Tuesday 16 July 2019

'I didn't like spending time with accused Quirke,' Lowry son tells 'love rival' trial

Tommy Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin
Tommy Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

The son of murder trial witness Mary Lowry has told how he "did not like spending time" with accused man Patrick Quirke.

Tommy Lowry (21) recalled an occasion when Mr Quirke was "giving out" to his mother about a missing ladder on the farm. Ms Lowry had then asked him what he had done with her passport and Mr Quirke told her that he had "sold it".

The Central Criminal Court also heard how Mr Quirke knew of the agricultural tank where the body of Bobby Ryan was found, two years after his disappearance.

Patrick Quirke (50), of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan (52), a DJ known as Mr Moonlight, between June 3, 2011, and April 2013.

Tommy Lowry told the court he and his two younger brothers had been happy when their mother, Mary, had met Bobby Ryan.

"We got on well - Bobby was funny, he'd always try and crack a joke," he said. "There was no problems - we were all happy that mam was happy and Bobby was happy too."

The accused, Patrick Quirke, leaves with his wife Imelda. Photo: Tony Gavin
The accused, Patrick Quirke, leaves with his wife Imelda. Photo: Tony Gavin

He conceded his younger brother, Jack, had given Bobby a "hard time, slagging him about being bald", but said he was young at the time and "it was all fun and games".

When his father died of cancer in 2007, the farm had been leased to Patrick Quirke, he said.

Asked his perception of him, he said that in the beginning, he "went around doing his own business on the farm".

"As time went on, I felt that he came into the house a lot more and made himself at home," he said.

Bobby Ryan’s daughter Michelle and former wife Mary. Photo: Collins Courts
Bobby Ryan’s daughter Michelle and former wife Mary. Photo: Collins Courts

"I didn't feel like he belonged inside my house but he was there."

He recalled that Mr Quirke would give out about things going missing on the farm and would blame him or his brother Jack.

He told the court about going on holidays with him, saying: "I didn't like to spend time with him. I didn't like it one bit. It's just the way it was."

On one occasion he heard Mr Quirke asking his mother about a missing ladder. His mother replied by asking where her passport was and, the witness said, Mr Quirke responded by saying he had sold it.

Mary Lowry’s brothers in law Jimmy and Johnny. Photo: Collins Courts
Mary Lowry’s brothers in law Jimmy and Johnny. Photo: Collins Courts

Jimmy Lowry told the court he was the brother of the late Martin Lowry.

He recalled how on the night of his daughter Aoife's 18th birthday party he heard that his sister-in-law Mary Lowry, Martin's widow, was involved in a new relationship.

He was happy for her, he said.

Asked how Pat Quirke and his brother had got on, Mr Lowry replied: "Quite well." They would share machinery or do things together on the farm.

Asked who knew of the existence of the tank, he said: "As far as I know, myself, my brother, Johnny and Pat."

Mary Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin

Meanwhile, Johnny Lowry told the court he had also heard the news about his sister-in-law's new relationship at his niece's birthday party. "I was happy for her. I wished her well," he said of Mary, explaining that he had rung her. Asked how she had responded, he replied: "Good."

Asked how his late brother, Martin, had got on with Pat Quirke, Mr Lowry said "well", adding that they worked together and helped each other out.

Asked about the relationship between Ms Lowry and Pat Quirke after Martin's death, Mr Lowry said: "They seemed to be close. Closer than normal."

Asked if he was aware of anything going on, he replied: "No, but I had my suspicions."

Eileen Barlow, a friend of Mary Lowry's for some "26 or 27 years", recalled a night out the women had in the Times hotel in August 2010 when Bobby Ryan had asked Ms Lowry to dance.

"I was so happy for Mary because I witnessed both Bobby and Mary dancing - Mary was so alive on the dance floor - I was glad to see that," she said, adding that her friend had been through "a very distressing stage" because her husband had passed away.

Mary and Bobby were "in great form. They seem to have really connected", she said.

"They were very, very happy and seemed buzzing after the dancing together."

She told the court she had spoken to Bobby Ryan that night, telling him that after what Mary had been through, she wanted to make sure she was in safe hands. She asked Bobby "if his intentions were good" and if he would look after Mary because she "needed a refuge".

They met again on St Patrick's Day at Ballyglass hotel and Mary seemed "very joyous", she said, adding: "They seemed very happy."

Meanwhile Mary Ryan, Bobby Ryan's former wife, told the court they had grown apart after many years together and had eventually separated.

"We were more like friends than husband and wife at that point," she said.

She was aware of his relationship with Mary Lowry, saying: "I was happy for him, why wouldn't I be?"

The court also heard from Clare O'Grady, who lived locally and who travelled to work in Limerick every morning. She said that at 6.45am on the day Mr Ryan disappeared she saw a silver van parked into the side of the road near a marshy area. She had never met a vehicle on that road at that hour, she said.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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