Wednesday 16 October 2019

The evidence so far: what witnesses have told the 'love rival' trial

Mary Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin

Michelle Ryan: Bobby Ryan's daughter told the court that her father was a "brilliant dad" who was passionate about music and dancing. She kept an eye on him after his marriage ended, the court heard.

She thought Mary Lowry was "OK" when she first met her in 2010. She told gardai that Ms Lowry watched her father like a hawk when they were out. She was aware that her father and Ms Lowry had a row when they were away dancing in Bundoran the weekend before he disappeared. She urged her father to "P45" her.

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Michelle Ryan. Photo: Collins Courts

Days later, on June 3, 2011, when he failed to show up for work at Kinlough Quarry or answer his phone, she reported her father missing. She said she had a "desperate feeling" her father's van would be in Kilshane Woods and urged Ms Lowry to drive there. The van was there, but not as he would have left it, she said. The seat was in an unusual position and it was in gear.

Robert Ryan Junior

Mr Ryan's son said he often stayed with Bobby Ryan, along with his partner, Leanne, and their baby. He told the court that his father's relationship with Mary Lowry was more serious than his previous ones. They often went dancing but she seemed very jealous, he said, and his father's phone would be "hopping" with text messages.

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Robert Ryan Junior. Photo: Collins

He began searching for his father on the morning he disappeared, when he established that he had not turned up for work at Kinlough Quarry. He called to Ms Lowry's house, where he said she was upset and crying and visibly "shaking". "He told the court that he "knew" something wasn't right. He said that Ms Lowry "mumbled" to him that they "didn't have a fight".

Leanne Hallissey

Robert Ryan Junior's partner was at Bobby Ryan's house the night before he disappeared. She told the court that Bobby Ryan was cooking dinner as text messages kept coming to his phone. He said he'd "better go across and see what's wrong with her" and left at about 9pm, she said.

Jimmy Lowry

The brother of Martin Lowry, Mary Lowry's late husband, testified that as far he knew, three people knew about the existence of the run-off tank where Bobby Ryan's body was found. Himself, his brother Johnny and Patrick Quirke. He also said he was happy for Mary Lowry when she met Bobby Ryan and "had his suspicions" about her relationship with Mr Quirke.

Mary Glasheen

A former girlfriend of Bobby Ryan, Mary Glasheen told the court that they remained friends and she was happy for him when he met Mary Lowry. He spoke to her the night before he disappeared to say he was calling over to Ms Lowry and he might drop into her.

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Mary Glasheen. PIC: Collins Courts

She texted him at 10pm but he didn't reply which she found "unusual". She told gardai that Ms Lowry made a "bitchy comment" about her laugh, the court heard. She also told gardai that she saw Mary Lowry at dances after Bobby disappeared. "She'd look at me but wouldn't salute."

Tommy Lowry

Mary Lowry's 21-year-old son was nine when his father died. He told the court that, as time went on, Patrick Quirke started coming to their home a lot more. He said he would blame the boys for things going missing. "I didn't like to spend time with him. I didn't like it one bit. It was just the way I was," he said. He said that Bobby Ryan was "funny", "always trying to crack a joke".

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Tommy Lowry. PIC: Collins Courts

After Mr Ryan disappeared, and "missing" posters went up around the area, it was "upsetting", he said. They "could not get a grip of what was going on", especially the younger children, he told the court.

Catherine Costello

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Catherine Costello. PIC: Collins Courts

A volunteer with Searching for the Missing, Ms Costello helped search for Bobby Ryan. She was the first person whom Mary Lowry told about her affair with Patrick Quirke. Ms Costello described how Ms Lowry was hysterical and crying as they sat in her car at a petrol station. Ms Costello said she told her to tell gardai, which she did.

Mary Lowry

The 52-year-old widow and mother of three boys was the first witness to testify in the trial of Patrick Quirke for the murder of Bobby Ryan. After her husband died, Patrick Quirke, who is married to her late husband's sister, took a lease on the farm and helped her out. She told the court they began a "seedy" affair in 2008. She felt ashamed and tried to end it. She said she was vulnerable. He was "controlling" and "manipulative". She ended it in 2010 and met Bobby Ryan, the DJ Mr Moonlight, who she said made her and her children happy.

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Mary Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mr Quirke did not take it well. On Thursday, June 2, 2011, Mr Ryan spent the night at her house. He left at 6.30am the following morning and disappeared. Ms Lowry testified that she saw Patrick Quirke in the yard around 8.30am that morning and that it was unusual to see him at that hour. Later that afternoon, she and Mr Ryan's daughter drove to Kilshane Wood where they found Mr Ryan's abandoned van. Bobby Ryan's daughter had a feeling that it was there, she said. Ms Lowry denied resuming her affair with Patrick Quirke after Mr Ryan disappeared. She said she went away with him to a Dublin hotel, after he pestered her but nothing happened.

She could not remember staying with him at the Cliff House hotel in Ardmore, Co Waterford, even though her bank account showed she had paid a bill there. Ms Lowry asked Mr Quirke to vacate the farm by July 2013 after he was captured on CCTV walking around the farm and looking in windows. The prosecution's case is that having murdered his "love rival", Mr Quirke staged the discovery of Mr Ryan's body on Ms Lowry's farm because the lease was coming to an end. Mr Quirke is pleading not guilty.

Sunday Independent

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