Saturday 23 February 2019

'Love rival' trial: 'I have bared my soul. I have told everything in my life, some I'm ashamed of'

Witness recalls asking dead man's son in a 'secret' conversation if he'd searched lakes

Mary Lowry arrives at court for the trial of Pat Quirke. Picture: Collins
Mary Lowry arrives at court for the trial of Pat Quirke. Picture: Collins
Patrick Quirke Picture: Collins
Bobby Ryan. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A murder trial witness has told of a "secret" conversation on the day her partner disappeared in which she asked his son whether he had "searched the lakes" for his father.

Mary Lowry denied being "coy" about a visit she had from Robert Ryan, the son of Bobby Ryan, in her statements to gardaí.

Put to her under cross-­examination that she had said to Mr Ryan Jnr "I don't know where he is, we didn't have a fight," Ms Lowry replied that she could not remember.

It was her third day on the stand at the Central Criminal Court in the trial of Pat Quirke (50), of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 52-year-old Mr Ryan, a DJ known as Mr Moonlight, on a date between June 3, 2011 and April 2013.

Ms Lowry denied attempting to mislead the jury at times, saying: "I think the jury knows I'm telling the truth.

"I have bared my soul in my statement, my absolute soul.

"I have told everything in my whole life.

"Some of it I am ashamed of, but I have put everything in to try solve this case."

Asked by defence lawyer Bernard Condon whether, for "a bit of colour", she had inserted a claim that Mr Ryan had taken a long time to get dressed that morning, Ms Lowry said she was "sticking to the facts".

"This is a murder trial," she added. "It's pretty serious, and what I'm saying is the truth, the whole truth. I want justice for Bobby Ryan."

Ms Lowry was then reprimanded by Mr Condon, who told her to "conduct herself as she would expect a witness should".

Later, Mr Condon put it to Ms Lowry that she kept referring to her relationship with Mr Quirke as "the sordid affair, the seedy affair".

He asked her whether this was "directed to the local papers."

Ms Lowry denied this, saying it was directed at herself because she felt ashamed of it.

Mr Condon put it to her that it was "her theme" to do everything she could to present herself in the best possible light and claimed she was attempting to "rehabilitate her reputation in the local papers".

"I don't agree," replied Ms Lowry. "I have nothing to do with the local papers.

"I just want my reputation to be as it is. I am a kind person."

Mr Condon accused her of wanting to "rewrite history".

Ms Lowry answered: "I want to solve this murder mystery the best I can."

Under cross-examination, Mr Condon put it to her that she had not revealed the details of a conversation with Mr Ryan's son, Robert, on the day of his disappearance.

Ms Lowry said that she "wanted to keep Bobby's dignity" as much as she could.

"I felt it was a secret, really," she said.

"Bobby had told me when his marriage finished, things were pretty bad for him.

"He suffered from depression and had considered ending his life and throwing himself in a lake," she said.

"So I said to Robert when he came, had he searched lakes and things like that."

Asked whether she had been shaking during this conversation, Ms Lowry said she could not remember but that she was very worried and it was "a very traumatic time".

Mr Condon asked whether Robert Ryan had accused her of telling lies. Ms Lowry said she could not recall.

Earlier, she had told the court how she met with Mr Ryan's daughter, Michelle, on the day of his disappearance.

Ms Lowry said she went looking for Michelle Ryan after she told her that her father was missing and found her near the house of Mary Glasheen, a friend of Bobby's, in Tipperary town.

She continued that Michelle got into Ms Lowry's car while Michelle's aunt and uncle followed in their car behind.

Ms Lowry said she was driving to her own house but was "so alarmed" she forgot to drive into her own driveway and continued on towards Kilshane Wood.

Michelle kept saying: "I think my dad is in a wood somewhere," Ms Lowry claimed.

"I suppose, subconsciously, I thought of a wood and kept driving," she added.

Ms Lowry and Michelle drove around for a time and found Mr Ryan's car at Kilshane Woods, about 5km from Ms Lowry's home

Ms Lowry explained to the court that Mr Ryan's disappearance had come as a bolt from the blue to her.

She said he had left her house at 6.30am, and all of a sudden, he was missing.

"I was alarmed and frightened and 'Oh my God'," she said.

"I thought my bad luck had finished, but it seemed to be starting, really."

Ms Lowry denied a suggestion that there had been a difficulty between her second son, Jack, and Bobby Ryan.

Mr Condon said that Mary Glasheen told gardaí that Bobby had "made a run for the child because he was giving guff".

Ms Lowry said that didn't happen, adding: "My children loved Bobby. He was fun-­loving, happy-go-lucky and just a lovely man, and my children loved him."

Later, she said her children loved her "to bits" and were delighted to have her in a loving relationship after coming out of a "seedy affair".

Mr Condon said that by not telling the jury there were difficulties, she had failed to tell "the whole truth".

Mr Condon pointed to "differences" in the account she had given of a disagreement she had had with Mr Ryan on a trip to Bundoran the weekend before his disappearance.

Ms Lowry had told the court the argument happened because he had spent time talking to another woman.

Mr Condon said she had told gardaí she was "raging" because he had danced with another woman.

The lawyer asked Ms Lowry whether she had tried to "pull them apart". Ms Lowry said she had not.

Asked whether she recalled Mr Ryan having to apologise to people, Ms Lowry again answered: "No."

Later, Mr Condon asked Ms Lowry whether she was aware Bobby Ryan had had a relationship with his friend, Mary Glasheen.

Ms Lowry said she did not know and Mr Ryan had not told her.

Mr Condon then put it to her that Mr Ryan had spent a night with Ms Glasheen when she and Mr Ryan were together and asked whether it had not come up. "No, it did not," said Ms Lowry.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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