Killer Patrick Quirke runs dairy farm from jail cell

Model inmate: Patrick Quirke has settled into prison life well. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Model inmate: Patrick Quirke has settled into prison life well. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Ralph Riegel

Killer Patrick Quirke has spent most of his time in prison outlining how his Tipperary dairy farm should be run in his absence.

Quirke, who was handed a life sentence for the murder of Tipperary quarry worker and part-time DJ Bobby Ryan (52), has adjusted well to prison life in his 12 days behind bars.

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The farmer (50), whose inmate number if 107243, is currently housed on Landing C1 in Mountjoy.

However, he is expected to be transferred to the Midlands Prison in Laois as soon as space is available, for family visitation reasons.

A prison source revealed that Quirke has been a model inmate since he arrived at the Dublin jail on May 1.

Yet despite immediately signalling his intention to appeal his murder conviction by the Central Criminal Court jury, the majority of Quirke's time has been dominated by concerns over his Tipperary dairy operation rather than his legal challenge.

Gardai at Fawnagowan when Bobby Ryan’s body was discovered in 2013. Picture: Picture Liam Burke/Press 22
Gardai at Fawnagowan when Bobby Ryan’s body was discovered in 2013. Picture: Picture Liam Burke/Press 22

"Farming and his family seems to be his primary worry," one prison source said.

"He has been a model inmate, he keeps to himself and seems mostly concerned about his family and what will happen with his farm."

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He has worked out detailed instructions on farm operations for his family, including lists of what needs to be done on the dairy holding.

Quirke has been visited in Mountjoy by his wife, Imelda, who loyally stood by his side throughout the 15-week trial.

His Breanshamore farm was described as a model dairy operation and one of the most progressive in Tipperary.

Quirke ranked as one of the top young dairy farmers in Tipperary in the 1990s and 2000s.

On the death of his brother-in-law, Martin Lowry, he also took over the operation of his Fawnagown farm on a lease basis.

Mr Ryan, also known by his DJ moniker 'Mr Moonlight', was murdered and his body dumped in a run-off pit on the Fawnagown farm. His body was only found almost two years after his disappearance.

The Central Criminal Court jury convicted Quirke of murder on a 10-2 majority verdict.

Quirke had an affair with Mary Lowry, who was the widow of his wife's brother, but was envious of Ms Lowry's budding relationship with Mr Ryan. He was also worried about losing control of the Lowry farm, which he had operated since 2008-2009.

Ms Lowry ended the affair with Quirke, describing their relationship as "seedy".

Quirke admitted he was hurt by the manner in which the affair ended.

His murder trial, which began in January, now ranks as the longest running in the history of the State.

It also emerged during legal argument in Quirke's trial that he had displayed an interest in previous high-profile Irish murder cases through detailed internet searches.

He had also researched rates of decomposition of human bodies and Garda forensic and DNA sampling techniques.

The jury was not told that Quirke had visited an internet blog with the title 'Why Joe O'Reilly thought he had committed the perfect murder', which was about the notorious killing of Rachel O'Reilly by her husband in October 2004.

Quirke also researched articles on Síobhan Kearney, murdered by husband Brian in February 2006, and Jo Jo Dullard, who went missing in 1995 and whose killer has never been found.

Irish Independent