Love triangle trial hears fingerprints in Bobby Ryan's van did not belong to murder accused

Fingerprints on items taken from Bobby Ryan's van after he went missing did not match the accused man Patrick Quirke, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Love triangle trial hears fingerprints in Bobby Ryan's van did not belong to murder accused

Fingerprints on items taken from Bobby Ryan's van after he went missing did not match the accused man Patrick Quirke, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Detective Garda Fiona Maguire told prosecution counsel David Humphries BL she tested a black diary and driver's licence taken from the deceased's van when he went missing in 2011. She found five marks on the diary and two palm marks on the licence.

Four of the prints on the diary belonged to the deceased's daughter Michelle but she was not able to identify the other. None of the prints on either item matched Patrick Quirke so she ran them through a national database but again got no match.

Patrick Quirke (aged 50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ known as Mr Moonlight. Mr Ryan went missing on June 3, 2011, after leaving his girlfriend Mary Lowry's home at about 6.30am.

His body was found in an underground run-off tank on the farm owned by Ms Lowry and leased by the accused at Fawnagown, Tipperary, 22 months later in April 2013. The prosecution has claimed Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle an affair with Ms Lowry (aged 52).

The witness agreed with defence counsel Lorcan Staines SC that she was asked to give evidence in the trial last Thursday.

Detective Garda Ernie Fraser told Mr Humphries that in 2012, when Bobby Ryan was still listed as a missing person, he took fingerprints from an aftershave bottle found in Mr Ryan's van and the driver's door. In January of this year, he compared those prints to Patrick Quirke's and found they did not match.

Garda Fiona Conneely, a specialist child interviewer, told Michael Bowman SC for the prosecution that she interviewed Mary Lowry's children in July 2013.

Gda Conneely said she interviewed the children, aged 9, 11 and 15 at the time, with their mother's permission at Ms Lowry's home. She said that Ms Lowry initially thought she would be able to sit in on the interviews and was unhappy and upset when told this was not how it would be done.

The procedure with children under the age of 14, the witness explained, is to speak to them to build rapport and if anything of value to the investigation arises their statements are recorded.

Nothing emerged from the conversations with the two youngest and therefore no recording was made. Gda Conneely and her colleague did take a statement from Tommy, the eldest boy.

The witness agreed with defence counsel Lorcan Staines SC that she told colleagues in 2013 that Ms Lowry was "angry" when she found out she couldn't be present for the interviews but the witness said that in hindsight she thinks that was the wrong word.

She said Ms Lowry was not shouting or roaring and did not express anger. When the proper procedure was explained to her she gave consent for her children to be interviewed.

Mary Lowry.
Mary Lowry.

She further agreed that in his interview Tommy told her that he knew of the tank where Bobby Ryan's body was found but he didn't know what it was for or how big it was. He also revealed that his mother taught him to drive, that he could drive a car and a tractor and that Bobby Ryan bought a "field car" or a "banger" that he used to drive around the fields.

Among the questions he was asked were how his mother got on with Bobby Ryan, how often Mr Ryan would call and when he became aware his mother was in a relationship.

Garda Sharon Maloney, also a specialist in child interviews, told Mr Bowman that she was also present for the interviews. She told Mr Staines that Ms Lowry welcomed them in but there was an issue when they told her she could not be present.

She described Ms Lowry as being "a little bit upset", "put out" and "flustered". She agreed that the report to the investigating team stated that Ms Lowry was "angry" but said with "hindsight" she felt that word was a bit strong.

She said a person who is angry would raise their voice and Ms Lowry didn't do that. "She was cross, upset, put out," she said.

Mr Staines asked the witness why a number of questions that had been suggested by the investigating team did not appear to have been asked. She said the questions were a guide only.

Justice Eileen Creedon told the jury of six men and six women they will not be required again until Wednesday.

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