A jury at the Central Criminal Court has heard the wife of murder accused Patrick Quirke alerted a garda to the discovery of a body on the farm her husband was leasing. 

Garda witnesses were giving evidence in the trial of Patrick Quirke, of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary, who is accused of murdering Bobby Ryan, a part-time DJ known as Mr Moonlight.

Mr Quirke has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Ryan at an unknown location on a date between 3 June 2011 and 30 April 2013.

Mr Ryan's body was discovered by Mr Quirke on Mary Lowry's farm at Fawnagowan in Tipperary.

Garda Thomas Neville said he was at home when he received a telephone call from Pat Quirke's wife, Imelda at around 1.07pm on 30 April 2013.

Her number was in his phone because of a connection they had through junior hurling.

After speaking to Imelda Quirke he became aware that a body had been found at Ms Lowry's farm at Fawnagowan and he immediately told Ms Quirke not to touch anything at the scene.

He then phoned Tipperary Garda station and requested they send a patrol car.

Inspector Padraig Powell told the court he went to the farm at Fawnagowan where he saw Mr Quirke and his wife Imelda sitting together on a low wall.

Mr Quirke showed him an underground tank and said he had found a body. Inspector Powell said a cement slab had been lifted back and he had to kneel down to see into it.

He said he could not see what was in the tank without kneeling down. Visibility was poor inside the tank and he could see just a silhouette or outline of the remains.

He said Mr Quirke was very quiet and he noticed that his clothes and hands were very clean.

In cross-examination, Inspector Powell agreed that he had not made a statement about events of that day until 2015, almost two and a half years later.

He accepted it was a long time later. He accepted in that statement that he said Mr Quirke told him there was what he believed to be a body in the tank, rather than simply state there was a body in the tank.

Inspector Powell said he could not remember the exact words used by Mr Quirke but that he indicated there was a body in the tank.

Some of Mr Ryan's family was invited to leave the courtroom while distressing images of his remains in the tank were shown in court.

Inspector Powell did not remember seeing the JCB lift the concrete slab off the tank nor did he remember any "panic" among his colleagues when the slab broke.

Defence counsel Lorcan Staines showed a series of photographs of Mr Ryan's remains. He put it to the witness that it was clear from pictures taken before and after the slab had been removed that debris had fallen into the tank and onto the body.

Inspector Powell said he was not involved in that part of the operation.

Earlier, the jury heard evidence of statements made to gardaí by Mr Quirke in 2011.

In one statement he told gardaí he first began seeing Ms Lowry in January 2008. He said their break-up in December 2010 was not amicable.

He said she had begun seeing Mr Ryan and he was very angry. He described a confrontation at her home when he took Ms Lowry's phone and used it to text Mr Ryan telling him "basically that I was with Mary now".

He said he never said a cross word to Mr Ryan.

Mr Quirke also said he wanted to remain friends with Ms Lowry, adding: "I had told her things I had never told anybody else and she wanted nothing more to do with me."

Mr Quirke said Ms Lowry told Mr Ryan about the fight and Mr Ryan suggested a meeting.

He went to meet him and said Mr Ryan was "very friendly and sympathetic. He had gone through a break up himself and he was very open about it. There was no real outcome to the meeting. Mary was very quiet during the meeting."

He went on to say he and his wife had subsequently gone ice skating with Ms Lowry and her children. He said he was "angry that she had dismissed me".

He also said on the morning that Mr Ryan went missing he was at Ms Lowry's farm for around half an hour before going away with his family later that day.

He stayed at the Heritage Hotel in Portlaoise and heard later that evening about Mr Ryan going missing. When he returned home on the Bank Holiday Monday he took part in the searches for Mr Ryan.

Mr Quirke also made a statement to the gardaí about his activity around Ms Lowry's house which the jury has previously seen on CCTV.

He told gardaí he called to the house because he had a letter to give Ms Lowry. He rang the doorbell and looked in windows and saw there was no one home.

He saw women’s underwear on the washing line and looked at the label. He said he removed the underwear from the line and then replaced it. He also had a key in his jeep to Ms Lowry's house which he had found some time earlier on the ground outside.

He said he tried the key in the front door but closed it again when the alarm beeped. Mr Quirke told gardaí he panicked when he knew what he had done was wrong and drove off in his Jeep.