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Friday 29 August 2014

Gardai probe farm robbery link to slurry tank murder suspect

Barry Duggan and Tom Brady

Published 04/05/2013 | 05:00

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Gardai continue searching the farm in Fawnagown, Co Tipperary, where Bobby Ryan’s body was discovered.

GARDAI are investigating if a robbery at a farm where the remains of slain Bobby Ryan were found was committed by a jealous stalker who is central to the murder probe.

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Mary Lowry was the partner of Mr Ryan (52), whose murdered body was found in a disused slurry tank at the rear of her home in Fawnagown, Co Tipperary, on Tuesday.

Ms Lowry's home was broken into on a number of occasions in recent years and gardai suspect that a man obsessed with her is responsible for one of the crimes.

During one incident, the farmhouse on the Tipperary-Bansha road was burgled on March 15 last, while Ms Lowry attended her father's funeral.

Investigating officers believe the person responsible had prior knowledge that Ms Lowry – a widower with three children – would be absent.

Less than two months later, the body of Mr Ryan, who has been missing since June 3, 2011, was recovered in a slurry tank at the rear of the property.

Gardai are to mount an operation early next week in a bid to jog people's memories about what they might have seen on the day Mr Ryan disappeared.

They are particularly anxious to hear from members of the public, who might have spotted him or spoke to him that day.

Mr Ryan left his partner's home shortly after 6am on the morning he disappeared. Despite numerous searches of the surrounding area, his decomposed remains were only discovered last Tuesday by farmer Pat Quirke, who leased land from Ms Lowry.

Gardai had not searched it previously as part of their inquiries into Mr Ryan's disappearance because they did not know it existed. The tank had been covered by undergrowth and a concrete slab.

It is believed the tank had not been used since the death of Ms Lowry's husband, Martin, in 2007.

As part of their investigations, gardai are re-examining footage from a CCTV system which Ms Lowry had secretly installed at her home following recent security issues.

The stalker, who is a suspect for a burglary, also warned Mr Ryan to stay away from Ms Lowry in the months before he disappeared.

It is believed that he was envious of their relationship. The murder investigation is set to be a lengthy one as officers continue their painstaking search of the slurry tank and surrounding farmland. The scene remained sealed off yesterday for a fourth consecutive day as garda investigations continued.

Mr Ryan, a separated father of two grown-up children, was best known for his weekend work as a DJ where he went by the stagename, Mr Moonlight.

For almost two years, the victim's brother John Ryan, has made numerous appeals for information on the whereabouts of the missing grandfather.

John Ryan said he last saw his brother on the Wednesday night before he disappeared.

"I dropped him home. He was in 100pc great form. 'I'll see ya,' was the last thing he said to me," Mr Ryan said.

Irish Independent

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