Thursday, 2 Feb 2023

'Love rival' murder trial: Curious collection of objects shown to court looked more like set of archaeological artifacts

The photographs shown to the jury displayed an unremarkable and rather familiar scene. It was that of an ordinary, tidy-looking farmyard in the Tipperary countryside, no different to countless similar farms around the country.

An aerial shot taken by gardaí investigating this case showed the property to be a rather expansive appearance.

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There were a number of outbuildings. A green tractor and an old car.

In the background, a mound of discarded tyres.

Images from inside the house showed it to be rather dishevelled, with opened drawers.

The only thing out of the ordinary that was shown to the jury, perhaps, was the image of a curious, rather miscellaneous, collection of objects gardaí say they uncovered in the investigation of a small run-off tank on the farm at Fawnagowan, Co Tipperary.

On a sheet, the investigators had laid them out to be captured by the Garda photographer, for all the world like some archaeological artifacts.

Among them was a broken plastic tortoiseshell women’s hair clip and a number of cable ties, as well as a spring.

The pieces of the hair clip were laid on the wooden plinth before the jury of six men and six women, for their examination.

They gazed at it, for now, uncomprehending, because the relevance of the item has yet to be made clear.

Also laid out before them on the plinth, by a garda wearing latex gloves, was a single blue button.

Crime scene investigator Detective Sgt Larry Stapleton was asked to describe it to the court, to put it on the record.

It was a blue button with a white centre, he explained.

Again, the relevance of this item has yet to made clear in the course of the trial.

There were a variety of other small items laid out on the sheet, as photographed by Garda Gerry Carthy.

The barrister asked Garda Carthy about an item that was pictured beside the collection of small items.

The Garda photographer craned his neck.

To observers in the benches of the courtroom, it seemed to have the appearance of a corroded black pipe.

But he thought it was of no relevance, Garda Carthy said, at last.

If it had, it would have been laid out on the sheet along with the rest, he explained.

Throughout it all, the defendant Patrick Quirke (50) sat listening to the evidence.

He was smartly dressed in a shirt and tie.

A number of members of the public and family members were in court on day two of this trial, before Judge Eileen Creedon.

Everybody listened to what was being said and digested, in silence, the news that the jury will travel today to the tidy Tipperary farm, the scene of this investigation.

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