he said he was not the only person in west Cork involved in domestic violence. "Unfortunately, it is commonplace," he said.

He was also asked about a subsequent assault on Ms Thomas in 2001 when he beat her with a crutch on her face, trunk, limbs and left cheek.

He said he had been asleep on the couch when he awoke and she told him to find somewhere else to sleep.

He said he was trying to exit the room when the assault occurred.

However he accepted he had pleaded guilty to assault and received a suspended sentence.

Bailey says he was never introduced to Toscan Du Plantier

Mr Bailey earlier denied ever being introduced to Ms Du Plantier.

It was put to him that a local man will say he introduced the two.

Mr Bailey said: "Absolutely not, it never, ever occurred".

He also said he found his way to the scene of the murder in 1996 because he had been given rough directions by a journalist and he also had local knowledge.

It was put to Mr Bailey that he had given inconsistent statements about his knowledge of the nationality of the victim.

He said he was told on the phone it was a foreign woman and she could have been French and it was later confirmed on the news that she was French.

Mr Ó Braonáin said it was significant in that his knowledge of the victim's nationality would have brought him towards the scene.

However, Mr Bailey said he met a local woman who confirmed there was garda activity in the area and he had already been given rough directions by a journalist.

He said he went to a boreen near the house but got 50 yards up when he met two gardaí who told them to contact the Garda Press Office for information.

Mr Bailey accepted that the combination of his history of violence, questions about when he suffered scratches on his arms and his differing accounts of his movements on 21 December 1996 gave rise to a suspicion about him.

However he did not accept it was a reasonable suspicion.

He accepted he had given an inaccurate account of where he was on the night of 21 December 1996 but said he later corrected this.

Questioned about articles he wrote about the murder including details about Ms Du Plantier having male companions, he said he had been told this by a neighbour, Alf Lyons.

He said journalists do not usually reveal sources but these were extraordinary circumstances.

He agreed that the contents of the article gave the impression that the finger of suspicion was pointing towards France and on male friends of the victim.

However he said he was not sure that he had written that part of the article despite it appearing under his byline.