Monday 21 January 2019

Gardai quiz 'loner' after battered body of law student found in barrel

GARDAI investigating the brutal murder of a young law student were today awaiting the go-ahead to charge the main suspect.

The body of 21-year-old Eoin Ryan was discovered in a barrel in a field in Cappagh Beg, near Barefield in Co Ennis, yesterday morning.

A man in his 30s was still being detained today at Ennis Garda Station as detectives attempted to piece together the circumstances leading to the grim discovery of the remains.

Mr Ryan was a son of Don -- a former President of the Teachers Union of Ireland -- and is also survived by his mother Chris, a brother and sister. The family lives at the Kilrush Road in Ennis.

They had become concerned when he did not return home after going into Ennis town centre on Monday evening to socialise. A family member who went to Ennis Garda Station yesterday was given the shocking news.

Members of Mr Ryan's family travelled to the Midwest Regional Hospital in Limerick yesterday afternoon to make a formal identification.

Gardai in Ennis were alerted by a phone call shortly after 6am yesterday and immediately travelled to Cappagh Beg, about 8km from Ennis town centre.

They discovered Mr Ryan's body in a blue plastic agricultural barrel in a field, some distance from a farmhouse. They immediately arrested a man in his 30s who was at the scene. He was detained on suspicion of murder under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

The area where the body was found and the nearby farmyard were identified as two crime scenes and were sealed off. It is thought that Mr Ryan was beaten to death some distance from where he was found and among the items forensically examined was a concrete block.

Only locals living along the cul de sac were allowed access to the short roadway leading to the farmyard.

The body remained at the scene until lunchtime when it was removed in the barrel to the Limerick hospital where State pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy carried out a post mortem examination.

The main suspect in the case is regarded as something of a loner. His father passed away last year and he is understood to have found it difficult to come to terms with his loss. He has worked on the land for most of his life.


Gardai carried out door-to-door inquiries in the area yesterday, but locals were reluctant to speak. One reporter was told to leave the area by a man wielding a sweeping brush.

One man living in the area said: "This is a huge shock to everyone here. This is a farming area and everyone knows everyone else. It's a terrible tragedy."

Gardai believe that Mr Ryan and his assailant did not know each other prior to meeting socially in Ennis town centre on Monday evening. They have established that they travelled together by taxi from Ennis to Cappagh Beg some time after midnight.

Following an appeal by Ennis Superintendent Peter Duff early yesterday a taxi driver came forward and made a formal statement, confirming that he had taken two men to Cappagh Beg.

Supt Duff said: "We are very grateful for the assistance we have received in response to our appeal for information. We are still anxious to hear from anyone who may have been in the area of Cappagh Beg between Monday evening and Tuesday morning, to make contact with Ennis Garda Station on 065-6848100 or on the Garda Confidential Line 1800-666-111.

Throughout yesterday and again this morning, senior officers leading the investigation were in contact with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions awaiting directions in respect of charging the man in custody or releasing him.


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