09 Aug 2022

Tipperary murder trial: Mary Lowry's evidence was "devious poison"

Tipperary murder trial:  Mary Lowry's evidence was "devious poison"

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

Mary Lowry's evidence against Patrick Quirke was, "a piece of the most devious poison that has been delivered across the face of the Central Criminal Court for many a year," defence lawyers have told the jury in the love rival murder trial.

On day two of the defence closing speech Bernard Condon SC said Ms Lowry was manipulative, told lies and put a spin on her evidence as he detailed what he told the six men and six women is evidence of her attempts to "rewrite history". 
Mr Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ known as Mr Moonlight.

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

Mary Lowry tried to do a "devious" thing, Mr Condon said, when she gave evidence about seeing Mr Quirke on the day Mr Ryan went missing. 

Ms Lowry was interviewed in June 2011 and told gardai that she saw Mr Quirke at about 8.30 am on her driveway that Friday morning.

She said Mr Quirke would be coming and going at all times and she knew he was going away that weekend and probably wanted to get a few jobs done before setting off.

In a statement in 2013, following the discovery of the body, she said she didn't know Mr Quirke was going away, that it was unusual for him to be there so early and that she noted he was "hot and sweaty and bothered looking".

Mr Condon said she told this to a jury that is being asked to convict a man of the most serious offence of murder and added: "That was a piece of the most devious poison that has been delivered across the face of the Central Criminal Court for many a year."

In cross examination Ms Lowry denied telling lies and said she can't remember what she said seven years ago and added: "I speak the truth to what my memory is."

Mr Condon said that Ms Lowry was trying to put something into the juror's minds that there is something "nefarious" going on with Mr Quirke and asked, "why is she doing that?" He said it was worrying and "worthy of very serious concern. What is going on here?"

Counsel said she had sworn to tell the truth and asked: "What was she trying to do and why was she trying to do it?"

Mr Condon opened by telling the jury to consider the quality, not the quantity of the evidence they have heard.

Much of it, he said, relied on Mary Lowry and even if proven true, would say nothing about murder but suggest she was in a relationship with Pat Quirke that was at different times good, bad, and indifferent.

The end of the relationship was bitter and petty, like many relationships when they break up.

Ms Lowry's first attempt to revise history, he said, was when she said that the accused was not good friends with her late husband Martin Lowry. All the evidence, counsel said, states otherwise.

In the witness box she described her affair with Mr Quirke as "sordid"  but Mr Condon asked if this was just her talking with hindsight, looking back on something she now regrets and trying to put herself in the best light possible.

She had also said that she was "controlled" by Mr Quirke but, Mr Condon said, this is based only on Ms Lowry's unsupported evidence.

He asked them to consider the statement made to gardai by her brother Eddie Quigley in which he said he told Pat Quirke:

"Mary will make up her own mind and you and me won't change that." That, Mr Condon said, is a very different view of Mary Lowry to the "naive or vulnerable person she seeks to put across".

She was, counsel said, "about the business of manipulation. She was manipulative."

He further asked whether the episode when she gave out to Bobby Ryan for five hours travelling back from Bundoran because he had spent the previous night dancing and talking to another woman was evidence that Ms Lowry was controlled or controlling.

She had made light of it, Mr Condon said, telling the jury that his ear must have been "reddened". But Mr Condon reminded them that Bobby Ryan's response was to suggest that they end the relationship.

She lied in her account of what happened in Bundoran, Mr Condon said.

Firstly, she told gardai that Bobby wasn't feeling well and didn't want to dance. When he went to the toilet she started dancing with another man and when she came back Bobby was dancing with another woman and spent hours chatting to her.

In her evidence to the jury, Mr Condon said, she said she asked Bobby's permission to dance with another man and he said it was fine. This, he said, was a very specific detail and an "out and out lie".

She had also changed her story, counsel said, from saying that Bobby had met the woman the night before to saying this was a woman he knew from years ago and they were just chatting about old times and therefore there was no problem. If she can't give a coherent story about this incident Mr Condon asked the jury how can they believe what she says about Patrick Quirke.

He further reminded the jury that following the trip to Bundoran Ms Lowry said she was "fuming" and "raging" with Bobby.

He asked them to consider that the prosecution made much of Patrick Quirke saying he was angry when he found out that Mary was seeing Bobby but here was Mary Lowry saying similar things in the context of a relationship.

"So what," he said, adding: "There's not a lot of weight you can attach to those kind of words and you have to be careful."

He dubbed as a "tabloid headline" a phrase used by gardai that Mr Quirke had "sex on demand and cash on demand" from Mary Lowry. Mr Condon said there was no suggestion he had sex on demand.

This was, he said, a consenting relationship between adults.

He said Mr Quirke had been coherent and consistent through many hours of questioning by gardai who engaged in "nods and winks" in their questioning. There is also nothing wrong, he said, with the financial relationship between Mr Quirke and Ms Lowry.

Ms Lowry also stated that she was assaulted by Mr Quirke in late 2010 or early 2011 when he was asking her for compensation after his herd was infected by a cow from Ms Lowry's late husband's herd.

Mr Condon said you would never be able to convict Mr Quirke if this were an allegation in court.

He further reminded the jury that Ms Lowry would later tell gardai, in the days after Mr Ryan's disappearance, that Pat Quirke would have your best interests at heart and that she "always got on fine" with him.

He told the jury that if she was assaulted by Mr Quirke then she was lying to gardai when she said she always got on fine with him. When confronted with this during cross examination Ms Lowry said she was assaulted and she did not lie.

Mr Condon said this was a person capable of saying "black is white" and much of what the prosecution used to suggest that Pat Quirke was a "bad person" was based on her evidence.

The jury, Mr Condon said, is entitled to the "unvarnished truth", not spin.

Ms Lowry was the "base line fuel" that the prosecution was using to push their case but she is "very very wanting" Mr Condon said.

He reminded the jury of the evidence of Ms Lowry regarding  the day of Bobby's disappearance. He arrived at her house on June 2, 2011 some time after 9pm.

The following morning they awoke at 6 or 6.15am and he left at about 6.30am. She said there was a delay in Mr Ryan's van crossing the cattle grid at the end of her drive but she couldn't be clear as to how long it took.

He said the prosecution wants the jury to believe this was the time in which Mr Ryan was killed but questioned how, on a June morning in the countryside, nobody heard anything.

Rita Lowry, Mary's mother-in-law and Mary had their windows open, he said. 

Going into the financial relationship, Mr Condon said there was an attempt to use hindsight to adopt the most negative inferences possible around the fact that Ms Lowry left €100,000 to the Quirkes in her will to help with expenses relating to her children.

This was done, he said, with a solicitor and was a normal thing to do considering Imelda Quirke is aunt to Ms Lowry's children and they live nearby.

He said there was also nothing unusual in the rental situation at Fawnagowan or in the fact that Mr Quirke received Single Farm Payments from the EU.

The trial heard that in 2011 Mr Quirke called Tusla, the child and family agency, and claimed that Ms Lowry was neglecting her children.

Mr Condon said the jury could say this was "badness" but he added there is evidence to support Mr Quirke having some concerns for and interest in Ms Lowry's children.

He said this evidence is "of a piece" with relationship break downs and doesn't prove murder. 

Mr Condon will continue his speech to the jury on Tuesday in front of Justice Eileen Creedon.

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