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Friday 19 September 2014

'Jealous stalker' is suspect for slurry tank murder

Barry Duggan and Tom Brady

Published 02/05/2013 | 05:00

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Garda forensics officers examining the slurry tank where the body was discovered at the back of the farm in Fawnagown outside Tipperary town
Garda forensics officers examining the slurry tank where the body was discovered at the back of the farm in Fawnagown outside Tipperary town
Bobby Ryan
Bobby Ryan
A ‘missing’ poster remains on a pole in Tipperary
A ‘missing’ poster remains on a pole in Tipperary

A man whose remains were discovered in a disused slurry tank had been warned to stay away from his partner by a jealous stalker in the months before he disappeared, the Irish Independent has learned.

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The man obsessed with Mary Lowry, the partner of Bobby Ryan – who had been missing for almost two years – is at the centre of a garda investigation after human remains were found on a Tipperary farm.

The body of Bobby Ryan (52) was recovered from the slurry tank at Ms Lowry's farm in Fawnagown, Co Tipperary, on Tuesday.

A post-mortem has confirmed that Mr Ryan died violently, but the details have not been released by gardai.

Bobby Ryan (52) was reported missing on June 3, 2011, after he left the Fawnagown farm outside Tipperary town and failed to turn up for work.

While investigations are at an early stage, the Irish Independent understands that a middle-aged man from Tipperary is at the centre of garda inquiries.

It is suspected that the man was envious of the relationship between the Mr Ryan and Ms Lowry.

The body was found by Patrick Quirke, who leased part of Ms Lowry's farm, in the disused slurry tank on Tuesday afternoon.

The discovery was then reported to gardai before Mr Ryan's family was alerted.

The disused tank, where the body lay, had been covered over by a concrete slab.

Ms Lowry – a widow in her early 40s – was Bobby Ryan's partner at the time of his disappearance.

The Irish Independent has also learned that Ms Lowry's home was broken into on a number of occasions over the last year.

Disappearance

Gardai are now investigating whether the break-ins to the rural property and the disappearance of Mr Ryan are linked.

Officers are examining footage from CCTV cameras that were privately installed by Ms Lowry at her house after the initial break-in to find out if they can identify the culprit.

Gardai believe that Mr Ryan will not be positively identified as the victim until DNA tests have been carried out.

The initial post-mortem examination by deputy state pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar yesterday failed to produce a firm identification, but gardai are in no doubt that they are the remains of Mr Ryan.

The scene at the farm, along the Tipperary-Bansha road remained sealed off yesterday as forensic investigations continued.

For almost two years, the family of Mr Ryan, assisted by hundreds of volunteers, searched in vain for his body across Tipperary.

Gardai had searched the farm where the remains were recovered, but never found anything.

John Ryan – Bobby's brother – told the Irish Independent yesterday that the family is anxiously awaiting the outcome of DNA testing to formally establish if the body is the missing man.

Further testing is ongoing.

"There has to be DNA identification. It could be today or tomorrow, they just don't know," he said.

"They were looking for his dental records.

"The post mortem is going on since 11am this morning. The guards have to wait on the result of that before deciding what to do next," Mr Ryan said.

"It (the discovery) is a relief in one sense. I was waiting for this phone call for the last two years but when I got it on Tuesday, I said, 'Jesus why did the phone ring'.

"It was still a big shock," he said.

Mr Ryan said that when his brother's remains are formally identified, it is still only half the battle for his family

"That is all. It will never bring him back. He didn't deserve to die like that.

"We have to get justice for Bobby, somebody has questions to answer," Mr Ryan added.

Irish Independent

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