Wednesday 21 August 2019

Victim's daughter reveals how trauma led family to move away

FAMILY: Michelle Ryan with her father Bobby
FAMILY: Michelle Ryan with her father Bobby
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

The daughter of murder victim Bobby Ryan has said the pain of losing her father forced the family to leave their home and community in Tipperary.

Michelle Ryan and her brother Robert both left for Cork in the wake of their father's death. Michelle spoke yesterday about the trauma inflicted on the family, her panic attacks at the thought of giving evidence in court and how she still wonders why her father was killed.

She said the family would never forgive Pat Quirke.

"When I last saw Daddy, I'd have wrapped him up in cotton wool and taken him away if we knew then what we know now," she told Marian Finucane on RTE Radio One yesterday.

"Hate is a very strong word and I don't like using it. I will never, ever forgive that man for taking our world away from us."

A jury at the Central Criminal Court returned a majority verdict of 10-2 last Wednesday afternoon after deliberating for more than 20 hours. It came after the longest murder trial in the history of the State.

Quirke (50), of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, had denied murdering father-of-two and part-time DJ Mr Ryan (52) on a date between June 3, 2011 and April 2013.

Michelle said her father was at the centre of their lives. She spoke to him multiple times every day and he helped her in her own music career before he was killed. She even inherited his 'Moonlight' moniker in her own stage name - Shelly Moonlight.

She said the court case was difficult for the family.

"We tried not to look at him [Quirke]," she said.

"He would glance our way every now and again and we would try not to look. We had to try and restrain ourselves."

Bobby Ryan's body was discovered 22 months after he first went missing and recovered from a tank on land leased by Quirke. When Michelle found out, she said she immediately thought of her brother and having to break the news to him.

"I remember we were sitting in the funeral home before they took Daddy to the church and I remember hugging the coffin… I just wanted Daddy," she added.

"If I could have started a row to stop them taking him and putting him into the hearse I would have. We had been without him for 22 months and they were going to take him away again."

Now, she said, the family must try to continue with their lives but they still miss their father and grandfather.

"We have tears now more than ever, they want their granddad Bob back. There was no shielding the grandkids, it was out of our control because of the media attention.

"He was the absolute life and soul of our world - he really was an exceptional man. The only word I could use to describe him was wow. He had a passion for music and when he was behind his machine you could really feel his passion for music. He could walk into an empty room and get things dancing.

"I don't think there is any such thing as normal left for us - we're just under eight years of having our world turned inside out. Justice is done but as far as we're concerned we're never going to have our father back."

Sunday Independent

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