Fingerprints on items in Bobby Ryan’s van did not match Patrick Quirke’s

Farmer accused of murdering part-time DJ who went missing in Co Tipperary in 2011

Patrick Quirke (50), of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ known as ‘Mr Moonlight’. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Patrick Quirke (50), of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ known as ‘Mr Moonlight’. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

Fingerprints on items taken from Bobby Ryan’s van after he went missing did not match those of Patrick Quirke, who is accused of murdering him, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Det Garda Fiona Maguire told prosecution counsel David Humphries BL that she took prints from a black diary and a driving licence that were given to her in 2013.

Mr Ryan went missing on the morning of June 3rd, 2011 and his van was discovered in a car park leading into Bansha Wood, a local beauty spot, later that day.

In May 2013, after Mr Ryan’s body had been discovered, Ms Maguire tested the diary and licence. 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 Ryan but she was not able to identify the other. None of the prints on either item matched Mr Quirke so she ran them through a national database but again got no match.

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

Det Garda Ernie Fraser told Mr Humphries that in 2012, when Mr Ryan was still listed as a missing person, he took fingerprints from an aftershave bottle found in his van and the driver’s door.

Compared

In January of this year he compared those prints to Mr Quirke’s and found they did not match.

Mr Quirke (50), of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Ryan, a part-time DJ known as ‘Mr Moonlight’. He went missing on June 3rd, 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 in April 2013.

The prosecution claims Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle an affair with Ms Lowry (52).

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

The court has previously heard that Ms Lowry had an affair with the accused for about two years before starting a relationship with Mr Ryan.

Garda Conneely said she interviewed Ms Lowry’s children - aged nine, 11 and 15 at the time - at the Lowry family home in July 2013. She said that Ms Lowry 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.

Garda 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 could not be present for the interviews but the witness said that in hindsight she thinks that was the wrong word.

Consent

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.

Garda Conneely further agreed that in his interview, Tommy told her that he knew of the tank where Mr Ryan’s body was found but he did not know what it was for or how big it was.

He also said that his mother taught him to drive, that he could drive a car and a tractor and that Mr Ryan bought a “banger” that he used to drive around the fields.

Among the questions he was asked were how his mother got on with Mr 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 did not 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.

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