"The search team would have found Bobby if we had entered the farm"


Pat Quirke arrives in court last week with his wife Imelda. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Pat Quirke arrives in court last week with his wife Imelda. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Melanie Finn

A member of a search party who tried to find the remains of the murdered Bobby Ryan claimed that if they had had access to the farm the day he disappeared he would have been found at the time.

Christopher Kelleher was part of the search party in charge of looking for the part-time DJ known as Mr Moonlight, who was last seen leaving his girlfriend Mary Lowry's home on June 3, 2011.

Ryan's body was found in an abandoned underground tank on Lowry's farm 22 months after he disappeared.

Last week, Patrick Quirke, who rented Lowry's farm, was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of Ryan's murder.

However, Kelleher claims that the search party would have found Mr. Ryan's body if they had access to the farm.

Speaking in the Virgin Media One documentary, "Mr Moonlight: The Trial of Patrick Quirke," which aired last night, he said that the search party was invited to look at Bansha Woods, where Ryan's van had been found and the Farm.

"If we were asked to search the farm, I have no doubt we would not be here today," Kelleher said.

The same issue was raised by the victim's son, Robert Ryan, who said that looking back, he was "very close" to where his father's body would be found almost two years later.

"I was on the other side of the milking parlor and it haunts me to this day," he said.

Also in the documentary, a leading medical expert said it was a "failure" that no pathologist oversaw the removal of Ryan's body when it was first found in April 2013.

Former Northern Ireland State Pathologist Professor Jack Crane, who testified during the murder trial, raised concerns about some aspects of the investigation.

He said it would have been "beneficial" for former state deputy pathologist Dr. Khalid Jaber to have seen the body in situ at the time of its discovery and have overseen its removal. This meant that he could have answered questions more comprehensively at a later stage.

"That's certainly what I would have liked to have done if I was involved in the case initially," he said.

"If, from the outset, you have the opportunity to examine the body in situ and then issues that may arise later, you may be in a position to handle it.

"On the other hand, if you do not go to the site and did not evaluate it, then if some other matter is raised then you may not be able to answer this and I think there were problems where it could not be answered because of that failure in doing so. "

However, Dr. Jaber told the Irish Independent that there was nothing unusual about his non-attendance.

"There is likely to be a consensual agreement and understanding that I get the body when it came to the morgue," he said.

Dr. Jaber said that this would be "the best place" to "thoroughly examine the body."

"In fact, what was done with the manipulation of Bobby Ryan's body was more appropriate and correct," he said.

At the trial, Superintendent Patrick O & # 39; Callaghan told the court that there were concerns about people entering the tank.

The firefighters who removed the body wore full suits of biological risk, equipment to which the gardaĆ­ had no access.

Meanwhile, Quirke's wife, Imelda, visited him at Mountjoy prison in Dublin yesterday afternoon, where he had been detained since his conviction last week.

Independent Irish


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