Sunday 18 August 2019

'We have got justice for Daddy today' - relief for family after trauma of three-month ordeal

Heartfelt tribute: Bobby Ryan’s children Robert Ryan and Michelle Ryan at court after Patrick
Quirke was convicted of murder. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Heartfelt tribute: Bobby Ryan’s children Robert Ryan and Michelle Ryan at court after Patrick Quirke was convicted of murder. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The children of murdered DJ Bobby Ryan declared "We got justice for Daddy today" as they told of the harrowing impact his death had upon their family.

Relief played across the faces of Michelle and Robert Ryan as they left the court complex to face the waiting media, clutching between them a cherished picture of their father.

But while they offered a faint smile for the cameras, the victim impact statement delivered inside the courtroom laid bare their grief.

Nightmares, torment and the loss of a fantastic father who was fondly known as 'Grandad Bob' by younger members of the family.

He was "here one minute and gone the next" and the entire family was struggling to come to terms with that reality.

The two siblings hugged as they told reporters: "We got justice for Daddy today.

"It will never bring him back but we hope that he is at rest."

Patrick Quirke had just been found guilty of the murder of Mr Ryan by a 10 to two majority jury verdict at the Central Criminal Court.

"On June 3, 2011, our lives and world as we knew it was torn apart," Mr Ryan's daughter Michelle said in a statement a short time after the verdict.

"I can't find the words to describe how it feels emotionally. It is a torment that is constantly with us. A black hole that is with us every day.

"The mental anguish, wondering every day was Daddy calling out for help?

"Was he calling our names for help? We close our eyes every night and picture Daddy with fear in his eyes. We wake up every night with the nightmares.

"This is something we will never, ever come to terms with. God didn't decide to take Daddy from us and knowing how his life was taken and where he was found rips us apart every day.

"We are completely destroyed beyond repair because of the trauma of how our father was brutally taken away from us.

"We don't have a life to live anymore, just an existence for us to drag ourselves through every day.

"Daddy was also a grandfather whose grandchildren love him dearly.

"You know he was their 'Grandad Bob' and the ones who do remember him struggle every day to try to come to terms with how Grandad Bob was here one minute and gone the next, and the other little ones just have a picture of him that they carry every day.

"Grandad Bob will always be a part of their lives because we talk about Daddy every day and tell them stories of their Grandad Bob.

"They laugh and smile remembering Grandad Bob and the little ones wondering what kind of grandad he was, and our torment growing bigger knowing someday we will have to sit them down and try to explain how Grandad Bob was taken away from us and visioning the light burn out in their eyes and hearts as well.

"Our lives will never be the same again, we know we have to carry this cross for the rest of our lives and we know our children will have to bear it as well.

"We will never be doubtful of just how much Daddy loves us, I can't put into words how much we love him, we will continue to love and cherish what precious memories we have of Daddy.

"That is something no one will ever take from us, this has consumed our lives completely. We will live through this heartache for the rest of our lives.

"While we hope that Daddy will now rest in peace, it's a peace that we will never know until we meet him again.

"Daddy, I described you as 'Wow' when I was asked because that's what you are, such a wonderful, caring father and grandfather.

"We will carry you in our hearts every day in everything we do for the rest of our lives."

Poignantly, she then referred to her father by the name, Mr Moonlight, which he had taken on the DJ circuit.

"So until we meet again, Moonlight, just know how much you are loved and sorely missed by us every day.

"So spread your beautiful wings and fly high with the angels. You are gone but will never be forgotten".

Quirke had pleaded not guilty to the murder of 52-year-old Mr Ryan, who disappeared after leaving his girlfriend Mary Lowry's home at about 6.30am on June 3, 2011.

His body was found in an underground run-off tank on the farm owned by Ms Lowry and leased by Quirke at Fawnagowan, Tipperary, 22 months later, in April 2013.

The case became an endurance test for the family as it was the longest murder trial in the history of the State.

Evidence lasted for 13 weeks amid lengthy legal argument carried out in the absence of the jury.

Barristers for the prosecution and defence took five days to complete their closing speeches to the jury, which took 20 hours and 39 minutes to come to its decision.

But before they could finally start to close the traumatic chapter this lengthy and painful murder trial has marked in their lives, the Ryan siblings paused to offer thanks.

"We would like to thank Mr [Michael] Bowman and his prosecution team and also Superintendent Patrick O'Callaghan and the team in Tipperary for working tirelessly on this case to get justice for our father.

"We would also like to thank the members of the public for all their continued support and kind words they have given us throughout this ordeal and one of the hardest times of our lives.

"We would also like to thank, most importantly, all of our family and friends who have stood by us the whole time every step of the way.

"Without them we would be lost. We would like to thank them sincerely.

"We also ask at this time that the media respect our privacy and let this sink in.

"Thank you."

Irish Independent

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