The former husband of Darlene Geertsema told a coronial inquest that she told him a man called John Shepherd beat her up in about 1972.
The inquest into the disappearance of Darlene is being conducted by Coroner Simon Cooper.
Ms Geertsema disappeared from a unit in Best Street in Devonport on October 23, 1978. Her car was found near the Devonport Bluff.
Mr Shepherd, of Westbury, is a person of interest in the inquest which began at the Launceston Magistrates Court on Monday. Siet Geertsema told the court that he had reunited with Darlene after a separation and was home with her about 11pm when there was a knock on the door.
He said he went to the door and a man asked if "so and so" still lived there and he then left .
"I found out later it was Shepherd," Mr Geertsema said. He said that Darlene told him Mr Shepherd had beaten her up. He said the beating was because Darlene told Mr Shepherd that she was getting back together with Mr Geertsema.
"She told me he had beaten her up and we turned over the mattress and there was blood all over it," he said.
Mr Geertsema said that almost immediately she said that she was still in love with Mr Shepherd.
Mr Geertsema said that he saw a relation in Westbury who told him that Darlene was unrecognisable because of a beating.
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Darlene's sister Dawn Bishop said her mother received a letter from Darlene shortly before she disappeared saying she was coming to South Australia to get away from Mr Shepherd.
Ms Bishop said she visited a Trevallyn home that Darlene shared with Mr Shepherd. "There was blood in the bedroom, blood on the bed and in the lounge room there was blood up the wall," she said.
She said she had also seen a nightdress with blood on it that "he had tried obviously to burn".
"She never had a clean car in her life, it was never clean, never," she said.
A younger sister Robyn Geertsema said Mr Shepherd once had a tug of war with Darlene over the youngest child Ryan Geertsema.
"If its the last thing I ever do it will be to get my son," she told the court he said. Darlene's daughter Elizabeth said getting his son back was all he [Mr Shepherd] cared about. The inquest heard that Darlene had packed bags and had tickets to fly to SA with her two youngest children Kathryn and Ryan on the night she disappeared.
During the day's hearing counsel appearing on behalf of the person of interest Greg Richardson mistakenly referred to Ms Wilson as the prosecutor rather than as counsel assisting the inquest. Mr Richardson said that after a career of appearing in the Supreme Court it was a slip of the tongue.
However, after the third slip-up Mr Cooper pointed out that it was the third time Mr Richardson had made the mistake.
Shortly after Mr Cooper mistakenly referred to Ms Wilson as Ms Cox [her maiden name].
Mr Richardson quickly pointed out "wrong title" to which Mr Cooper replied "fair point".
The inquest continues on Tuesday.
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