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'Sex on demand' remark hurt Quirke's defence, moonlight appeal hears

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Patrick Quirke is appealing his murder conviction on 52 grounds

Patrick Quirke is appealing his murder conviction on 52 grounds

Patrick Quirke is appealing his murder conviction on 52 grounds

Remarks by a garda that killer Patrick Quirke got "cash on demand" and "sex on demand" from his former lover Mary Lowry were "highly prejudicial" to him during his trial, the Court of Appeal has heard.

On the second day of Quirke's appeal against his conviction for the murder of love rival Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ known as Mr Moonlight, his legal team questioned the admission into evidence of various comments made by gardaí.

In particular, his counsel, Bernard Condon, focused on "mocking" and "prurient" questions and remarks made during interviews when Quirke was arrested for the harassment of Ms Lowry in January 2014.

He said gardaí made "the most prejudicial and emotive assertions".

"You are basically taking Mary Lowry to the cleaners" was one comment. "Yes, but you could be seen to be taking advantage" was another.

Other comments complained of by Mr Condon included: "Were you not getting cash on demand and sex on demand?"; "This was putting the boot in on Mary Lowry" and "I am putting it to you that you had used Mary in every way."

The issue is among 52 grounds of appeal submitted by Quirke's lawyers to the court.

Mr Condon said that while it might be permitted to enter such comments into evidence in a trial for harassment, they should not have been included in a murder trial.

"We say there was little or no probative value to these repeated comments," he said.

The result of them being admitted was the impression given to the jury that Quirke was "a bad person and did bad things to Mary Lowry".

The barrister claimed trial judge Ms Justice Eileen Creed-on had allowed the "cash on demand, sex on demand" remark "without any particular reason or analysis".

Quirke, a 51-year-old farmer from Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, was jailed for life last year for Mr Ryan's murder.

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

Although married, Quirke had previously had an affair with her.

The prosecution said 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 had been renting Ms Lowry's farm and invested €80,000 of her money in financial instruments known as contracts for difference (CFDs).

He had shared in the proceeds from the investment.

Gardaí suggested this was "another example" of him having control over a "vulnerable woman".

Subsidy

During one interview, Quirke told gardaí he received a single farm payment of €8,000 a year for the land he leased from Ms Lowry and that it was a normal arrangement for the subsidy payment to go to the farmer and not the landowner.

Mr Condon said the admission of questions and answers about the CFDs, the single farm payments and Ms Lowry's cash flow was wrong.

The evidence "amounted to bald assertions" by Ms Lowry, who he claimed had given a "wildly inconsistent accounts of events".

The appeal continues today.