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Killer's appeal Murder of Bobby Ryan was driven by 'love and money,' Court of Appeal told

On the third day of Patrick Quirke’s appeal against his conviction for murder, the prosecution responded to claims that gardai investigating the murder had an “agenda” and that Quirke was prejudiced by irrelevant evidence.

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Patrick Quirke

Patrick Quirke

Patrick Quirke

The murder of Bobby Ryan was driven by the “oldest motive in the world - love and money,” the Court of Appeal has heard.

On the third day of Patrick Quirke’s appeal against his conviction for murder, the prosecution responded to claims that gardai investigating the murder had an “agenda” and that Quirke was prejudiced by irrelevant evidence.

“In the circumstantial case, context is everything,” barrister Michael Bowman said, in setting out why details about the relationship between Mary Lowry and Patrick Quirke was important evidence in the trial.

Mr Bowman disputed the defence argument that the “Dear Patricia” letter, a letter Quirke wrote to a newspaper agony aunt about the breakdown of his relationship with Ms Lowry, was enough to establish motive.

Mr Bowman said the “taking of the phone”, a reference to Quirke taking Ms Lowry’s mobile phone and texting Bobby Ryan, was a “tremendous moment of consequence” which was not referenced in Dear Patricia.

“Nor was the fact that he was “deriving a revenue stream from Mary Lowry,” said Mr Bowman.

“In Dear Patricia he (Quirke) didn’t detail the extent of the relationship at all.”

In part of his submissions on Tuesday, Quirke’s defence barrister Bernard Condon BL, said his reason for seeking to limit the material put to the jury was so the case would not “degenerate into a family law dispute”.

He said it was within the prosecution’s gift to limit the chance of prejudice occurring.

Mr Ryan (52) disappeared on the morning of June 3, 2011 after spending the night at his girlfriend Mary Lowry's home in Fawnagowan, Co Tipperary.

Although married, Quirke had previously had an affair with Ms Lowry.

It was the prosecution’s case that Quirke killed Mr Ryan and hid his body in a run-off tank on Ms Lowry’s lands so he could rekindle the affair. Quirke was said to have staged his discovery of the body two years later when his lease on the land was about to end.

The defence have claimed Quirke subjected to "mocking" and "prurient" questioning in garda interviews, the transcripts of which should not have been put before a jury.

Mr Bowman said he wanted to be very clear that there could be “no suggestion of the defendant being oppressed” at any stage during garda interviews.

He said Quirke had repeatedly presented himself for questioning on a voluntary basis and suggesting that he had been “blaggarded or was being unfairly treated” stood in marked contrast to “his willingness to go back in again.”

“No one had an agenda,” he added.

Mr Bowman said that after agreement with the defence, “quite a lot of material” had been taken out of the various garda interviews when they went before the trial jury.

“It wasn’t the case of the prosecution being pig-headed and saying everything goes in,” he said about the concessions that were made.

“We accommodated as best we could and when we took a view in relation to something, we asked the judge to mitigate and the judge ruled. She was perfectly entitled to rule as she did.”

In relation to a comment made by gardaí during an interview with Quirke, where it was put to him that he was “getting cash on demand and sex on demand” from Mary Lowry, Mr Bowman said the prosecution case had been made clear.

He said: “Inevitably it was always the prosecution position that the motive here is, and I’m not saying sex and cash, but certainly the oldest motive in the world – love and money.”

Earlier, in concluding defence submissions to the court, Bernard Condon BL argued that the judge who issued a warrant for the search of killer Patrick Quirke’s home was “kept in the dark” by gardaí over their intention to seize his computer.

A number of incriminating Google searches were found to have been made on the computer, including “rate of human decomposition” and “human body decomposition timeline”.

Mr Condon said the search warrant was obtained by Detective Sergeant John Keane from Judge Elizabeth McGrath of the District Court on May 13, 2013, but was not executed until the morning of May 17.

The night before it was executed, Quirke was interviewed voluntarily by gardaí, and only left the garda station after 1am.

Mr Condon said that when getting the warrant, gardaí did not tell the judge they intended invite Quirke back in for interview on May 16, before the execution of the warrant.

The barrister said that during the trial Superintendent Patrick O’Callaghan testified he had requested that Det Sgt Keane ensure computers be searched for at the Quirke home.

However, no mention of computers was made in the search warrant, he said.

Mr Condon questioned the adequacy of the information provided to Judge McGrath.

He said it was clear a computer was what the gardaí were looking for, but no mention of this was made to the judge and there had been no explanation as to why she was not told.

The appeal continues before Mr Justice George Birmingham, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.

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