10 Aug 2022

Tipperary murder trial: Gardai seized computers and documents from accused's property

Patrick Quirke

Patrick Quirke

Gardai seized computers and documents from Patrick Quirke's property less than three weeks after DJ Bobby "Mr Moonlight" Ryan's body was discovered, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Detective Sergeant John Keane said when gardai arrived the accused asked him what they were looking for so he handed him a copy of the warrant.

After Mr Quirke read it Det Sgt Keane noted that the accused said to him that the media were wrong when they said Bobby Ryan's clothes and wallet were found in the tank with the body.

Det Sgt Keane also noted that Mr Quirke asked him how Mr Ryan died.

The garda told Mr Quirke he couldn't tell him.

Mr Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the murder of part-time DJ Bobby Ryan. 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 claims that Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle an affair with the deceased's girlfriend Mary Lowry (52).

Det Sgt Keane told prosecution counsel Michael Bowman SC that he had obtained a warrant to search Mr Quirke's home and land from Tipperary District Court on May 13, 2013 and executed it on May 17.

The search began at 9.30am and gardai left at 16.45 that afternoon.

The witness was in charge of searching the house and another team searched the lands.

During the search, Det Sgt Keane's team's attention was brought to items in another house in the farm yard.

He said Mr Quirke also gave gardai permission to search lands he had more recently started renting on a neighbouring farm.

During the search gardai seized a computer, electronic devices, documents, green overalls, a red portfolio and other items of that nature, the witness said.

They also took possession of a Ford pick-up truck and a trailer.Det Sgt Keane agreed with defence counsel Bernard Condon SC that that the accused made his comment about the media being wrong in relation to what was found in the tank after reading the warrant, which stated that gardai were looking for those items.

It also stated that gardai were looking for the weapon used to murder Bobby Ryan.

Earlier the jury heard from Patrick O'Donnell who told David Humphries BL for the prosecution that he worked as a contractor baling silage and spreading slurry on Patrick Quirke's lands at Fawnagowan and Breanshamore.

Around March of 2013 he said Mr Quirke asked him for a loan of a tractor and agitator, a device used to stir slurry so that it can be sucked into a tanker and spread on the fields. He said this would be a normal request and as neighbours, people would often lend things to one another. 

Mr O'Donnell's diary from 2011 showed that he cut silage at Fawnagowan on May 27 and 31. On June 2, one day before Mr Ryan went missing, he was cutting grass and baling at both Fawnagowan and Breanshamore.

The following day he had no involvement with Mr Quirke and on June 5 he baled the grass he had cut two days earlier.

From April 27 to May 6, 2013 he did no work at Mr Quirke's farm. 

Seamus Buckley told Mr Bowman that he sells farm machinery and met Mr Quirke at a sales show in Wexford in 2012. He sold a tractor to Mr Quirke, which was delivered the week before Christmas that year.

Mr Quirke later agreed to buy a 2,000 gallon tanker from him, which was picked up by one of Mr Quirke's workers on the Friday before Mr Ryan's body was found.

The witness agreed with Mr Condon that it is common sense that farmers upgrade their machinery.

He added: "It is not unusual at all."

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

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