Monday 14 October 2019

'Love rival' trial: 'You were using Mary in every way' - Garda interview with Patrick Quirke

Farmer Pat Quirke, who is on trial for murder, leaving court with his wife Imelda in Dublin last week. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Farmer Pat Quirke, who is on trial for murder, leaving court with his wife Imelda in Dublin last week. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Mary Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin
Murder victim Bobby Ryan
Pat Quirke. Photo: Collins
GRIM DISCOVERY: Bobby Ryan’s body was found in April 2013
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Nine months after Patrick Quirke found Bobby Ryan's body in a run-off tank on Mary Lowry's farm, he was arrested on suspicion of harassing her. In an interview at Tipperary garda station, two detectives accused him of trying to control a vulnerable widow - claims he repeatedly denied.

He was 45 years old, he told gardai, a dairy farmer married to Imelda with two children. He owned 50 acres, leased 110 acres and owned 120 cattle. He walked a bit and played tennis, had an interest in property investments in Poland and liked to trade the stock market.

"Would you agree with me that money matters do not frighten you?" he was asked.

"It would be part of my business," he said.

The detectives asked him about Ms Lowry's late husband Martin's investments, which Mr Quirke said he "managed" for the widow - shares, CFDs, or contracts for difference, and property worth about €200,000.

Did he profit from these investments, Detective Garda David Buckley asked.

"No," he replied.

Was he ever paid money from these investments?

"No, and I didn't ask for it."

Wasn't it the case that he was to receive 50pc of the profits?

That was "a separate arrangement", Mr Quirke said.

He said Ms Lowry gave him €80,000 to invest in contracts for difference. He would manage the investment and they agreed to a 50/50 split on the profits. They made €40,000 in 18 months, he said.

"You were in a win-win situation," the detective said. Ms Lowry had put up the money and he "was not going to lose".

"But I had to manage it," said Mr Quirke.

The detective asked what he used the money for.

"Nothing, I just put it into my farm account," he said. He later added that he bought a jeep.

"Anything else?" the detective asked. A cattle trailer, he said.

"Pat, I have to say this is another example of you having control over a vulnerable woman."

"I cannot accept that," he replied.

He was asked about the Single Farm Payment - an agricultural subsidy paid to farmers in the EU. He said he leased it from Ms Lowry, along with her land for €12,600. The subsidy was worth €11,000.

"So the lease of Fawnagowan is costing you €1,600?" asked Detective Garda Martin Steed.

"OK, if you want to use those figures."

"So you get the 60 acres off Mary for €1,600?"

"Yes, it was beneficial to me."

The garda put to him that he was using Mary "in every way".

"The game was a two-way street," he replied.

He was asked what assistance he received from Ms Lowry. He said he was under pressure financially to repay a €20,000 bank loan. "I told her I would have to sell shares at a loss to repay them and she said she would lend me the money," he said.

"She told me she didn't want it back until the lads were in college."

So it was not the case that he put pressure on her and told her he was financially ruined if he didn't get it?

No, he said.

He said she allowed him to keep the loan when his herd was infected with a bovine illness carried by cattle from her late husband's herd.

"She asked me did I wish to be compensated."

She asked you?

"'Should I compensate you?' were her words," he said.

"I said, yes, I believed I deserved to be compensated."

Det Gda Steed asked about his affair with Ms Lowry.

You were married, the detective said.

"That's right."

"Were you unhappy at home?"

"No," he said.

Asked why he had the affair, he said: "It's a good question that I've asked myself." Did he see anything wrong in it?

"Yes, and I bitterly regret it."

His relationship with Ms Lowry was "a combination of companionship, intimacy, trust, honesty".

"Honesty?" asked the detective.

"There was honesty between Mary and myself."

Would he agree that Mary was vulnerable?

No, he said.

So, he believed that a woman who had lost her husband and had three young boys wasn't vulnerable?

"I believe she knew what she was doing," he said.

"In going to bed with you?"


Detectives asked about a night away with Ms Lowry some months after Mr Ryan disappeared. Ms Lowry had said she was uncomfortable, got drunk and fell asleep. "What's your version?"

Mr Quirke said they had "intercourse when we got to the room straight away". They had a meal, went to a show and back at the hotel he was "pretty sure we had intercourse again".

But he said their relationship was "not the same deep down".

"I had a trust issue. She probably had a guilt issue."

Had he ever discussed having no-strings-attached sex with her?

"No. Mary wasn't that kind of woman," he said.

"I'd say you were not that kind of man."

"I'm a man who'd done something stupid and woke up to it," he said.

His affair with Ms Lowry ended "abruptly" in March 2012 when she told him she had met someone.

"Florence, I can't think of his surname," he said.

He told Imelda about the affair two weeks later.

"Did you tell Mary you were going to tell her?"

"Yes. Because it was on my mind for a while and Mary had always warned me away from doing it any time I broached the subject."

Had he told her before Ms Lowry sent her a card saying: "I am truly sorry"?

Before, he said. Mary had "figured out quickly that Imelda knew. She sensed it. She confronted me over it at the farm".

Imelda tore up her card, he said.

Sunday Independent

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