Tipperary murder trial hears bus driver thought he saw missing Mr Moonlight

Eoin Reynolds

Reporter:

Eoin Reynolds

Patrick Quirke has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 52-year-old Bobby Ryan

Patrick Quirke has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 52-year-old Bobby Ryan

A BUS driver has told a murder trial that he thought he saw the deceased the morning he was reported missing driving his “Mr Moonlight” van away from where it was found later that day. 

Bus driver Jim Cully told defence counsel Bernard Condon SC that he gave a statement to gardai on June 5, two days after Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ going by the name Mr Moonlight, went missing.

In his statement he said he was “almost certain” he saw the deceased's van driving towards Dundrum Village from the direction of Annacarty at about 8.40 on the morning of June 3, the same day he went missing. The witness was familiar with Mr Ryan's van and the Mr Moonlight sticker across the front windscreen.  

He said he could not clearly see the driver but whoever was driving saluted him with his right hand and he saluted back. He thinks it was Bobby Ryan, he said, but he couldn’t say for certain. The van was moving at a normal speed, he added.

Patrick Quirke, 50, of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to Mr Ryan’s murder on a date between June 3, 2011 and April 2013 and is on trial at the Central Criminal Court. 

Mr Ryan went missing in June 2011 and his body was found in a run-off tank on the farm leased by the accused at Fawnagown, Tipperary in April 2013. The prosecution claims that Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so that he could get back with the deceased’s girlfriend Mary Lowry with whom the accused had previously had an affair.

Other witnesses said they saw a van similar to Mr Ryan’s at the car park leading to Kilshane Woods where it was found later that day by Mr Ryan’s daughter Michelle. Eddie Hogg said he walks his dogs through the woods every morning at about 8.15 and that morning noticed a maroon-coloured car and a white or silver van in the car park. He was shown a photograph of Mr Ryan’s van and said it was similar.

The trial continues in front of Justice Eileen Creedon and a jury of six men and six women.