Monday 16 September 2019

'Love rival' trial: Fingerprints found in Bobby Ryan's van did not match suspect, court hears

Patrick Quirke pictured leaving court with his wife, Imelda. Picture: Collins
Patrick Quirke pictured leaving court with his wife, Imelda. Picture: Collins
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A GARDA who took statements from the three Lowry children told the Tipperary murder trial that Mary Lowry was "unhappy and upset" rather than angry because she couldn't be present in the room during the interviews.

Garda Fiona Conneely, who is trained in taking statements from children said she was asked to attend Ms Lowry's house in Dundrum, Co Tipperary in mid July 2013 to take statements from the children who were aged 15, 11 and nine at the time.

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

When they arrived at the house, they explained the procedure to Mary Lowry who had previously been informed that she would be allowed to be present during the interview. However they explained that this was not best practice that a parent would be present and she was unhappy about that.

Mary Lowry outside court. Photo: Collins Courts
Mary Lowry outside court. Photo: Collins Courts

After they explained correct procedure, however, she gave her written consent, Garda Conneely said.

Under cross examination by Lorcan Staines SC for the Defence, she explained that they interview children by first trying to speak to them about sport and general conversation to try to build a rapport.

The gardaí had a conversation with the two younger Lowry children and nothing of value emerged so they did not proceed to interview level.

They did take a statement from Tommy, the older of the three children, she said.

Garda Fiona Conneely (L) and Garda Sharon Maloney (R) leaving court after giving evidence in the trial of Patrick Quirke. PIC: Collins Courts
Garda Fiona Conneely (L) and Garda Sharon Maloney (R) leaving court after giving evidence in the trial of Patrick Quirke. PIC: Collins Courts

Mr Staines asked Garda Conneely about Mary Lowry's reaction to being told that you could not be in the room and of the use of the garda's description of her as being "angry", in a report of the time.

Garda Conneely said that she would not describe her as being angry, adding: "I know I did say she was angry. In hindsight it was the wrong word to use. Upset would cover it," she said.

Asked why she had used the word "angry" if it was not right, she again said it was the wrong word to use.

"She was flustered, she was red in the face. She didn't express anger," said Garda Conneely, adding that she would describe anger as "shouting and roaring," and that was not Mary Lowry's reaction.

Garda Fiona Conneely, leaving court after giving evidence in the trial of Patrick Quirke PIC: Collins Courts
Garda Fiona Conneely, leaving court after giving evidence in the trial of Patrick Quirke PIC: Collins Courts

Mr Staines put it to her that she had now changed from saying in "an important report" that a person was angry and a number of years later, had come to court saying 'angry wasn't  fair.'

"Angry wasn't a fair description of Mary Lowry," Garda Conneely said.

"So why say it in the first place?" asked Mr Staines.

She said that had been the word she had used that day and 'to be fair, upset would have been a better word to use.'

Mr Staines asked when she knew she was coming to court to give evidence and she replied 'last Thursday.'

He asked her if media reporting of the evidence had 'consciously or subconsciously' fed into her view that angry was the wrong word.

She said no. Asked when she had decided it was unfair, she replied: "When I recalled my day" at Mary Lowry's house.

Asked again when she had decided it was unfair, she said: "Once you started asking me."

Mr Staines put it to the garda that she had not put Mary Lowry's reaction in her statement and that Mary Lowry was in the witness box for four days in January and it was not traversed because nobody was aware of it.

Meanwhile, Dt Gda Fiona McGuire told the court she had analysed finger marks found on a black diary and the driving licence retrieved from Bobby Ryan's van.

Dt Gda McGuire said a finger mark on the diary and from the driving licence did not match the suspect nor did it match records in the national data base.

Dt Garda Ernie Fraser said he had been given two finger mark lift files, taken from a bottle of aftershave from the inside door of the van and also from a panel from the rear driver's side door and had searched them against the national fingerprint data base and the result was negative. They also did not match the suspect Patrick Quirke, he said.

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