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Gardai probe 'stalker link' to slurry pit body

A STALKER is at the centre of a garda investigation after human remains were found in a disused slurry tank.

Bobby Ryan, who has been missing for almost two years, was warned to stay away from Mary Lowry by the stalker in the months before he disappeared.

A body, suspected to be that of Mr Ryan (52), was recovered from the slurry tank at Ms Lowry's farm in Fawnagown, Co Tipperary, on Tuesday.

Following a post-mortem examination, investigating gardai are satisfied that the victim was murdered.

Mr Ryan was reported missing on June 3, 2011, after he left the Fawnagown farm outside Tipperary town and failed to turn up for work.

Envious

While investigations are at an early stage, the Herald understands that a middle-aged man from Tipperary is at the focus of garda inquiries.

It is suspected that the man was envious of the relationship between Mr Ryan and Ms Lowry.

The body was found by Patrick Quirke, who leased part of Ms Lowry's farm.

The discovery was reported to gardai before Bobby Ryan's family were alerted.

The disused tank had been covered over by a concrete slab.

Ms Lowry – a widow in her early 40s – was Bobby Ryan's partner at the time of his disappearance.

The Herald has also learnt that Ms Lowry's home was broken into on a number of occasions over the past year.

Gardai are now investigating whether the break-ins and the disappearance of Bobby Ryan are linked.

Family

The farm, along the Tipperary-Bansha road, remained sealed off yesterday as forensic investigations continued.

The cause of death has not been released.

For almost two years, the family of Bobby Ryan, assisted by hundreds of volunteers, searched in vain for his body across Tipperary. Gardai had searched the farm where the remains were recovered, but never found anything.

John Ryan – Bobby's brother – said the family are anxiously awaiting the outcome of DNA testing to establish if the body is the missing man.

"There has to be DNA identification. It could be today or tomorrow – they just don't know," he said.

Shock

"They were looking for his dental records.

"The post-mortem has been going on since 11am.

"The gardai have to wait on the result of that before deciding what to do next."

"It [the discovery] is a relief in one sense.

"I have been waiting for this phone call for the past two years, but when I got it on Tuesday, I said, 'Jesus, why did the phone ring'.

"It was still a big shock," he said.

Mr Ryan said, if his brother's remains are formally identified, it is only half the battle for his family

"That is all. It will never bring him back. He didn't deserve to die like that.

"We have to get justice for Bobby – somebody has questions to answer," John Ryan added.

hnews@herald.ie


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