Thursday 21 November 2019

Mr Moonlight murder: 'we're getting on with things as best you can' - Bobby Ryan's family six months on from trial

Trauma of harrowing evidence haunts bereaved loved ones

Bobby Ryan’s children Robert and Michelle hold a photo of their murdered father outside court. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Bobby Ryan’s children Robert and Michelle hold a photo of their murdered father outside court. Picture: Steve Humphreys
High-profile case: Pat Quirke – pictured with his wife Imelda – during the trial. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Gardaí at the scene of the crime. Photo: Press 22

Nicola Anderson and Ralph Riegel

As a murderous tale of jealousy, treachery and brutality unspooled in a stuffy courtroom, it was a trial that gripped the nation.

Six months on from the sensational jailing of wealthy dairy farmer Pat Quirke for the merciless slaying of 'Mr Moonlight' Bobby Ryan, the pain has not diminished for Bobby's heartbroken loved ones.

The family are doing "as well as to be expected", said his son Robert from his home in Co Cork, with the sounds of his young children playing in the background.

"We're getting on with things as best you can," he said.

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For Robert and his sister Michelle, the loss of their deeply beloved dad and the trauma of the trial - particularly the harrowing evidence they had to sit through - still weighs very heavily on their minds.

They were particularly devastated by the pathology report that detailed the severe head injuries viciously delivered to their father by Quirke.

The brother and sister were widely praised for their courage and dignity after they appeared on 'The Late Late Show' after the trial.

While Quirke (50) is taking his case to the Court of Appeal and the Ryans are pursuing their own legal action - suing him through the civil courts - Robert insisted he knew no details about either action.

READ MORE: Mr Moonlight murder: Echoes of OJ Simpson lawsuit as Bobby Ryan's children take civil case against Patrick Quirke

The family are instead focusing now on rebuilding their lives, while keeping their cherished memories of 'Moonlight' alive.

Meanwhile, the community of Breanshamore and wider Co Tipperary have had their own trauma to deal with in the fallout of the trial.

They are also slowly picking up the pieces after having an unwelcome spotlight shone on them for the course of the 15-week trial.

Mary Glasheen. Picture: Collins
Mary Glasheen. Picture: Collins

Bobby's former partner Mary Glasheen - who gave evidence to the court - insisted justice was done over the murder conviction handed down to his killer.

Ms Glasheen, who remained good friends with Mr Ryan after their brief relationship ended, told the Irish Independent yesterday that the publicity over the case has been very tough for everyone in Tipperary.

"It has been very difficult - it has been very tough," she said.

"I really don't want to comment on it.

"Justice was done - that's all I have to say," she added.

She said she had not heard anything about the impending appeal by Quirke over his murder conviction, but said she hoped an appeal would not put the families and community through a re-run of the longest running murder trial in Irish history, with such upsetting details.

The case ranks as one of the highest profile murder cases in the country's criminal history.

"I haven't heard anything [about an appeal] so I just don't know. I've nothing to say about it," she said.

Ms Glasheen had a brief relationship with Mr Ryan before he began seeing Mary Lowry, the widow of local dairy farmer Martin Lowry who had died in September 2007.

The relationship between the part-time DJ and widow became a source of intense jealousy for Quirke who, despite being married to Martin Lowry's sister Imelda, had been conducting a secret affair with his sister-in-law.

READ MORE: 'I'm not getting in the middle' - Mary Lowry refuses to be involved in civil cases against killer Patrick Quirke

Friends said Mary Lowry was incredibly vulnerable after the death from cancer of her husband.

Before he was charged with the murder of Mr Ryan on June 3, 2011, Quirke had been charged with assaulting Mary but the assault charge was later dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions as they proceeded with the murder trial.

Ms Glasheen had a brief relationship with Mr Ryan, who was a quarry worker but operated as a part-time DJ under the moniker 'Mr Moonlight', which began in January 2008 and ended in March, just three months later.

The Tipperary woman described Mr Ryan during the trial as "bubbly, kind, liked dancing and was happy".

At one point, when Mr Ryan was going to a music event by the show band The Indians in Bundoran, Donegal, with Mary Lowry he kindly invited her along to accompany them.

Ms Glasheen declined to travel to the event as she felt they were going as a couple and that her presence "wouldn't be nice" for them.

Despite the ending of their relationship in 2008, she would occasionally meet Mr Ryan for lunch or for a coffee in Tipperary Town to have a chat and catch up on some news and she was "delighted" Mr Ryan had met "somebody he was happy with".

However, the murder trial was not allowed to hear Ms Glasheen's evidence of a conversation she had with Mr Ryan where he revealed to her a threatening phone call had been made by Quirke over his blossoming relationship with Mary Lowry.

"[Quirke] had threatened Bobby over the phone which he later told me about. However, I was not given a chance to use it as evidence in court because it was deemed to be hearsay," she said.

Ms Glasheen said the court proceedings had been exceptionally difficult for almost everyone in Tipperary.

Irish Independent

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