18 Aug 2022

Tipperary murder trial: Unidentified text sender accused Mary Lowry of 'hiding something'

Tipperary murder trial: Unidentified text sender accused Mary Lowry of 'hiding something'

The late Bobby Ryan (left) and Patrick Quirke (right)

Jury shown CCTV footage on day Bobby Ryan's body was found on farm

Mary Lowry received an anonymous text message after her boyfriend Bobby "Mr Moonlight" Ryan went missing accusing her of hiding something and saying: "We are going to watch you until you crack," the Central Criminal Court has heard.

The court also heard on Thursday that a scan of Bobby Ryan's body revealed he suffered multiple fractures, which were the result of at least four impacts that could have been caused by road traffic accident or blows with a blunt object.

Garda Tony O'Brien has been detailing to prosecution counsel David Humphries call logs retrieved from phones attributed to Mr Ryan and the man accused of his murder Patrick Quirke.

Gda O'Brien also detailed phone records of Ms Lowry, the deceased's son and daughter and the accused's wife among others around the time of Mr Ryan's disappearance in 2011 and the discovery of his body in 2013.

Speaking to defence counsel Edward Doocey BL Gda O'Brien revealed that a text was retrieved from Ms Lowry's phone in September 2011.

Written in text shorthand it said : "You think you are so cool out partying like Bobby never existed. We know you are hiding something and we are going to watch you until you crack."

Gda O'Brien told Mr Doocey that gardai investigated the source of the text but were unsuccessful. 

Mr Doocey also asked the witness to bring the jury through CCTV footage taken from Ms Lowry's home on the day Bobby Ryan's body was found in a disused underground tank on the land she owned, which was farmed by the accused.

The footage showed Mr Quirke arriving shortly after mid-day in a truck followed about 40 minutes later by his wife Imelda.

Ms Lowry arrived a few minutes after that and the first garda van arrived at 1.20pm, following a phone call from Imelda Quirke to alert gardai to the presence of the body in the tank.

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

Garda O'Brien also told Mr Humphries that records showed that on the day Mr Ryan's body was recovered Mr Quirke's phone called his wife Imelda's phone at 12.33, a call that lasted eight seconds.

His phone then called a vet some seconds later. Within a minute of that the phone called voicemail and a minute later called Mr Quirke's wife two more times. On the last occasion the call lasted for 36 seconds.

The last outgoing call made by Bobby Ryan was at about 9pm on June 2 when he called his son Robert. The following day Robert texted his dad at 9.44am saying: "Da, you not working today?"

Radiologist Dr Anthony Ryan told Michael Bowman SC for the prosecution that he carried out a CT scan of Mr Ryan's body in May 2013.

He discovered multiple fractures to the head, face and ribs and a fracture to the femur - a bone in the upper leg.

He said the injuries were a result of at least four impacts and could have been caused by road traffic accident or blows with a blunt object.

The injuries to the face were most likely from a direct frontal impact.

He said that when he sees such injuries from a hammer he expects the face to be "depressed" but this injury was not like that, leading him to believe the injury resulted from an object larger than a hammer.

He added that the face could have impacted with a wall, the ground or a vehicle and that it was hit with "considerable force".

The witness agreed with defence counsel Lorcan Staines SC that the fracture to the femur, the strongest bone in the human body surrounded by tough muscle, would have required a "great degree of force".

He said such fractures are usually caused by falls from a significant height or when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle. The witness said he had seen hundreds of these type of injuries but had never seen them caused by anything other than a fall or a road traffic accident.

While the witness said a bat could be used to fracture the femur, the u-shaped nature of the fracture raised a doubt about that possibility. 

He further explained that when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle they suffer injuries from the impact with the car and then suffer further injuries when they hit the ground or anything else in the environment.

Mr Staines also asked the witness about pieces of concrete that fell on the body when the lid of the tank was removed by gardai using a digger.

Dr Ryan said the fragments could have caused some of the injuries he observed to the ribs but he did not believe falling concrete caused the fractures to the face and skull or the femur.

Under reexamination the witness told Mr Bowman that for a vehicle to cause the injuries he saw it would have to be travelling at more than 30 kilometres per hour but more likely closer to 50 kilometres per hour.

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

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