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Mary Lowry is a witness in the trial. Sam Boal/

'Love rival' trial: DNA expert found 'no evidence' of serious assault in Mary Lowry's home

Lowry’s home was the last place Bobby Ryan was seen alive.

A FORENSIC SCIENTIST found no evidence that a serious assault took place in Mary Lowry’s home, the last place where DJ Bobby Ryan was seen alive.

Scientists from Forensic Science Ireland examined areas where gardai reported positive results from blood tests in Ms Lowry’s bedroom and living room.

Further analyses using tests designed specifically for human blood showed that none of the areas identified were actually blood stains.

Dr Martina McBride said one sample on a light fitting and ceiling that gave a “presumptive positive” result for blood was probably fly faeces which can be mistaken for blood by equipment routinely used by gardai.

Chemical testing and DNA sampling showed no signs of human blood, she said.

One spot in the bedroom was positively identified as DNA but testing could not show if the source was blood. She said DNA can be found as a result of someone touching a surface, sneezing, coughing or spitting. All bodily fluids, she said, contain DNA.

McBride and Dr Hilary Clarke were giving evidence in the trial of Patrick 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 Lowry’s home at about 6.30am and his body was found in an underground run-off tank on the farm owned by Lowry and leased by the accused at Fawnagown, Tipperary in April 2013.

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

McBride told prosecuting counsel Michael Bowman SC that considering the injuries to Ryan she would expect to see large amounts of blood in the area where he had been assaulted.

She concluded that there were no signs in Lowry’s home of an assault where large amounts of blood were spilled.

She further noted that the house had been painted in the 22 months since Ryan’s disappearance. This was why, she said, she examined skirting boards where water containing traces of blood might seep down when a wall is cleaned.

She also examined ceilings because sometimes people don’t notice blood on the ceiling.

While she said she found no evidence of an assault, she said the absence of blood may not be significant because of the time that had passed and the fact the house had been painted since Ryan’s disappearance.

Under cross-examination the witness told Lorcan Staines SC for the defence that the nature of the assault, in which Ryan suffered multiple fractures to the head, would lead her to expect to find “a lot of blood”.

However, the passing of time and fact the house had been painted lowered that expectation. She added:

I went there with the expectation that it was worth looking for blood.

A small spot found beside a press in the bedroom did test positive for DNA, she told Mr Staines, but further testing was unable to show if the source was blood or any other bodily fluid and it was not possible to generate a profile that would have allowed them to identify who the DNA came from.

Eight out-buildings on the farm were not suitable for the standard blood tests, she told Staines, as there was a lot of matter that would have given false positives. It would have been like “looking for a needle in a haystack,” she said.

Hilary Clarke said she identified the body found in the tank by generating a DNA profile from a tooth.

She compared that with the DNA of Ryan’s children Michelle and Robert Jnr and said she was satisfied that the body was their father.

She examined various samples taken from Ryan’s van but found only low-level traces of DNA not suitable for further identification.

She also examined two lump hammers sent to the labs by investigating gardai and found male DNA on the handle of one of them. She was able to eliminate Bobby Ryan, Robert Ryan Jnr and Patrick Quirke as the source of that DNA.

She also looked at tubing, cable ties, a broken hair clip and other items found in the tank after Mr Ryan’s body had been removed.

She did not sample them for DNA as she said she would have no expectation of finding DNA on them.

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