Wednesday 16 October 2019

'Love rival' trial: Murder accused told farm labourer he heard rumour 'Polish people were involved in Bobby Ryan killing'

Pat Quirke arrives at court. Picture: Collins
Pat Quirke arrives at court. Picture: Collins
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A FARM labourer has told the Tipperary murder trial that Pat Quirke told him he had heard a rumour that "Polish people were involved in the murder of Bobby Ryan."

Gary Cunningham said he had started out doing a work placement on Mr Quirke's farm at Breanshamore, Co Tipperary in February 2013, milking and feeding cows.

Patrick Quirke (50), of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan (52), a part-time DJ known as Mr Moonlight, on a date between June 3, 2011, and April 2013.

Asked about the spreading of slurry on the farm at Fawnagowan, Gary Cunningham said he carried it out when he was there, using a tractor on the back of a tanker.

Mary Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin
Mary Lowry. Photo: Tony Gavin

Asked about the tank where the body was found, he said was not aware of that tank.

Asked if it was ever used in his knowledge when he was there, he said no.

Mr Cunningham was asked if he was working on the day the body was recovered. He said that he was not, as he had got a kick from a cow the Friday before.

He was out for about two or three days, he said.

Together: Patrick Quirke on his way into court yesterday with his wife Imelda. Photo: Collins Courts
Together: Patrick Quirke on his way into court yesterday with his wife Imelda. Photo: Collins Courts

David Humphries BL for the Prosecution asked how he was after that.

"I was limping. I got a fair kick. I couldn't walk," said Mr Cunningham.

Pat Quirke. Photo: Collins
Pat Quirke. Photo: Collins

Asked if he ever had a conversation with Mr Quirke about the spreading of slurry, he said they had a general discussion about slurry going to be spread in the fields.

Mr Humphries asked him to explain the process for members of the jury who might not be aware of how it is done and Mr Cunningham explained that there is a propeller on the agitator which drops into the tank, "it's the same if you're whisking or baking or something - it mixes it up."

Mr Cunningham said he had returned to work the day after the body was found.

Asked if he recalled anything that happened, he said he went up to collect the tractor and vacuum tanker from Fawnagowan as it needed to go back to the Quirke home farm. He said it was "around the back of the farm somewhere."

Asked if the tank had ever been mentioned to him by Mr Quirke, he said no, nor had he never been asked by Mr Quirke to fence around that tank, he said.

Mr Humphries asked if he recalled any conversation touching on the matter of Bobby Ryan in the few days after the body discovered.

He replied that he did. "One quick conversation," he said. Mr Quirke had asked him if he had heard any rumours about what had happened.

"I brushed it off and didn't really say anything," said Mr Cunningham.

"He said he heard there was a Polish group and that was it, that was the end of the conversation."

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