THE bench dedicated to the memory of DJ Gerry Ryan by his girlfriend Melanie Verwoerd was torched by vandals at the weekend.
The Irish Sun reports today that the bench in Dublin 4’s leafy Herbert Park was reduced to a smouldering wreck in the early hours of Sunday morning. The dedication plaque that Verwoerd had commissioned was stolen.
The tribute had read: “For Gerry. Seasons may change winter to spring but I love you till the end of time. Melanie.” The quotation is a line from a song from Moulin Rouge, a movie Ryan loved.
Park ranger Tony Nolan told The Irish Sun: “I arrived at the park about 9.40 am just before the park opened and the bench was still smouldering. I looked for the plaque but it wasn’t in the ashes. There is no way it would have burned, so they must have robbed it.
“A bench like that would not have lit easily so they must have covered it in lighter fuel.”
The newspaper tried to contact Verwoerd but she was not at her home in Leeson Street, yards from the park where the bench was.
The former boss of Unicef Ireland had begun dating the 2FM DJ in 2008, two years before she found him dead in his Leeson Street rented apartment. Verwoerd had spoken how she and Ryan enjoyed walks in Herbert Park, particularly in Spring when the cherry blossoms came into bloom. Last year she was let go from her post with Unicef and the 43-year-old has filed an unfair-dismissal case papers against the charity with the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
It is hoped that CCTV from the Herbert Park Hotel may help Gardai carrying out an investigation into the vandalism.