Thursday 21 November 2019

Killer Quirke to face damages claim by 'Mr Moonlight' children

Robert Ryan Jnr and his sister Michelle are suing their father’s murderer Patrick Quirke. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Robert Ryan Jnr and his sister Michelle are suing their father’s murderer Patrick Quirke. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Killer Patrick Quirke is to be sued for damages by the son and daughter of his victim, part-time DJ Bobby Ryan.

High Court actions have been initiated by Robert Ryan Jnr and his sister Michelle against the Co Tipperary farmer.

Quirke (50) is serving a life sentence after being jailed for murder earlier this year following a high-profile trial at the Central Criminal Court.

He claimed he was innocent, but a jury found he murdered Mr Ryan and dumped his body in an underground tank.

It was the prosecution's case the murder was carried out by Quirke in an attempt to rekindle an affair he previously had with Mr Ryan's girlfriend, widow Mary Lowry.


The lawsuits were initiated on Monday and the siblings are being represented in the cases by solicitor Donal Ryan.

No details have been publicly disclosed about the cases other than that they are personal injury actions.

It is thought the siblings will seek damages from Quirke arising from the suffering and distress caused by their father's murder.

Such civil actions are rare in Ireland.

However, it is not unprecedented for the family of a murder victim to be awarded substantial damages against a killer.

Robert Ryan Jnr declined to comment on the actions when contacted by the Herald.

"At the moment I am not going to say anything," he said.

His solicitor also said he was not in a position to comment.

The initiation of the lawsuits comes just 11 weeks after Quirke, of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, was jailed for life after a jury found him guilty of murder on a majority verdict of 10 to two.

The farmer had denied any involvement in the murder of Mr Ryan (52), a quarry worker and popular part-time DJ known as 'Mr Moonlight'.

Mr Ryan disappeared on the morning of June 3, 2011, after spending the night at Ms Lowry's home in Fawnagowan, Co Tipperary. Quirke "discovered" the body in a run-off tank on Ms Lowry's farm in April 2013.

The prosecution said the discovery was staged as his lease on the property was going to be terminated and he would be unable to ensure the body remained hidden.

Quirke's 15-week trial was the longest murder trial in the history of the State and largely hinged on circumstantial evidence.

Their father's disappearance and the subsequent trial took a heavy toll on the Ryan siblings.

In a moving victim impact statement, Michelle Ryan spoke in court of the "mental anguish" the family suffered and how the case had consumed their lives in recent times.


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

"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."

The lawsuits are the second major legal development since the jury's verdict, which was passed on May 1.

Quirke's legal team has also filed a notice of appeal against his conviction.

His grounds of appeal have yet to be disclosed, but it is understood some centre on rulings made in the absence of the jury by trial judge Ms Justice Eileen Creedon, who rejected a number of applications to discharge the jury.

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