Assault case dropped against slurry tank body farmer
A farmer who discovered the body of a murder victim in a slurry tank has had a charge of assaulting the man's former partner withdrawn.
Pat Quirke (44) had all three charges against him withdrawn at Tipperary District Court after Judge Elizabeth MacGrath was told that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) issued the directive having considered the garda file for the past month.
The garda investigation into the murder of Bobby Ryan (52) remains ongoing.
Mr Ryan's body was discovered at Fawnagown, some 5km outside Tipperary town, on April 30 2013 by Mr Quirke.
The farmer had been leasing farmland from mother-of-three Mary Lowry whose husband Martin died in 2007 after a long battle with cancer.
She had subsequently become involved in a relationship with Mr Ryan who was a popular DJ in Tipperary and Limerick and was known by his stage name, Mr Moonlight.
He had been seeing Ms Lowry for around 10 months when he vanished.
The father-of-two went missing on June 3, 2011 after leaving his home shortly after 6am to go to work at Killough Quarry outside Thurles.
He never arrived at work and his family immediately expressed fears over his safety.
Mr Ryan's Citroen van was found some time later in woodland near Bansha and his family became convinced he had been the victim of foul play.
A huge search operation was mounted for the 52-year-old which included posters being placed in shops and on telegraph poles within a 10km radius of his home.
The DJ's body was discovered almost two years later by Mr Quirke who immediately alerted gardai.
Mr Quirke was out diluting slurry when he spotted the human remains in the pit.
A post-mortem examination indicated that Mr Ryan had been battered to death before his body was dumped.
Mr Quirke, of Breanshamore, Tipperary, was charged last year with assault causing harm to Ms Lowry (46) at Fawnagown, Tipperary town between August 1 and 31, 2012.
Mr Quirke had also been charged with burglary at the same address and handling stolen goods on December 3, 2012.
Mr Quirke is Mrs Lowry's former brother-in-law.
The charges followed a garda investigation into complaints of burglary at Mary Lowry's home.
The woman had become so fearful of her personal safety at Fawnagown that she had a CCTV security system installed.
Sgt Cathal Godfrey told Tipperary District Court the case file was submitted to the DPP in late March. "The DPP has directed that all three charges now be withdrawn."
The sergeant said that gardai would now make preparations for the return to Mr Quirke of any personal possessions held as part of their investigation.