Sunday 25 August 2019

'Love rival' trial: Patrick Quirke's behaviour 'was no coincidence', jury is told

On trial: Patrick Quirke at court with his wife Imelda as the murder trial reaches its closing stages. Photo: Courtpix
On trial: Patrick Quirke at court with his wife Imelda as the murder trial reaches its closing stages. Photo: Courtpix
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

The jury in the Tipperary murder trial has been called upon to "use their common sense", relying on pathology, circumstance and the "most extraordinary circumstances" in which the body of Bobby Ryan was found "cocooned" in a run-off pit.

The prosecution has begun its closing speech, with Michael Bowman SC describing the case as "forensically barren", unable to identify the weapon, the location or even the time of Mr Ryan's death.

However, Mr Bowman said the jury would clear away the fog of innuendo and suggestion and arrive at a verdict.

"The human condition can only tolerate so much coincidence before we shake our head and say 'that is not coincidence - that is planned'," Mr Bowman said.

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.

The barrister told the jury that inferences are very important in this case, as they are operating in a "forensically barren landscape".

However, he asked it to bring its critical faculties to bear, since "the human condition can only tolerate so much coincidence before we shake our head and say 'that is not coincidence....that is planned'".

"I want to recalibrate the case," said Mr Bowman, telling the jury: "It may be we have lost somebody in this trial.

"It may be we have lost our focus in terms of what we are doing here."

He said this case is about a man "living a quiet and peaceful and content life in a small village, a man who loved his job, a man who loved music, a man who loved to dance, who loved his girlfriend and who very dearly loved his two children".

"It is about a man who loved life, about a man who was universally loved and liked," Mr Bowman said of Mr Ryan.

"This case is about the fact that Bobby Ryan's life was taken. Who would want to take the life of such a man? To strip him naked of his worldly possessions and his dignity and leave his body to decompose in a sealed chamber on a farm in Fawnagowan?"

Mr Bowman claimed that murder was not Patrick Quirke's "first port of call" in this case, and that he had made "several attempts to scuttle the fledgling relationship between Mary Lowry and Bobby Ryan".

Ms Lowry's world had 'almost come crashing down around her ears' when Mr Quirke went to the Social Services to say Mary had "lost the run of herself in this new relationship, she's neglecting emotionally her own children and something has to be done about this".

The prosecution counsel suggested this was "attempt two" to scuttle the relationship because Mr Quirke knew that Ms Lowry would protect her children at all costs.

"Bobby stands no chance if the HSE gets involved and she has to choose and Mr Quirke knows it," he said.

Mr Bowman told the court that Ms Lowry had bared her soul before the court, with every element of her private life and her most intimate details exposed.

He said she had done this not to extract revenge on Mr Quirke, but to get justice for Bobby Ryan.

He reminded the jury that the discovery of Mr Ryan's body at Fawnagowan was the "single event that drove the family from their home never to return".

Mr Bowman said the initial missing persons search may have been flawed, but said "someone took the time to make sure no forensic trace was left behind".

"Maybe it's the case that whoever did this planned it," he said.

"Maybe the person or persons responsible took the opportunity to plan and execute this in a way that would afford them the comfort and belief they had evaded justice and gotten away with murder."

He described Mr Quirke's finding of Mr Ryan's remains as something staged "from pillar to post".

And he suggested the operation to agitate slurry was problematic, because Mr Quirke "seemed to be well organised" and yet "here he is embarking on a two-man job on his own in his casual clothes with no water in his brand new tanker which he could fill at home or en route from the river which is what everybody else does", he said.

Regarding the computer searches for human decomposition carried out on the Quirke family computer, Mr Bowman said: "It's Mr Quirke sitting at that computer - logic screams it."

Mr Bowman described the evidence of artificial insemination technician Breda O'Dwyer as "clear as a bell", saying she put Mr Quirke in the milking parlour when she's leaving, "not to mind when she's arriving".

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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