Gardaí found no evidence during initial search for DJ, court hears

Murder trial hears evidence of efforts to locate missing ‘Mr Moonlight’ in Co Tipperary

Days after DJ Bobby Ryan went missing, gardaí searched the farmland where he would be found almost two years later, but found no evidence of what happened to him, a murder trial has heard.

Farmer Patrick Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Ryan, a part-time DJ going by the name Mr Moonlight, on a date between June 3rd, 2011 and April 2013.

The deceased went missing in June 2011 and his body was found in April 2013 in a disused waste water tank on a farm at Fawnagowan owned by his girlfriend Mary Lowry and farmed by Mr Quirke.

At the Central Criminal Court on Monday, Sergeant Cathal Godfrey told prosecution counsel David Humphries BL he was in charge of a search of the land at Fawnagowan.


Sgt Godfrey said he knew Ms Lowry had told gardaí that Mr Ryan stayed at her home the night before he disappeared and left at about 6.30am.

On June 7th, 2011 Sgt Godfrey and several other gardaí searched a quarry, fields, tanks, ditches, hedges, farm buildings and sheds looking for anything that might assist in what was at that time a missing person enquiry.

They found “nothing of evidential value”, he said. They did find a slurry tank but, he told Bernard Condon SC, defending, there was not enough material in it to hide a body.

Frequent heavy rain interrupted the search, he said.

Garda Michael Fitzgerald was part of the search party and told defence counsel Lorcan Staines SC they found a gold-coloured Toyota Corolla in one of the sheds.

It was dirty inside and out, he said, and the boot was open. He looked through the car but found nothing.

The trial has previously heard Mr Ryan bought the car for Ms Lowry’s sons as a “field car” for driving on the farm.

Each of the gardaí told the court they did not take photographs during the search.

Garda Tom Neville said he was in Tipperary Garda station when Michelle Ryan, daughter of the deceased, came to report that he was missing.

Later that afternoon, Garda Neville was on his way to Ms Lowry’s home as part of the investigation when he received a call to say Mr Ryan’s van had been found at a carpark leading into the nearby Kilshane Woods, so he went there instead.

On arrival, he and a colleague discovered that Michelle Ryan was in the woods searching for her father. Ms Lowry was alone in the car park and she told Garda Neville she had opened the rear door of the van looking for Mr Ryan.

The trial continues in front of Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of six men and six women.