The late Bobby Ryan (left) and Patrick Quirke (right), both from County Tipperary
Tipperary farmer Patrick Quirke has been given a date in October to bring an appeal against his conviction for the murder of Bobby Ryan.
Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, County Tipperary, had denied murdering Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ going by the name ‘Mr Moonlight’, who went missing on June 3, 2011, after leaving his girlfriend Mary Lowry’s house at about 6.30am.
The body of Mr Ryan was subsequently found in an underground run-off tank on the farm owned by Ms Lowry and leased by Quirke at Fawnagown, 22 months later, in April 2013.
It was the prosecution’s case that Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle a love affair with Ms Lowry (52) and that he subsequently “staged” the discovery of the DJ’s body after Ms Lowry tried to terminate his lease at Fawnagowan.
Quirke’s lawyers contended that the prosecution had failed to prove their case beyond mere suspicion. They pointed to “inconsistencies” in Ms Lowry’s evidence, and claimed she was “not a reliable witness”.
A Central Criminal Court jury took 20 hours and 39 minutes to return a majority guilty verdict earlier this year. Quirke was accordingly given the mandatory life sentence by Ms Justice Eileen Creedon on May 1, 2019.
Quirke has lodged an appeal against his conviction, which was given a date for hearing in the Court of Appeal on Monday.
President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham fixed October 13 as the date for the appeal hearing, which is expected to last four days.
During 13 weeks of evidence that was frequently interrupted by legal argument, the jury learned that Quirke started farming the land at Fawnagowan following the death of Ms Lowry’s husband, Martin, in September 2007. Martin Lowry had been best man at Quirke’s wedding.
In early 2008, Quirke and Ms Lowry began a sexual relationship that Ms Lowry described as "seedy" and "sordid" and something she regretted.
In August 2010, Ms Lowry met Bobby Ryan at a dance, who she described as “fun”, “funny” and “a breath of fresh air”.
When Quirke found out about their relationship, he told gardaí that he was angry and hurt. He took Ms Lowry's phone and texted Mr Ryan to tell him that he was in a relationship with her and she had not been honest. He then called Mr Ryan and told him: "I'm the man.”
On June 2, 2011, Mr Ryan called to Ms Lowry's home some time after 9pm. He stayed the night and left around 6.30am. Ms Lowry, who waited to hear his van cross the cattle grid at the end of her drive, later told gardaí that he took longer than usual to drive away. He was not seen alive again.
Quirke claimed his affair with Ms Lowry resumed in August 2011 and that the following month, they stayed in the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, County Waterford, something Ms Lowry said she couldn’t remember.
In December 2012, Ms Lowry’s solicitor sent a letter to Quirke asking to terminate the lease at Fawnagowan. He agreed to leave that June.
In April, Quirke called his wife Imelda to say he had found a body in a disused waste tank at Fawnagowan. Imelda arrived shortly afterwards and called Garda Tom Neville. Quirke gave a voluntary cautioned statement to gardaí and denied knowing how Ryan's body ended up in the tank.