'I believed he had been murdered or assaulted before dying where he lay'
A senior garda who attended the scene after the discovery of a body on a farm has told how he looked into a tank and believed the remains he saw were those of Bobby Ryan.
Superintendent Patrick O'Callaghan told the murder trial that as a result of what he saw, he believed Mr Ryan "had been murdered and placed in the tank or he had been placed in the tank as a result of a serious assault and died in the tank".
He said he received a call on April 30, 2013 and went to Mary Lowry's farm at Fawnagowan, Co Tipperary.
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.
When Supt O'Callaghan arrived at the scene, Mr Quirke and his wife Imelda were sitting on a small wall as he walked from the front yard at Mary Lowry's house towards the tank where the remains were found.
One of the flagstones over the tank was "slightly ajar" and a pipe was stuck into the hole, he noted. It was attached to a tanker or slurry spread, which was linked to a tractor.
He looked in and initially saw nothing. He then got down on his knees and lowered his head in and could see the outline of a body. With the aid of a torch he brought with him, he could see a clearer view, he told the trial.
"As a result of what I saw I believe that the person in the tank was Bobby Ryan," he said.
"I believe that he had been murdered and placed in the tank or he had been placed in the tank as a result of a serious assault and died in the tank."
Supt O'Callaghan said he requested that the scene be preserved.
He then called to Mary Lowry's house and told her "exactly what was going on - that the scene was now preserved and I asked her to leave the scene, which she did".
Under cross-examination, he said they had given her some time to "collect her bits and pieces" and he told the court she was "more than willing" to comply.
Later, Garda Conor Ryan pulled the tractor, trailer and pipe away from the scene and released the fluid, in the presence of a garda from the Scenes of Crime unit. Supt O'Callaghan said he saw fluid coming out of the back.
He told the court a discussion had taken place on how best to remove the body given its condition in the tank.
It was decided that they would lift the roof off, because the fire service had indicated they would not enter the tank unless the roof had been taken off.
The body was then taken from the tank and initially placed on the ground before being placed in a body bag and then removed to Waterford hospital.
Earlier, in completion of cross-examination, Gda Ryan denied making an additional statement as recently as last week to help out a colleague or look for "extra glory".
Defence Counsel Bernard Condon asked Garda Ryan why he had made eight previous statements and not mentioned seeing bales of silage near the tank where Mr Ryan's remains were uncovered until a ninth statement last week.
Garda Ryan said it had not crossed his mind before then.