Quirke told gardaí his 'only crime' was having an affair with Mary Lowry

Quirke told gardaí his 'only crime' was having an affair with Mary Lowry

While Patrick Quirke did not take the stand in his trial, his garda interviews gave a clear insight into his toxic on-off relationship with Mary Lowry, his feelings about her new relationship with the victim and how that triggered the murder of Bobby Ryan.

He told gardaí he was afraid of Mary Lowry and described his ex-lover as "vicious" and "verbally abusive".

He said his only crime was having an affair with Ms Lowry and now his name was "mud" in the town where he grew up. He told investigators he didn't kill Bobby Ryan and that whoever did was laughing at them for looking at him.

He said he was in love with the woman up to the time their relationship ended and she told him she loved him. He claimed when the relationship broke down he was angry with how she treated him but he had nothing against Bobby Ryan.

Quirke made a voluntary cautioned statement in which he detailed his movements on the day when Bobby Ryan disappeared and on the day, 22 months later, when he claimed to have discovered the body.

In relation to the discovery, gardaí asked him why he did not alert Mary Lowry, whose land the tank is on. He said he didn't think she was there and added that he was afraid of what she might say.

He wasn't "thinking straight or acting straight", he said. He was concerned that the body was naked and when gardaí pressed him on that he said: "My first concern was that the man didn't walk out of the house."

I just didn't want to meet her [Mary Lowry], I just wanted to meet one person [Imelda].

He claimed he had a theory in his head at the time about the body being naked but he later had a conversation with someone who told him that a professional would remove the clothes to destroy forensic evidence.

Quirke claimed he was afraid of Mary Lowry adding to gardaí: "The whole thing frightened me."

When asked why he was afraid of Ms Lowry he said he is "always afraid of her. She is vicious."

He said she had abused him the previous day when he met her on the farm. "She let fly verbal abuse," he said, after she was "caught snooping and didn't like to be caught".

Quirke said he avoided her at all costs but said she was not violent, just verbally abusive. He accepted that he was probably verbal towards her as well.

Gardaí quizzed him as to why he instinctively thought the body was that of Bobby Ryan and he replied: "Who else would it be?"

Patrick Quirke
Patrick Quirke

He said he didn't believe Mr Ryan had gone to Spain to start a new life and always thought something sinister had happened.

Quirke also told gardaí said he is curious by nature and couldn't "go with the flow" or accept what other people were saying. He didn't believe Mr Ryan committed suicide or hitched a lift to Rosslare and took a ferry to France.

"People who commit suicide want to be found," he told gardaí.

Gardaí asked Quirke about his relationship with Bobby Ryan. He said he didn't know him well enough to like him, they had nothing in common and so probably weren't going to be friends.

He claimed that, while he wasn't happy with how his relationship with Mary Lowry ended, her being with Mr Ryan didn't bother him.

"I had an affair with this woman but this is my only crime," he said, adding: "I hate to say that I need to clear my name but my name is mud."

In another interview, Quirke told gardaí Martin Lowry, Mary's deceased husband, was his best friend and best man at his wedding.

The affair started in January 2008, he said, recalling that he told Ms Lowry that they should "pull back" because he was falling in love with her. He said she replied: "Me too."

They usually met at Fawnagowan although he stayed overnight only once or twice. They occasionally went for lunch and went away together about three or four times.

Patrick and Imelda Quirke. Photo: Collins.
Patrick and Imelda Quirke. Photo: Collins.

He thought his wife might have "an inkling" about the affair but she said nothing. He said he occasionally discussed the future with Ms Lowry but not very seriously.

He told Imelda about the affair in March 2012. He said he needed to know that their marriage could survive and added: "I needed to be honest."

She didn't take it well and has not spoken to Mary Lowry since. Previously they got on well, he said, having known one another for 25 years.

Quirke also detailed to gardaí his financial dealings with Ms Lowry. They had shared investments totalling tens of thousands of euros and she loaned him €20,000 to pay off a bank loan.

He said he also presented her with a bill for cattle that had died due to an infection from the herd he inherited from her husband. He said she agreed that he could keep the €20,000 loan as compensation. Mary Lowry denied this in her evidence to the court.

He found out she was seeing Bobby Ryan in December 2010 but didn't think they were physically intimate at that time.

He said she told him she wasn't interested in a relationship with Mr Ryan and he, Quirke, told her she could still meet him, "as long as we don't fall out". She asked Quirke what he would do and he told her: "I still have Imelda."

Around December 15, he said he became aware that Ms Lowry had lied to him about where she was the night before and the following week he saw text exchanges on her phone with Mr Ryan.

He took her phone and texted Mr Ryan, "pointing out she hadn't been honest and was seeing me for the last three years”.

Mr Ryan then called and Quirke answered, saying, "sorry, but I'm the man." He told gardaí: "That's all I said and I hung up."

Quirke was angry and Ms Lowry was angry. They had a "heated" argument in which he accused her of lying and she told him they were finished. He described Ms Lowry as "fiery" and said she has a "heated temper" but the argument was not physical.

Mary Lowry
Mary Lowry

The next time they met she was still angry because Mr Ryan didn't want anything to do with her but she later made up with Mr Ryan and seemed happier then.

Mr Quirke added: "I was angry because she was happy and she didn't care if I was happy, sad or indifferent."

He said he was "disgusted" with Ms Lowry's "whole attitude" which he found difficult to justify.

He said he spent a lot of time and effort sorting her out after her husband's death and "it was all forgotten about".

Following the argument over the phone Mr Ryan arranged to meet Quirke at Hayes's Hotel in Thurles. They talked about the break up of Mr Ryan's marriage and Quirke apologised for the incident with the phone.

He was impressed with Mr Ryan and happy with the meeting because, "he didn't perceive me as a person who had it in for him," Quirke said. He denied trying to warn Mr Ryan off and said he wished them well.

He went on to say that he hadn't properly grieved his best friend Martin's death and entered into counselling to help him with this and the breakdown of the affair.

He was not jealous of Bobby and Mary because he was getting on with his own life with his wife.

Patrick Quirke
Patrick Quirke

In August 2011, following Mr Ryan's disappearance, he said he got back with Ms Lowry a few times but it wasn't the same. They went to the Cliff House in Ardmore in September 2011 and to Fitzpatrick's Hotel in Killiney, south Dublin in January 2012.

They talked about Mr Ryan's disappearance, he said, telling gardaí: "I'm inquisitive, I'm curious."

He said he wanted to know what happened and had theories. He said Ms Lowry had no theories and added: "It didn't bother her. She was quite indifferent about it.”

He put an end to the affair this time, he said, after he found out she was again seeing someone else.

When gardaí asked him if he was in love with Ms Lowry up to the time when they split he responded: "yes."

He said Ms Lowry had filled a void left when his best friend died. He was angry at how she had treated him but added that he was never going to leave his wife.

He concluded the interview saying he never threatened Bobby Ryan "in any way and I challenge anyone to show that I did. I did not kill Bobby Ryan. There's somebody out there who did do it and he is laughing at the moment because you are looking at me."

He said he was doing everything he could do clear his name.

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