Patrick Quirke acted ‘as if he kind of owned’ Mary Lowry’s farm

Jack Lowry (19) tells murder trial accused ‘in control most of the time, grumpy some of the time’

Jack Lowry (19) told the Central Criminal Court about his mother Mary Lowry’s relationship with the late Bobby Ryan and his memories of murder accused Patrick Quirke.  Photograph: Collins Courts.

Jack Lowry (19) told the Central Criminal Court about his mother Mary Lowry’s relationship with the late Bobby Ryan and his memories of murder accused Patrick Quirke. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

A son of Mary Lowry has described murder accused Patrick Quirke as being “in control most of the time, grumpy some of the time” and as someone who went around his mother’s farm “as if he kind of owned the place”.

Jack Lowry (19) told the Central Criminal Court about his mother’s relationship with the late Bobby Ryan and his memories of the accused.

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’. Mr Ryan went missing on June 3rd, 2011 after leaving Ms 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, Co Tipperary in April 2013. The prosecution has claimed Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle an affair with Ms Lowry (52).

Mr Lowry told David Humphries BL, prosecuting, that he lived with his brothers and mother in Fawnagowan until April 2013. Following his father’s death in 2007, Mr Lowry remembered Mr Quirke leasing the family farm. He said he knew the Quirke children and got on well with the accused’s son Alan, who died in a farm accident in 2012.

Mr Lowry said Alan would come to Fawnagowan with his father most days and the two boys would play together. He said he got on with Mr Quirke when he was younger and has “nothing against him”.

He said Mr Quirke was “in control most of the time, grumpy some of the time. He went around the farm as if he kind of owned the place”. He recalled going with his mother and brothers to Portugal and Spain with the Quirke family and said they all got on.

‘Slag him off’

The witness said that when Ms Lowry started seeing Mr Ryan, he initially “felt weird about it” and used to “slag him off about being bald”. He said he thought Mr Ryan was taking over his father’s role.

He remembered Mr Ryan taking him and his brothers to Tramore, Co Waterford where he brought them on carnival rides and into arcades. He said his mother and Mr Ryan seemed happy together.

Mr Lowry said that Mr Ryan bought a 1987 Toyota Corolla for his older brother Tommy so he could practice driving.

This witness said he was in the car when Tommy drove it but was, at 11, too young to drive it himself.

On the day Mr Ryan went missing, Mr Lowry remembered coming home from school and seeing his uncle Eddie, which was strange. The witness said he did not remember who told him Mr Ryan was missing and did not know of the tank where the deceased’s body was found.

Under cross examination, Mr Lowry told Lorcan Staines SC that he could not remember what happened when he spoke to gardaí at the time of Mr Ryan’s disappearance in 2011.

He said he spoke to gardaí again in February of this year after being approached about makeinga statement.

No memory

Mr Lowry said he had no memory of Mr Ryan calling to the house on the day before he went missing. He also said he had no recollection of ever going to his grandmother to complain that his mother was not at home.

He said he was “100 per cent sure” that the Toyota Corolla car was bought for Tommy to learn to drive and that he did not drive it until he was older.

“I could barely reach the pedals. I didn’t even know how to start a car at that at that age.”

Mr Staines told Mr Lowry that his brother had told the trial that the car was for both of them and asked him if he wished to reconsider his evidence.

He replied: “No.”

Referring to the tank where Mr Ryan’s body was found. Mr Lowry said he knew there was concrete there because it “stood out” in the middle of the field. But he was young so he took no notice of it.

In re-examination, Mr Humphries asked the witness if he remembers ever being left alone at home and he replied that his grandmother, Rita Lowry, was always there.

Mr Humphries also today read to the court a deposition given by Rita Lowry (91) who is also Mr Quirke’s mother-in-law.

In her deposition, Rita Lowry said she had lived at Fawnagowan since 1958 and was married to John Lowry. They had four boys and four girls. Martin, Mary’s husband, was the eldest boy and became principal heir to the farm when her husband died in 1993.

Martin married Mary and they built an extension to the house where they lived with their three boys before Martin died in 2007.

Great friends

Rita Lowry said Mary Lowry was “very upset” and was grieving after his death.

She remembered that Mr Quirke helped her and that his cattle started grazing the land at Fawnagowan. He would be there nearly every day, arriving around 12pm. She said MaryLowry and Mr Quirke were great friends.

Rita Lowry met Mr Ryan only once or twice but said she would not have really known him. She was happy that Mary Lowry had met someone and she said that Mr Ryan got on with her children.

Rita Lowry said that the night before Mr Ryan went missing, she was out playing cards and arrived home about 11.30pm. She went to bed and slept soundly.

She said the following morning was normal with Mary Lowry dropping her into town to meet her daughter, as was the case every Friday.

She got home about 3pm and saw Mary Lowry crying and “very, very upset”. Rita Lowry said she remembered telling gardai that Jack Lowry coming to her one morning and saying his mother was not home. A short time later Mary Lowry drove in.

Prosecution counsel Michael Bowman SC told the jury that the prosecution evidence is likely to finish on Thursday and the case will formally close on Friday morning. .