Sunday 20 October 2019

'Love rival' trial: Garda 'can't recall' being told about hair clip, jury told

Trial hears item was in tank where body was found

Patrick Quirke denies murder. Photo: Collins Courts
Patrick Quirke denies murder. Photo: Collins Courts
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A garda tasked with cataloguing the exhibits found in the Bobby Ryan murder investigation has said he cannot remember whether he was told about a ladies' hair clip found in the run-off tank where the body was recovered.

Detective Garda Ciaran Keane told the trial that he was appointed as exhibits officer in 2011 following Mr Ryan's disappearance.

It was his responsibility to maintain the exhibits chart, and keep items in secure storage.

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

Det Gda Keane told Michael Bowman SC, for the prosecution, that his chart for this case referred initially to a bag containing cable ties and pipe covers that were recovered from the tank.

His contemporaneous notes did not contain a reference to a hair clip, he said.

Veterinary surgeon Ciaran O’Mahony. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Veterinary surgeon Ciaran O’Mahony. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Asked if anything changed over time in terms of the documents, Det Gda Keane agreed that as items were examined, the chart was updated.

Following an examination by a forensic scientist in January of this year, the chart was updated to include the ladies' tortoiseshell hair clip.

Put to him by Lorcan Staines SC, for the defence, that it was highly likely he had not been told that the bag contained a hair clip, Det Garda Keane said he could not recall.

Earlier, Garda Larry Stapleton had told the trial that he was certain that he had told his colleague about the woman's hair clip being found in the tank.

Gda Stapleton said he had placed a number of items from the tank in four separate tamper-­evident bags, before handing them to the exhibits officer in May 2013.

In his notes, he listed one bag as containing cable ties, buttons and a hair clip.

He told the trial that while he had not written the contents on the outside of the bag, a photograph had been taken of the contents.

Mr Staines said the exhibits officer had not written hair clip on the exhibits chart, and the photograph was not made available to the prosecution or the defence until November 2018.

Mr Staines asked the witness how he could be certain that he had told the exhibits officer in 2013 of its contents when he had not made a statement until five and a half years later.

Gda Stapleton said that he would have read from his notes at the time and was certain he would have mentioned the item.

Gda Stapleton said he would have told Gda Keane about the hair clip because that is what is in his notes from the time, adding: "I know from the way I wrote it that's what I told to Gda Keane."

Mr Staines said there was absolutely no suggestion that Gda Keane had done anything wrong in keeping the exhibits chart at any stage in the investigation.

Veterinary surgeon Ciaran O'Mahony, of Tipperary town, told the trial that Mr Quirke had been a client of the Glen Veterinary Clinic since he began to work there in 1998 and after he had bought the practice in 2007.

In 2010, bovine viral diarrhoea was diagnosed on Mr Quirke's farm.

The disease affects overall herd immunity, he told the court.

In subsequent tests, one animal tested positive and the tag number revealed that it had originally not come from Mr Quirke's herd.

Put to him later by Bernard Condon SC, for the defence, that he had presumed the cow had originated from Martin Lowry's herd, Dr O'Mahony replied that he "did not presume anything but the discussion was had".

Veterinary surgeon Kevin Lenihan told the trial that he was to call to Mr Quirke's farm on April 30, 2013 - the day Mr Ryan's body was discovered - to dehorn an animal but clarified that he had subsequently cancelled Mr Quirke's appointment as he was not in the area.

The trial continues before Judge Eileen Creedon.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News