Monday 25 March 2019

'Love rival' trial: Remains of Bobby Ryan showed evidence of multiple injuries, court hears

  • Body removed from tank as pathologist 'indicated he was not willing to travel' to scene
  • Superintendent said that they did not rush into a decision
  • Bobby Ryan could have died from accident, traffic collision or serious assault, court hears
Patrick Quirke has denied the murder of DJ Bobby Ryan. Photo: Collins Courts
Patrick Quirke has denied the murder of DJ Bobby Ryan. Photo: Collins Courts
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A DECISION was made to remove a body from a farm tank because the pathologist indicated to gardaí that he was not willing to travel to the scene, the 'love rival' trial has heard.

Superintendent Patrick O'Callaghan told the trial that they did not rush into a decision to take the body of Bobby Ryan from a run-off tank at the farm at Fawnagowan, Co Tipperary.

Patrick Quirke and his wife Imelda. Photo: Collins Courts
Patrick Quirke and his wife Imelda. Photo: Collins Courts

However then deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabber indicated to gardaí that he was not willing to travel to the scene.

"That's why the decision made to remove the body," said Super O'Callaghan.

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

Under cross-examination by Lorcan Staines SC for the Defence, he said they had contacted the pathologist and also the Forensic Bureau in Dublin and discussed their course of action.

Later, a decision was made to take the lid off the tank in order to bring the body out of the tank in 'the best possible condition.'

He told the trial that when the body was taken out and laid on plastic sheeting on the ground, he realised that one of the arms had become detached from the body.

He was not sure if this had happened in the tank or in the process of removal.

Asked by Mr Staines if he was satisfied that he would do things the same way again, Super O'Callaghan said he would.

Everything at the scene had been discussed and there had been no rush, he said.

The body had been found at 1.30pm and was taken out "well after 6 o'clock," he said. "It wasn't as if we rushed into the recovery of the body - we didn't. We took the best options open to us at the time."

Asked about the discovery of the ladies' hair clip in the tank, Super O'Callaghan agreed that it had been amongst a number of items recovered from the tank, including buttons and 'a number of bits and pieces.'

"I didn't take any measure or heed to it, to be honest with you," he said.

None of the 'bits and pieces' were of any 'major interest,' he said, adding that he did not think he had a reference to a hairclip anywhere in his notes.

All four of the Lowry sisters had grown up on the farm, he told the trial, saying "the clip could have washed in there from the milking parlour" or the Lowry family "could have been using the tank for rubbish over the years."

A photograph of the milking parlour was up on the screen in the court, zooming in on the gully where the water had collected. Mr Staines put it to the garda that it was a normal sized gully.

Asking about the breaking of the concrete lid of the tank at the scene, Mr Staines put it to Super O'Callaghan that in over 1,000 pages of the book of Evidence, there had been no mention of the lid cracking.

The garda said photographs had been supplied to the DPP office and were available in court..

"There's nobody hiding the fact that the lid broke," he said, adding: "It's there for everybody to see."

Put to him that it had been 'one of the most significant events of the day,' Super O'Callaghan replied: "The most significant event of the day was the body being found at Fawnagowan, not the lid being broken."

Asked if there was not surprise and shock that the lid had broken he said, "To me it wasn't because I didn't note it. It wasn't a stand up moment of shock and horror. You just got on with it," he said. "Let's keep going here. That's the way you do your business. We had a job in hand to get the body out of the tank in the best possible condition. That was the job in hand."

Superintendent O'Callaghan was asked about a conversation he had with Dr Jabbar the following day, May 1 2013, when the post mortem was conducted. Dr Jabbar found multiple injuries that could have resulted from "an accident, traffic collision or serious assault."

Mr  Staines put it to him that he had given certain instructions to other garda members and told them that as far as he was concerned, the body was found naked and possibly, therefore, died in the house and that the house should be examined properly to assess for any blood spatter.

They also agreed to keep an eye out for vehicles, given the findings of the post mortem.

Put to him that the house had been decorated between 2011 and 2013, Superintendent O'Callaghan said he had no real recollection of this being discussed and said he could not stand over whether Mary Lowry's house had been redecorated during this time or not.

He was also asked about a mention in his notes of Mary Lowry's son, Tommy, with a note that it was 'unusual she putting Tommy out of house' and to 'interview Tommy Lowry ASAP.'

Superintendent O'Callaghan said they were aware that Tommy Lowry was not present in the house on the night of June 2 2011, saying that it would have triggered an inquiry to 'bottom out' the fact of whether Tommy was out of the house that night.

"It would've been Mary saying 'Tommy wasn't here'," he explained.

Michael Staines put it to Super O'Callaghan that he took it that gardaí had made an effort to secure Dr Jabbar's attendance at the trial and asked: "Is it correct to say he is refusing to attend?"

"I don't know is he refusing to attend," he replied, saying he did not know what the present position was but thought he might not be available.

He also said he was aware that a peer review by pathologists, Professor Marie Cassidy, Michael Curtis and Linda Mulligan had been sought of Dr Jabbar's findings.

The witness is giving evidence in the trial of Mr Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary who has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ going by the name Mr Moonlight.

Mr Ryan went missing on June 3, 2011 after leaving his girlfriend Mary Lowry's home at about 6.30am and his body was found in an underground run-off tank on the farm owned by Ms Lowry and leased by the accused at Fawnagown, Tipperary in April 2013. The prosecution claims that Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle an affair with Ms Lowry (52).

The case continues

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