Former Scotland Yard officer recounts how Mary Lowry confessed affair with Patrick Quirke

Former Scotland Yard officer recounts how Mary Lowry confessed affair with Patrick Quirke
Catherine Costello, pictured leaving court in February after giving evidence in the Patrick Quirke trial. Photo: Collins Courts.

A retired policewoman who worked with Scotland Yard has told of her meetings with Mary Lowry which led to vital evidence about the murder of Bobby Ryan.

Catherine Costello, who now lives in Ireland, is a co-founder of the Searching for the Missing group. She was asked by Mr Ryan’s daughter Michelle to help in the search and went to Bansha where she met her and Mary Lowry.

Michelle Ryan and Mary Ryan, daughter and ex-wife of Bobby Ryan, leaving court in February. Photo: Collins Courts.
Michelle Ryan and Mary Ryan, daughter and ex-wife of Bobby Ryan, leaving court in February. Photo: Collins Courts.

She told RTE radio’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that she subsequently took a call from Mary Lowry asking to meet.

“She was very different from my first meeting when she was upset, at the second meeting she was distraught, she was absolutely roaring crying, I did my level best to calm her.

“As a result of what she told me I appreciated she was in a very deep hole. I told her that the information she had was critical and that she should go to the Guards with it.

“At the first meeting, she hoped that Bobby had just decided to take time out, and that he may possibly have gone off with a male friend to Lisdoonvarna just to chill, and that he'd be back. He was missing about five days at that stage.

“The second meeting was several weeks later when it obviously had dawned on her that he hadn't gone to Lisdoonvarna, so her distress was very apparent, she now suspected that he may have met foul play.

“She then told me about her former relationship with Pat Quirke.”

The information that Ms Lowry had was “catastrophic on a social level, she had young children, the eldest only 12.”

Mary Lowry
Mary Lowry

Ms Costello said that she was concerned for Mary herself.

“If my daughter had a boyfriend who stole a key and used it to come into her house while she was at work you would be very concerned.

“This guy isn't right, you would be telling your daughter you'd better get rid of him fairly rapidly. It's not normal.”

She paid tribute to the gardaí in Tipperary, who, she said, showed “massive persistence in this case".

“I've been critical in the past, but this time I really have to take my hat off. It was slow but significant, the diligence and persistence. There was some very good evidence.”

Ms Costello explained that when Mary Lowry told her about her affair with her late husband’s brother-in-law Patrick Quirke, she did not want to speak to a male guard.

“She told me that in the initial search for Bobby she met a very nice woman police officer, she had been very kind to her, that's who she decided to go and see.

“I felt it was Mary Lowry's actions in putting up CCTV that led to the discovery of Bobby's body.”

She said that she had no contact with Mary Lowry from 2011. “I never believed from what I witnessed that she had colluded or was part of it, I believed that she was a very good mother.

“The one thing that struck me the second time I met her was that she kept praying to her late husband for guidance.”

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