A doctor put murder accused Patrick Quirke on a course of anti-depressants to help him sleep after he complained of being stressed over his affair with Mary Lowry, the Central Criminal Court has heard.
Dr Ivor Hanrahan said Mr Quirke was "upset and quite hurt" about Ms Lowry's relationship with Bobby Ryan.
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’, which the prosecution claims he did to rekindle the affair with Ms Lowry.
Mr Ryan went missing on June 3rd, 2011 after leaving the home of his girlfriend, Ms Lowry (52), at about 6.30am. His body was found in a run-off tank on a farm owned by Ms Lowry and leased by the accused at Fawnagown in April 2013. The prosecution claims that Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan
Dr Hanrahan told Michael Bowman SC, prosecuting, that Mr Quirke came for a routine consultation in September 2010 and mentioned a number of work and financial “stressors” and that he was having difficulty sleeping. The doctor suggested medication but Mr Quirke was not keen, so he referred him to a counsellor.
Dr Hanrahan subsequently received a call from the counsellor and as a result prescribed Mirtazapine, an anti-depressant, to Mr Quirke, primarily to help him sleep.
In late 2010 and January 2011 the doctor had a number of conversations with Mr Quirke and prescribed other medications. He said Mr Quirke remained distressed and had other issues he did not want to discuss.
Dr Hanrahan suggested a face to face consultation, which took place on February 3rd, 2011. Mr Quirke told him that he had an affair with Ms Lowry, his wife’s sister-in-law, which was a source of stress and upset to him. He asked the Dr hanrahan not to make a note of the conversation so he wrote in his file only that they discussed a confidential matter.
By the time this conversation took place, he said Mr Quirke had stopped taking the medication as it did not seem to be helping. They discussed the impact of the affair on Mr Quirke’s well-being. The doctor believed the affair had come to an end by then because Ms Lowry had started a relationship with another man. The doctor explained that he prescribed anti-depressants as people can become addicted to sleeping tablets.
Under cross examination, the doctor told Bernard Condon SC that there are two kinds of depression, one brought on by a stressful life event and the other in the absence of a particular event.
He said he felt Mr Quirke’s was suffering from adjustment disorder which can be a consequence of a stressful life event. He said Mr Quirke may not have met the criteria for depression. The doctor agreed with Mr Condon that Mr Quirke may have thought he was diagnosed with depression because of the medication he was prescribed.
Breda O’Dwyer told Mr Bowman that she works as an artificial insemination technician and worked with Mr Quirke’s cows for about 15 years. She had an understanding with Mr Quirke that she would call to his farm every morning unless he text her to say he had no cows bulling.
She said that by the time she arrived at his farm, Mr Quirke would normally have finished milking, the milking parlour would be clean and he would be on his way for his breakfast. He would leave a post-it note with the details of any cows in need of insemination.
On June 3rd, 2011, the day Mr Ryan went missing, she said that as far as she could recall Mr Quirke was still milking his cows when she arrived. The time would have been “9.30 anyway”, she said.
The witness told Mr Bowman that she referred to her diary previously when gardaí asked about what happened that morning and saw that she inseminated two heifers.
She told Mr Condon that she no longer has the diary and could not find it when gardaí asked her for it. In her direct evidence, she told Mr Bowman that the insemination would have taken about 15 minutes and Mr Quirke was still in the milking pit as she left.
Ms O’Dwyer also said that she had a “general conversation” with Mr Quirke about the discovery of Mr Ryan’s body. She said she “wasn’t going to talk to him about the weather” when there were stories in the newspapers.
She remembered one conversation in which Mr Quirke asked her did she remember that Sean Dillon - who worked on the farm at the time - was with him on the morning of June 3rd, 2011. She said she did not see Sean there but that did not mean he was not there.
Under cross examination the witness said she was mistaken in an earlier statement to gardaí when she said it was “standard practice for all the farmers to text me every morning”.
She explained that she no longer has the diary as she is only required to keep it for between one and two years. The witness explained that she had the diary in June 2013 when she checked it to see if she had gone to Mr Quirke’s farm that day. Gardaí came looking for the diary six months later but she could not find it then.
Ms O’Dwyer denied that she could be mistaken about seeing Mr Quirke milking cows on June 3rd, 2011. She said the time she would arrive at Mr Quirke’s farm does not vary much but it could vary at times. He would normally, she said, be first or second on her list of farms to visit.
Sean Dillon told David Humphries BL for the prosecution that he worked on Mr Quirke’s farm from the age of about seven. He was 14 in June 2011.
The day after his school holidays began that month he was working on Mr Quirke’s farm and moving bales on his own family farm a few minutes drive away. Milking usually finished around 9.30am, he said, but he agreed with Mr Condon that the times could vary if cows were further out in the fields or if other jobs needed to be done.
When he heard about Mr Ryan’s body being found in the tank at Fawnagowan he said he was frightened by it. He had been working close to it not long before.
Ms Justice Eileen Creedon told the jury that they are not required on Thursday but will be needed on Friday.