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Patrick Quirke found guilty of murder of Bobby Ryan in 'love rival' trial

The jury found the 50-year-old guilty following the longest murder trial in the history of the State.

Patrick Quirke
Patrick Quirke
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated May 1st 2019, 4:08 PM

PATRICK QUIRKE HAS been convicted of the murder of Bobby Ryan in what has become known as the ‘love rival’ trial. 

The jury of six men and six women today found Patrick Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary guilty of killing Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ going by the name Mr Moonlight, in June 2011. 

The jury found him guilty by a ten to two majority jury verdict at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Ryan went missing on 3 June 2011 after leaving his girlfriend Mary Lowry’s home at about 6.30am. His body was found in an underground run-off tank on the farm owned by Ms Lowry and leased by the accused at Fawnagown, Tipperary 22 months later in April 2013.

Quirke had pleaded not guilty to the charge. 

Following the verdict Mr Ryan’s son Robert and daughter Michelle and their mother Mary Ryan, who have attended every day of the trial, wept and comforted one another. 

Quirke was led away by prison guards followed by his legal team and his wife Imelda, who has also been present throughout the trial.

During the lengthy trial, the prosecution claimed that Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle an affair with Ms Lowry (52), while the defence contended the prosecution had failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The only two verdicts open to the jury were: guilty of murder or, alternatively, not guilty.  

In her charge to the jury, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon told them that they must not be influenced by emotion, sympathy, anger or disgust, and must treat circumstantial evidence against the accused with care.    

Evidence in the trial, the longest murder trial in the history of the State, lasted for 13 weeks amid lengthy legal argument carried out in the absence of the jury. Barristers for the prosecution and defence took five days to complete their closing speeches to the jury who took 20 hours and 31 minutes to come to their decision.

Justice Creedon thanked the jury and exempted them from further service for life, telling them they had shown “exceptional patience”.

Following the verdict, Mr Ryan’s daughter Michelle delivered an emotional statement in which she said:

We will carry you with us in our hearts for the rest of our lives. So until we meet again Moonlight, know how much you are loved and sorely missed every day.”

Michelle told the court her family’s lives and world were torn apart the day her dad, whom she described as “wow”, went missing. His disappearance and death are a “torment constantly with us, a black hole with us every day”.

They wonder, she said, if her dad called out for help and when they close their eyes to sleep they see him with fear in his eyes before waking up from the nightmare.

Knowing how he died and where he lay for those 22 months “rips us apart”, she said, adding: “We don’t have a life any more, just an existence.”

She described her father as a loving dad and a loving grandfather who was adored by his grandchildren.

They can’t understand why their “Granda Bob” was there one day and gone the next.

Some day, they will have to explain to them how he was taken. She said the family will never doubt how much he loved them and she can’t put into words how much they love him. Their “precious memories of him will never be taken”.

She added: “This has consumed our lives and we will live with this for the rest of our lives.”

Outside court, Ryan hugged her brother Robert and told the media:

“We got justice for Daddy today. It will never bring him back but we hope that he is at rest.”
“We would like to thank Mr [Michael] Bowman and his prosecution team and also Superintendent Patrick O’Callaghan and the team in Tipperary for working tirelessly on this case to get justice for our father. We would also like to thank the members of the public for all their continued support and kind words they have given us throughout this ordeal and one of the hardest times of our lives.”
“We would also like to thank, most importantly, all of our family and friends who have stood by us the whole time every step of the way. Without them we would be lost. We would like to thank them sincerely. We also ask at this time that the media respect our privacy and let this sink in. Thank you.”

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About the author:

Eoin Reynolds

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