herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

'He was home every day amid trial to walk dog with his wife'

Tipperary locals were glued to the news
Tipperary locals were glued to the news

As Patrick Quirke stared down the barrel of a life sentence for murdering Bobby Ryan, he attempted to paint a picture of a man without a care in the world.

The 50-year-old farmer, now just another number in the Irish prison system, was until last week trying to keep a somewhat composed figure in his home town of Tipperary.

Locals yesterday spoke about how the convicted killer returned home in the evenings during his case at the Central Criminal Court and would, most days, enjoy a leisurely dog walk through the busy town while holding hands with his wife.

He did this, members of the community said, almost every day during the lengthy murder trial.

"You would see him walking through the town with the wife, and their dog. Every day after he got off the train back from Dublin," one local businessman said.

"It was like he was trying to show people that he had nothing to worry about.

Shocked

"I would have met him a few times but I didn't know him too well at all," the man added.

"He could have been trying to keep up appearances. Who knows what was going through his head?"

Others in the town said they were "shocked" after hearing of the guilty verdict.

One man said that although locals thought he was guilty, they were surprised he was convicted after following the progress of what had become the longest murder trial in the history of the State.

"I was shocked and I just didn't think the evidence was there," he said.

"At the start of the trial I thought he was done for, but as it went on there was a feeling he'd get off.

"When Bobby first went missing there were a few suspicions here and there but nobody was pointing the finger directly. Then it became obvious after a while what Quirke had done. Fair play to the gardai, I guess. Justice was done at the end of the day."

As the coverage of the verdict played out on media channels in Tipperary town, some people were glued to the television screens in various pubs and stores, but business continued as usual for many on the busy Main Street.

Just a short distance from where Quirke enjoyed his evening strolls during the trial is the farm at Fawnagowan where he callously and mercilessly dumped the body of DJ Bobby Ryan, known locally as 'Mr Moonlight'.

Meanwhile, in Dublin's Mountjoy Prison, Quirke spent the first of many nights behind bars as he began his mandatory life sentence for the murder of Bobby Ryan.

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