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Patrick Quirke murder trial hears about hair clip taken from farm tank where Bobby Ryan's body was found

Ryan was found almost two years after going missing.

Quirke has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ryan.
Quirke has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ryan.
Image: Sam Boal

A GARDA OFFICER in charge of exhibits in the Patrick Quirke trial said he does not remember being told about a lady’s hair clip taken from the tank where DJ Bobby “Mr Moonlight” Ryan’s body was found.

Detective Garda Kieran Keane was giving evidence in the trial of Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ going by the name Mr 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 Ms Lowry.

Detective Garda Keane told prosecuting counsel Michael Bowman SC that he was appointed as exhibits officer in 2011 following Ryan’s disappearance.

It is his job to secure all exhibits, he said, and he tracks them using an exhibits chart.

Item 33 on this chart referred initially to a bag containing cable ties and pipe covers recovered from the tank and handed to the exhibits officer by Garda Larry Stapleton.

Following an examination by a forensic scientist in January of this year the chart was updated to state that the bag also included a hair clip.

Lorcan Staines SC for the defence asked Keane and Stapleton about the broken, tortoise-shell, lady’s hair clip.

Stapleton told counsel that he bagged the hair clip along with other items taken from the tank and handed the bag to Keane.

He said he did not write on the bag what was contained within it as this was not his practice and there was no space on the bag for that purpose.

The witness also said that photos were taken of everything that was taken from the tank, including the hair clip.

Staines said those photos were not made available to the defence until November 2018, more than five years later and at a time when Quirke was awaiting trial. The witness said he couldn’t answer for that.

He further told Staines that he told the exhibits officer what was in the bag but agreed with Staines that Detective Garda Keane did not include the hair clip on the original chart.

Staines suggested it would be “highly unlikely” that Keane, who was doing his best to be accurate, would have failed to note the hair clip if he was told of it.

Staines further put it to the witness that he did not make a statement about this until five-and-a-half years after the fact and questioned how he could be so sure of what he told Keane.

Stapleton said he would have told Keane about the hair clip because that is what is in his notes from the time. He added: “I know from the way I wrote it that’s what I told to Garda Keane.”

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The trial also heard from veterinary surgeon Kieran O’Mahony who said that he tested Quirke’s herd in 2010 and found evidence of BVD infection.

Another vet, Kevin Lenihan, said he was due to call to the Quirke farm at Fawnagowan to dehorn an animal on the morning Ryan’s body was found but he, Lenihan, cancelled the appointment.

Justice Eileen Creedon told the jury of six men and six women that the trial will run beyond the originally predicted eight weeks and they may be required until March 22, two weeks more than originally anticipated.

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Eoin Reynolds

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