Tuesday 16 July 2019

Murder accused Pat Quirke 'knew of existence of tank where body was found' - 'love rival' trial hears

Pat Quirke. Photo: Collins
Pat Quirke. Photo: Collins
Evidence: Mary Lowry at the Central Criminal Court yesterday.
Bobby Ryan
Mary Glasheen, leaving court after giving evidence in the trial of Patrick Quirke. Patrick Quirke PIC: Collins Courts
Jimmy Lowry, a brother-in-law of Mary Lowry, leaving court PIC: Collins Courts
Michelle, Mary and Robert Ryan, Daughter, former wife and son of Bobby Ryan, leave the CCJ Photo: Tony Gavin
Robert Ryan (L) and Michelle Ryan, daughter of Bobby Ryan PIC: Collins Courts

Nicola Anderson and Eoin Reynolds

Murder accused Pat Quirke knew of the existence of the agricultural tank where the body of Bobby Ryan was found, two years after his disappearance, the court has heard.

Jimmy Lowry told the Central Criminal Court that he was the brother of the late Martin Lowry, who farmed at Fawnagowan, Co Tipperary.

Jimmy Lowry, a brother-in-law of Mary Lowry, leaving court PIC: Collins Courts
Jimmy Lowry, a brother-in-law of Mary Lowry, leaving court PIC: Collins Courts

He recalled how on the night of his daughter, Aoife's 18th birthday party, he heard that his sister-in-law Mary Lowry, Martin's widow, was involved in a new relationship.

He was happy for her, he said.

Pat Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 52 year old Bobby Ryan, a DJ known as Mr Moonlight, on a date between June 3 2011 and April 2013.

Mr Lowry said he was 12 or 13 when the tank where Bobby Ryan's body was located, was constructed. He recalled his father 'inside in the tank' building it out of six inch blocks, he said.

Mary Lowry
Mary Lowry

Asked how Pat Quirke and Martin had got on, Mr Lowry replied: "Quite well." They would share machinery or do things together on the farm.

Asked who knew of the existence of the tank, he said: "As far as I know, myself, my brother, Johnny and Pat."

Johnny Lowry told the court that he had also heard the news about his sister-in-law's new relationship with Bobby Ryan at the 18th birthday party of his niece Aoife.

"I was happy for her. I wished her well," he said of Mary, explaining that he had rung her. Asked how she had responded, he replied: "good."

Questioned about how he felt in light of the fact that she had previously been married to his brother who had passed away, Mr Lowry said: "Yes, I was happy that she had met someone."

Mr Lowry subsequently met Bobby Ryan and found him "grand," but said he had only been talking to him for a few minutes.

Bobby Ryan
Bobby Ryan

Asked if he had a happy childhood growing up, Mr Lowry replied "Very."

They all helped out with the farm work - which was dairy farming, pigs and sheep. Of all the brothers, Martin was the one who was the most into farming, he said.

Mr Lowry recalled an extension being built onto the milking parlour in the mid 1980s. He also recalled the run-off tank being constructed in the late 1970s. It facilitated the overflow coming in from the dairy - which he explained would be 'washing up from the machine and washing the yard.'

The area around it was 'a little orchard,' Mr Lowry said.

Asked how his late brother, Martin, had got on with their brother-in-law Pat Quirke, Mr Lowry said "well", adding that they worked together and helped each other out.

Asked about the relationship between Mary Lowry and Pat Quirke after Martin's death, Mr Lowry said: "They seemed to be close. Closer than normal."

Asked if he was aware of anything going on, he replied: "No, but I had my suspicions."

Mary Glasheen told the court that she dated Bobby Ryan in 2008, they met at the Times Hotel and would go to dances there and at Pat Fox's in Cashel.

They went out for three months and remained friends afterwards.

When Mr Ryan met Mary Lowry she was happy for them. "They seemed happy," she said.

She told defence counsel Bernard Condon SC she had been in touch with Mr Ryan the day before he disappeared and texted him at about 10 o'clock that night. She didn't receive a reply and found this unusual.

 GLASHEEN 190420133.jpg
Mary Glasheen, leaving court after giving evidence in the trial of Patrick Quirke. Patrick Quirke PIC: Collins Courts

The court heard from Eileen Barlow, a friend of Mary Lowry's for some '26 or 27 years.'

She recalled a night out they had in the Times hotel in August 2010.

They had a Chinese and then Mary suggested they go to hear some music, explaining that Mary has a great love of music.

They were sitting at the bar listening to the music when a man approached and asked her to dance. She believed it was Bobby Ryan.

"I was so happy for Mary because I witnessed both Bobby and Mary dancing - Mary was so alive on the dance floor - I was glad to see that," she said, adding that her friend had been through "a very distressing stage" because her husband had passed away having had cancer.

Ms Barlow said she stayed having her drink. Mary and Bobby were 'in great form. They seem to have really connected,' she said.

"They were very, very happy and seemed buzzing after the dancing together."

She told the court she had spoken to Bobby Ryan that night, telling him that after what Mary had been through, she wanted to make sure she was in safe hands. She asked Bobby "if his intentions were good" and if he would look after Mary because she "needed a refuge."

Some months after that, she accompanied Mary to Foxes where Bobby was doing DJing.

"I wanted to do it because Mary had been through so much," she said.

Some time after that, she said she met them by the Glasshouse Hotel on St Patrick's Day 2011. They seemed "very very happy together."

"Mary seemed very joyous and Bobby as well. They seemed very happy," she said.

Meanwhile Mary Ryan, the former wife of Bobby Ryan told the court that she married Bobby in 1986 and they had two children, Michelle and Bobby. After many years, differences arose and they grew apart, she said.

YAN MURDER TRIAL 12.jpg
Michelle, Mary and Robert Ryan, Daughter, former wife and son of Bobby Ryan, leave the CCJ Photo: Tony Gavin

Eventually they separated. "It was a mutual decision we'd just grown apart, we were both doing different things," she explained.

"We were more like friends than husband and wife at that point," she said.

After they separated, they got on "fine", she said, adding that they were "friends."

"I'd call down to his house. We'd have tea and a chat."

She was aware of his relationship with Mary Lowry, saying: "I was happy for him, why wouldn't I be?

"I told him that I hope everything goes well for you. I had no problem with it."

There was no particular reason for their separation, she told the court.

Meanwhile Clare O'Grady, who lived locally and who travelled to work in Limerick every morning at 6.45am told the court how she saw a silver van parked into the side of the road near a marshy area. She had never met any vehicle on that road at that hour of the morning when leaving for work, she said, adding: "It's very early."

On learning of Bobby Ryan's disappearance and of the garda search for a silver van, she contacted them about the sighting.

The trial continues.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News