Monday 16 September 2019

'Love rival' trial: Mary Lowry's evidence 'a piece of devious, devious poison', defence barrister claims

Mary Lowry is 'prepared not to tell the truth when it suits her' -

Mary Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin
A slurry tank is drained at Mary Lowry s farm outside Tipperary town.
Bobby Ryan
Patrick Quirke has pleaded not guilty to the murder of part-time DJ Bobby Ryan
On trial: Patrick Quirke at court with his wife Imelda as the murder trial reaches its closing stages. Photo: Courtpix
Mary Lowry
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A portion of Mary Lowry’s evidence against accused Patrick Quirke has been described as “devious, devious poison” by a defence barrister at the Tipperary murder trial.

Bernard Condon SC claimed Ms Lowry changed her account of seeing Mr Quirke on the morning his love rival Bobby Ryan went missing, casting him in suspicious light.

Mr Quirke (50), of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, 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.

Continuing his closing argument to the jury, Mr Condon said a portion of her evidence as “very worrying”.

Bobby Ryan
Bobby Ryan

Mr Ryan had stayed the night of June 2, 2011 with Ms Lowry, his girlfriend, but left before she got up to take her children to school. He was missing until his body was discovered in an underground tank on her farm almost two years later.

Mr Condon said that in a statement given six days after his disappearance, Ms Lowry said she saw Mr Quirke, who was leasing the farm, at work in the farmyard around 8.30am.

At the time she said she believed he was doing some work early in the day as he was heading away with his family for the weekend.

The barrister said that after the body was found, Ms Lowry “introduced” a new detail into her account, that Mr Quirke was “hot, sweaty and bothered looking” when she saw him that morning.

Mr Condon said that in court, Ms Lowry said there was something odd about Mr Quirke being there at 8.30am.

“This was a piece of the most devious, devious poison that has been delivered across the face of the Central Criminal Court for many a year.”

Patrick Quirke has pleaded not guilty to the murder of part-time DJ Bobby Ryan
Patrick Quirke has pleaded not guilty to the murder of part-time DJ Bobby Ryan

The defence barrister spent much of Monday, the second day of his closing statement, discussing the merits of Ms Lowry’s evidence.

He claimed Ms Lowry’s was manipulative and that her evidence about Patrick Quirke contained lies and should not be believed.

Ms Lowry was “a person prepared not to tell the truth when it suits her”, the barrister said.

He claimed she was “able to bald faced sit here and say black is white”.

He also said Ms Lowry had engaged in “revisionism” and there was “a very significant worry she presented her evidence in a way that was manipulative”.

Mr Condon also attacked the prosecution case against his client, saying it was “a forensically barren wasteland”.

He told the jury is should not look at the quantity of the evidence, but the quality of it, and that a lot of the inferences they were being asked to draw had nothing to do with the murder.

The defence barrister said there was uncertainty over the events of June 2 and 3, 2011.

“When you have uncertainty over those events, then you have a difficulty,” he told the jury.

The trial has heard Mr Quirke leased Ms Lowry's 60-acre farm at Fawnagowan, Co Tipperary and had an affair with Ms Lowry, which she described as “sordid” and “sleazy”.

However, she was in a relationship with Mr Ryan when he disappeared in June 2011.

Mr Condon highlighted a number of aspects of Ms Lowry’s evidence where he said she was “prepared to revise history”.

He said it was suggested Mr Quirke was not a good friend of Ms Lowry’s late husband Martin Lowry. Mr Condon said all of the evidence would not support that.

He also focused on her evidence about a night away she and Mr Ryan spent in Bundoran, Co Donegal just days before his disappearance.

The trial heard she was annoyed when she found Mr Ryan dancing with another woman and that she “gave out” to him for five hours on the journey home.

Mr Condon said that in fact what happened was that they broke up on the journey home.

The trial heard they reconciled two day later.

Mr Condon said Ms Lowry subsequently told gardaí Mr Ryan was dancing with a woman in Bundoran he met the night before.

But when she was quizzed in the witness box, she said this was a woman Mr Ryan had known years before and they were just catching up on old times.

Mr Condon also said Ms Lowry had invented a claim she asked Mr Ryan if it was okay for her to dance with another man on the same weekend away.

Mr Condon said the jury had to be careful about placing undue weight on Ms Lowry’s evidence.

He said that while the visit to Bundoran was not of consequence to the case, what was of consequence for the jury was whether it could take her evidence as “gold standard” and “something I can take to the bank”.

Mr Condon said Ms Lowry had told gardaí “very negative things” about Mr Quirke.

He said the jury had to look at the person who this evidence was coming from and see what they said in other areas where, perhaps, the stakes weren’t so high.

“Can you accept the evidence of this person beyond reasonable doubt,” he asked the jury.

He described her evidence on the Bundoran visit as “a worrying sign”.

“It is a red flag or a red light,” he said.

Mr Condon said “raging and fuming” by Ms Lowry over what happened in Bundoran had been played down by her in her evidence.

He said she was “a person who is prepared not to tell the truth when it suits her”.

The barrister said there was “an unreliability about Ms Lowry and the gardaí have attached themselves to her”.

The jury was also told it was being asked to accept that Mr Quirke assaulted Ms Lowry in her kitchen either at the end of 2010 or in early 2011.

But scant detail was given of the alleged incident, Mr Condon said.

“If you make that sort of allegation, it behoves you to provide some sort of detail,” he said.

Mr Condon also raised Ms Lowry’s evidence about a supposed trip with Mr Quirke to the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co Waterford in September 2011, a few months after Mr Ryan’s disappearance.

The barrister said even though a credit card statement suggested she was there, Ms Lowry had issued “a whole series of can’t remembers” in the witness box.

He said this was “a very strange presentation” and that the jury should favour Mr Quirke’s account that they did go away together.

In her evidence, Ms Lowry said her relationship with Mr Quirke became a sexual one in January 2008. She claimed he “crossed the line”, that she found him “overpowering” and that she was “very vulnerable at the time”.

But Mr Condon told the jury a suggestion by gardaí that Mr Quirke wanted sex and money on demand was not true.

“There is no suggestion of demands for sex,” he said.

“This was a consensual adult relationship.”

The barrister also warned the jury to be careful when it came to talk of Mr Quirke having depression.

He said that although this had been mentioned by Ms Lowry and in a letter allegedly written by Mr Quirke to an agony aunt, a doctor had found the accused did not have a proper depression at all.

“He was not diagnosed with depression and he was not referred to a psychiatrist,” said Mr Condon.

The barrister said someone might make the leap of thinking a depressed person might well kill somebody.

“I caution you, I ask you with the greatest of earnestness I can summon, not to make that leap,” he said.

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