Tuesday 22 October 2019

Bobby Ryan's body suffered no injury while being removed from tank, Tipperary 'love rival' murder trial hears

Murder victim Bobby Ryan
Murder victim Bobby Ryan
Patrick Quirke pictured leaving court with his wife, Imelda. Picture: Collins
Mary Lowry outside court. Photo: Collins Courts
Patrick Quirke has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan. Photo: Collins Courts
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

BOBBY Ryan's body suffered no injury in the process of removing his body from the tank, Chief Superintendent Dominic Hayes told the Tipperary murder trial.

The jury heard that Mr Ryan's phone 'pinged' for the last time at 10.19 am on the day of his disappearance.

Patrick Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan (52) on a date between June 3 2011 and April 2013.

Chief Superintendent Dominic Hayes said he was 'very sure' there were no injuries were inflicted on the body from falling debris when the concrete slab of the tank broke - though he conceded that Mr Ryan's right arm had subsequently become detached.

He told the court that he was present when the digger was put in place and in preparation for the lid being lifted, had removed as much as he could of the clay that was covering the tank.

"Whilst some very minor debris did fall in on the tank, no large piece of debris or concrete fell on Mr Ryan," he said.

Asked why he did not mention this in his statement, he said it was not possible from him to make a statement regarding questions or issues that may arise.

Lorcan Staines SC for the Defence put it to him that Professor Jack Crane, the former State Pathologist of Northern Ireland had said that he could not exclude the possibility of the fracture of Mr Ryan's leg occurring if a large heavy piece of concrete fell on his remains.

However Superintendent Hayes said: "No it certainly wasn't caused by any debris falling in the removal." He added that the construction of the tank would prohibit pieces of large debris falling onto Mr Ryan.

Put to him that the lid shattered, he said: "The lid broke but it broke back on itself."

And he explained that the lid was made on sheets of corrugated steel that still remained in situ, and the tank was heavily reinforced with bars, as were the lids.

Mr Staines asked if he was suggesting that the lid was cast on concrete and Superintendent Hayes went to demonstrate on a photograph of the tank, pointing out corrugated steel that was visible.

Counsel again asked if he was suggesting that the steel remained and the garda said that it did.

From his observations, he thought the body was fully clothed, he said.

He earlier told Michael Bowman SC for the Prosecution that he observed the body lying 'in what appeared to be sludge' and was satisfied that a health and safety risk was present and when the fire brigade arrived, they sought their expertise in removing the body from the tank.

On trial: The accused Patrick Quirke (50) at court with his wife Imelda. Photo: Collins

Asked how the body appeared physically, he said it was very badly decomposed and was lying face down.

"From my observation of both the body in the tank and when it was removed, it was not apparent to me that it was naked," he said.

Meanwhile under cross examination, he agreed that the Heritage hotel in Portlaoise had confirmed that Imelda and Patrick Quirke had stayed there on June 3 and 4 2011 for Imelda's birthday at a cost of €641. The package was booked on May 8 2011.

Phone records suggested Patrick's phone pinged off masts in Portlaoise from 13.56 on June 3 2011, continuing until 16.50 on June 5 2011.

He provided his fingerprints and DNA to gardai "without objection."

Superintendent Hayes also confirmed that Mr Quirke had no previous criminal record. He also agreed that 'various difficulties' arose between Mary Lowry and Patrick Quirke between 2011 and 2013, which resulted him in being charged with two burglaries and possession of the key of her house.

However the DPP directed the charges be dropped. Superintendent Hayes agreed.

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