Cable ties and bone fragments found in pit with body of ‘love rival’, court hears

Jury in trial of farmer who denies murdering man to visit land where remains discovered

Patrick Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co. Tipperary,  who is  charged with the murder of  Bobby Ryan (52). Photograph: Collins Courts

Patrick Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co. Tipperary, who is charged with the murder of Bobby Ryan (52). Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A jury in the trial of a farmer who denies murdering his alleged love rival will travel to the farm where the deceased’s body was found on Friday.

The six men and six women spent about two hours on Thursday looking at photographs of a run-off tank, slurry tank and various farm buildings where the body of Bobby Ryan, a DJ who went by the name Mr Moonlight, was found in 2013.

They were also shown a broken hair clip, springs and cable ties found in the pit where Mr Ryan’s body was discovered.

Det Sgt Larry Stapleton told defence counsel Lorcan Staines that bone fragments and hair were recovered along with those items.

Patrick Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 52-year-old Mr Ryan on a date between June 3rd, 2011, and April 2013. He is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Ryan’s body was found in a run-off tank on a farm at Fawnagowan in Tipperary in April 2013.

Bobby Ryan (52) of Boherlahan, near Cashel in south Tipperary, whose remains were found in April 2013.
Bobby Ryan (52) of Boherlahan, near Cashel in south Tipperary, whose remains were found in April 2013.

The prosecution alleges that Mr Quirke had previously had a relationship with Mr Ryan’s then girlfriend and murdered him so that he could rekindle the love affair.

Ms Justice Eileen Creedon told the jury of six men and six women that they would travel to the farm in Tipperary to view the relevant buildings and surrounding land.

She told them that they travel not as investigators but as observers and were therefore not to take photographs or carry out their own experiments. She further suggested that they wear Wellington boots.

Circumstantial evidence

In opening the trial this week prosecution counsel Michael Bowman said the prosecution relies on various strands of circumstantial evidence which, when woven together, would prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Quirke was guilty of murder.

He said the accused started an affair in 2008 with Mary Lowry after the death of her husband Martin, Mr Quirke’s best friend. Mr Quirke is married to Martin Lowry’s sister, Imelda.

Mary Lowry had been left with a farm following her husband’s death but had no interest in farming so Mr Quirke leased about 63 acres from her.

He continued his relationship with Mary Lowry in secret until she ended it in 2010, he said.

In August of that year she met Mr Ryan. They started a relationship and Mr Bowman said Mr Ryan offered Mary Lowry something that the married Mr Quirke could not, a “conventional relationship”.

Mr Bowman said the accused, “did what he felt compelled to do and got rid of his love rival in the hope that he could go back to how things were before Bobby Ryan.”

On April 13th, Mr Quirke said he was trying to get water from a slurry tank when he came across the dead body buried in what Mr Bowman described as a “concrete sarcophagus” inside the tank. He was naked and his clothes, car keys, phone and other belongings have never been found. A postmortem showed that he had suffered blunt force trauma and sustained fractures to his skull, ribs and one leg.

The finding of the body, Mr Bowman said, was “carefully managed, orchestrated and staged” by Mr Quirke, he told the jury.

The trial continues.