The prosecution case against farmer Patrick Quirke, who denies murdering his love rival Bobby ‘Mr Moonlight’ Ryan, is “forensically barren” but calls on the support of the jury’s common sense, lawyers for the State have said.

Michael Bowman SC told the jury of six men and six women at the Central Criminal Court that while Mr Quirke retains the presumption of innocence, when they look at the evidence they will be compelled to find him guilty of murder.

Mr Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ known as Mr Moonlight. Mr Ryan went missing on June 3rd, 2011 after leaving his girlfriend Mary Lowry’s home at about 6.30am. His body was found in an underground run-off tank on the farm owned by Ms Lowry and leased by the accused at Fawnagown, Tipperary 22 months later in April 2013.

The prosecution has claimed Mr Quirke murdered Mr Ryan so he could rekindle an affair with Ms Lowry (52). Mr Bowman today reminded the jury that the prosecution case is based on circumstantial evidence and is “forensically barren”. He said there was no weapon, no exact location or time of death, but he asked the jury to bring their critical faculties to bear.

The human mind, he said, can take only so much coincidence before shaking its head and saying: “That’s not coincidence, that’s planned.”

He told the jury that Bobby Ryan may have been lost over the three months of evidence and reminded them that the trial is not about Mary Lowry although she is important.

Referring to evidence that has come out during the trial, he said the case is not about the lid of the tank breaking or whether photos or videos were taken. It’s not about gardaí talking in a coffee shop or about gardaí following up a tip-off from a water-diviner. It is, he said, about Bobby Ryan, a man who loved life, his job, music, dancing. He loved his girlfriend and very dearly loved his children Robert Jnr and Michelle. He was, Mr Bowman said, universally loved and liked. Mr Bowman will continue his speech to the jury this afternoon in front of Justice Eileen Creedon.

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