Wednesday 16 October 2019

'Mary last one to see him?' - note found in murder accused's home

'Love rival' trial told of a series of handwritten questions on case

Trial: Patrick Quirke with his wife Imelda arriving at court as the case continued. Photo: Mark Condren
Trial: Patrick Quirke with his wife Imelda arriving at court as the case continued. Photo: Mark Condren
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A handwritten note detailing a series of questions about the disappearance of Bobby Ryan was found in the home of Patrick Quirke, the Tipperary murder trial has heard.

The note speculated that the naked state of Bobby Ryan's body meant "he was either murdered and the clothes taken off or that he never left the house".

Garda John Walsh told the trial that in a search of Mr Quirke's house at Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, on May 17, 2013, items recovered included a computer, an external hard drive, a photocopier and two memory sticks, two mobile phones and a Vodafone phone bill.

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.

A handwritten note written on an A4 sheet of paper was also recovered and produced in court in a clear Garda evidence bag.

Gda Walsh read this aloud.

It was headed: "Mary last one to see him? Body naked, either murdered and clothes taken off or never left the house?"

He said the words "never left the house" were underlined.

The note continued: "How did she find his van so quickly? Why did she look for him in a place she knew he wouldn't have needed to go...

"Very strange...Token search? Why wouldn't she act on leads of travelling salesman?

"Why did she give varying accounts how long he was in the yard before he left for work - two minutes or 10 minutes?

"Why was she so adamant of no activity took place in yard, eg, second car?

"How would she hear? It wasn't always possible. Why did she rip down photos of Bobby after Ryan family put them up?"

The note ended: "Why was she relieved when 'Crimecall' was a rubbish programme and got no help to jog anyone's memory."

Gda Walsh said the document was found in the office of Mr Quirke's house but he could not recall whereabouts in the room.

Also retrieved in the search was a brown envelope containing documentation in relation to the lease of the property at Fawnagowan.

A pair of mud-stained green work overalls was also shown in court. Exhibits officer Kieran Keane confirmed during cross-examination that the overalls were forensically tested for blood and the results were negative.

He also confirmed that a trailer seized from Mr Quirke's yard was also tested and nothing of significance found.

Plumber Stephen O'Sullivan told the court that on May 22, 2013, he went to the farm at Fawnagowan when asked by gardaí to find out whether there was a spillage in the dairy that would cause water to find its way across the yard into the milking parlour and if it went into the pit.

Asked by David Humphries BL, for the prosecution, whether he could tell if there had been a leak in the milking parlour in March 2013, Mr O'Sullivan said he could not tell the exact date but said a leak would definitely have occurred "at some stage" because there were a lot of repairs carried out on the pipes.

Mr O'Sullivan said he ran the water to see if it would flow from the old dairy to the milking parlour and into the run-off tank. Some 40 minutes to an hour later, he saw it flow from a pipe into the run-off tank.

The jury heard that Mr Quirke told gardaí he was drawing water from the tank to mix with slurry when he found the body of Mr Ryan.

Under cross-examination, he said he was brought out because gardaí wanted to see whether he could verify Mr Quirke's statement about a leak. Lorcan Staines SC, for the defence, asked Mr O'Sullivan what he had told them.

"I said: 'You asked me to assess the situation and I actually said to him he told you the truth'," Mr O'Sullivan replied.

The court was told details about a booking for a twin room at the Cliff House hotel at Ardmore, Co Waterford, in September 2011.

Front of house manager Siobhán Phillips said hotel records showed the telephone booking was made for a 'gourmet package' on September 6 in the name of Mr Quirke with an email address for Mary Lowry.

Put to her by Bernard Condon SC, for the defence, that Ms Lowry's Laser card statement showed a payment for €416.20, Ms Phillips said she did not have access to that.

Meanwhile, Sgt Deborah Marsh, who headed the search at Fawnagowan, described how the run-off tank had been emptied of silt and liquid bucket by bucket and sieved for evidence, in a search that took three days.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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