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Murder accused Patrick Quirke told gardaí that ex-lover Mary Lowry was 'vicious' and 'verbally abusive'

Quirke has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan.

Quirke said that he was celebrating his wife's birthday on the weekend Ryan disappeared.
Quirke said that he was celebrating his wife's birthday on the weekend Ryan disappeared.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

MURDER ACCUSED PATRICK Quirke told gardai he was afraid of Mary Lowry and described his ex-lover as “vicious” and “verbally abusive”, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The farmer added that his only crime was having an affair with Lowry and now his name is “mud” in the town where he grew up.

Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ going by the name Moonlight.

Ryan went missing on 3 June, 2011 after leaving his girlfriend Mary Lowry’s home at about 6.30am.

His body was found in an underground run-off tank on the farm owned by Lowry and leased by the accused at Fawnagown, Tipperary 22 months later in April 2013.

The prosecution claims that Quirke murdered Ryan so he could rekindle an affair with Lowry (52).

Inspector David Buckley today told prosecution counsel David Humphries BL that on 16 May, 2013 the accused made a voluntary cautioned statement at Tipperary Garda Station in which he detailed his movements on the day Ryan disappeared and on the day, 22 months later, when Quirke said he discovered the body.

Detailing events leading up to the discovery of the body, the accused told gardai he tried to agitate slurry in a tank under one of the sheds on the farm at Fawnagowan where he kept dry cattle.

When he tried to agitate it he found it was too thick and required more water. Normally he would draw water from an open tank on the farm but he knew that was empty as he had already been using it.

He thought there was water in the tank by the old milking parlour because a leak in the mains some weeks earlier had spilled water into it for two days. So he went over with a suction tanker and used a shovel to prise open one of the two concrete slabs covering one end of the tank.

When he looked inside he was disappointed at the amount of water he saw but he pushed the hose from the vacuum tanker into it to draw what water he could.

The last time he had looked into the tank, he said, was in 2008 when a calf got its leg stuck between the concrete covers. Following that he closed the slabs together and put up fencing around it.

As the machine sucked he thought the hose was stuck to the ground so he moved the tractor a few feet back. When he looked into the tank again he saw what he thought was a carpet or a piece of plastic.

He moved the second cover to get a better look and knew he was looking at a body.

He said he sees the body every time he closes his eyes and described seeing what seemed like a naked body face down. He could see the ribs, pelvic area and what he thought was the private area. He “instinctively knew” it was Bobby Ryan’s body.

He called his wife Imelda, saying he was in shock and needed her with him. He said he knows what she is like in a crisis and added: “I knew she would know what to do.”

Lowry

Gardai asked why he did not alert Mary Lowry, whose land the tank is on. He said he didn’t think she was there and added that he was afraid what he might say.

He wasn’t “thinking straight or acting straight”, he said.

He was concerned that the body was naked and when gardai pressed him on that he said: “My first concern was that the man didn’t walk out of the house.”

He added;

I just didn’t want to meet her [Mary Lowry], I just wanted to meet one person [Imelda].

He had a theory in his head at the time, he said, about the body being naked but he later had a conversation with someone who told him that a professional would remove the clothes to destroy forensic evidence.

He was afraid of Mary Lowry, he said, adding: “The whole thing frightened me.” When asked why he was afraid of Lowry he said he is “always afraid of her. She is vicious.”

He said she had abused him the previous day when he met her on the farm.

“She let fly verbal abuse,” he said, after she was “caught snooping and didn’t like to be caught.”

He said he avoids her at all costs but said she was not violent, just verbally abusive. He accepted that he was probably verbal towards her as well.

Gardai asked him why he instinctively thought the body was that of Bobby Ryan and he replied: “Who else would it be?”

He said he didn’t believe Ryan had gone to Spain to start a new life and always thought something sinister had happened. Quirke said he is curious by nature and couldn’t go with the flow or accept what other people were saying.

He didn’t believe Ryan killed himself or hitched a lift to Rosslare and took a ferry to France. “People who commit suicide want to be found,” he told gardai.

Quirke case 97_90563271 Mary Lowry owned the land leased by the accused. Source: Sam Boal

Relationship with Ryan

When gardai asked him about his relationship with Bobby Ryan he said he didn’t know him well enough to like him.

They had nothing in common and so probably weren’t going to be friends. While he wasn’t happy with how his relationship with Mary Lowry ended, her being with Ryan didn’t bother him.

He further stated that following the affair his reputation was “mud”. He had spent his life in Tipperary and now his name was “destroyed”.

“I had an affair with this woman but this is my only crime,” he said, adding: “I hate to say that I need to clear my name but my name is mud.”

At the end of the interview he said prior to Ryan’s body being found he had nothing to support his theory that something sinister had happened other than that the alternatives didn’t add up.

Quirke also detailed his movements on the day Ryan disappeared. Inspector Buckley agreed that the accused told him it was his wife Imelda’s birthday that weekend and he had organised a trip to The Heritage Hotel in Laois.

She knew she was going away but the location was a surprise.

On the evening of 2 June, the night before Ryan’s disappearance, Quirke attended a shareholders meeting in Horse and Jockey regarding a property investment.

The following morning he got up at about 6.15am but he couldn’t be sure of the time as he doesn’t set an alarm and never checks the time.

He had a boy working for him who spent that morning milking cows at his dairy farm in Breanshamore.

Meanwhile, Quirke went to Fawnagowan to collect two bulls that he planned to leave with his cows over the weekend. He used a cow box and jeep to transport them.

“I wanted to get in and out fast,” he said.

When he arrived back at Breanshamore the cows were nearly all milked so he dropped off the bulls, finished milking the cows and went for breakfast at about 9.30am.

When Quirke went off with his wife for their weekend away he left his helper bringing in the silage on his own.

Quirke went into detail about milking times for his cows and how often his milk is collected every week.

The trial continues in front of Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of six men and six women.

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Eoin Reynolds

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