Farmer murdered ‘love rival’ so he could rekindle affair, trial hears

Patrick Quirke (50) goes on trial for murder of DJ who started relationship with woman he had affair with

A farmer murdered his “love rival” and hid his naked body in a slurry pit so he could rekindle an affair with his dead brother-in-law’s wife, a prosecution barrister has told a murder trial.

Michael Bowman SC opened the trial of 50-year-old Patrick Quirke by saying that the prosecution will use circumstantial evidence to prove the guilt of the accused.

Mr Quirke of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 52-year-old Bobby Ryan on a date between June 3rd, 2011 and April 13rd, 2013.

Outlining the prosecution's case Mr Bowman said the accused started an affair in 2008 with Mary Lowry after the death of her husband Martin, Mr Quirke's best friend. Mr Quirke is married to Martin Lowry's sister, Imelda.


Mrs Lowry had been left with a farm following her husband’s death but had no interest in farming so Mr Quirke leased about 63 acres from her.

He continued his relationship with Mary Lowry in secret until she ended it in 2010.

In August of that year she met Bobby Ryan, a local DJ who went by the name Mr Moonlight. They started a relationship and Mr Bowman said Bobby Ryan offered Mrs Lowry something that the married Patrick Quirke could not, a "conventional relationship".

Mr Bowman said the accused, “did what he felt compelled to do and got rid of his love rival in the hope that he could go back to how things were before Bobby Ryan.”

Mr Ryan spent the night of June 2nd with Mary Lowry at her home and left at about 6.30am so that her children would not know he had stayed over.

Mrs Lowry was in the habit of waiting to hear Mr Ryan’s van cross the grate at the end of the drive so that she could relax knowing he had gotten away unnoticed. On this morning, however, she noticed that he took longer than usual to drive away.

‘Carefully managed’

When Mr Ryan failed to turn up for work that morning at a local quarry his family were alerted and a search began.

Mr Ryan’s silver van was found by a local beauty spot known as Kilshane Wood. His daughter Michelle became concerned when she realised it was parked in fourth gear and was not locked despite having her father’s DJ equipment inside. The seats had been moved into an unfamiliar position.

Mr Bowman said the accused would say he was milking cows that morning.

Despite a search of the farmland Mr Ryan was not found and in his absence the relationship between the accused and Mrs Lowry was rekindled for a time, but, Mr Bowman said, again Mrs Lowry put an end to it.

By April 2013 Mrs Lowry had decided to terminate Mr Quirke’s lease on her land and he agreed to leave by July 1st of that year.

On April 13th Mr Quirke said he was trying to get water from a slurry tank when he came across the dead body buried in what Mr Bowman described as a “concrete sarcophagus” inside the tank. He was naked and his clothes, car keys, phone and other belongings have never been found. A post-mortem showed that he had suffered blunt force trauma and sustained fractures to his skull, ribs and one leg.

The finding of the body, Mr Bowman said, was “carefully managed, orchestrated and staged” by Mr Quirke on his own terms in circumstances where he knew he would soon be giving up control of the land where he had dumped the body.

He said the “innocent” explanation for finding the body at that time would not stand up to scrutiny. While counsel said there would be no “smoking gun” evidence the cumulative weight of circumstantial evidence would be enough to prove his guilt. He said Mr Ryan was murdered and the only question is, by whom. The accused, he said, had the motive and the opportunity and had access to the tank where the body was found.

The trial continues in front of Ms Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of six men and six women.