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‘My life as I knew it ended when my father’s life ended’- daughter of murdered DJ ‘Mr Moonlight’

Michelle Ryan and her brother Robert

Ciara O'Loughlin

The daughter of murdered DJ Bobby Ryan has said life as she knew it ended when her father was killed.

Michelle Ryan has appealed to the public to remember her father as a happy and loveable person when reading stories about ‘Mr Moonlight’ and the horrific murder trial.

Over 10 years since his death, Ms Ryan said she is disgusted that the narrative of her father's death surrounded a “love triangle” between him, the man who was convicted of his murder, Patrick Quirke, and Mr Ryan’s girlfriend Mary Lowry.

Mr Quirke (51), from Breanshamore, was found guilty in 2019 of murdering father-of-two Bobby Ryan (52), known as ‘Mr Moonlight’, at Fawnagowan in Co Tipperary.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court convicted him by a majority verdict after a 71 day trial.

"It is upsetting, my father was a very private person and that's the part that upset me the most,” Ms Ryan said on RTÉ Radio One’s Brendan O’Connor Show.

“I remember thinking...were we in a family law court or were we here on a murder trial? I was disgusted because at the end of the day we had an innocent man whose life was cut entirely too short and that was forgotten about in that courtroom and all of a sudden it was about these two people (Quirke and Ms Lowry).

“And I was like…my father lost his life, where does Bobby Ryan, where does Mr Moonlight fit into a triangle, because there was no triangle, Daddy had no threat to pose to anybody.”

The mother-of-two said people “absolutely” forget that there are real people behind the story that made global headline.

"This was our life taken away from us. It wasn’t just Daddy’s life that was taken back then, it was our life as well. It was stripped completely from underneath us like Daddy’s life was,” she said.

“We used to enjoy ourselves, we used to look forward to anything that was going on, now we don’t because there could be 1,000 people in a room and it’s still empty because you don’t hear that big bubbly laugh and you don’t see that big bright smile - Daddy should be there.”

Ms Ryan said her joy in life is gone, and her only hope to once again feel like her old self is to see her father again in another life.

"I paint on the smile, I have kids that are looking on at me and I don't want to dim their light so I do try my best, but inside I have the lump in the throat.

"I have to actually kind of disconnect myself, remove myself and gather my thoughts, life is never going to be the same after that.

“My life as I knew it ended when my father’s life ended, the only way I can describe my life now is that it’s an existence.

"I hope there is a next life when my time on this earth is finished and he will be there waiting for me.

“That will be the one smile that I actually genuinely mean since the last time I saw Daddy, it won’t be painted on.”

The 71-day trial was the longest murder trial in Irish history. The victim’s daughter said the most difficult thing was hearing the horrific details of her father’s murder.

"I remember I was sitting there [in court] and I could picture the big smile on his face and all of a sudden it was like the smile faded from his face and he went from that to landing there, the horrific way he was taken from us,” she said.

“That’s something that will always play in our heads.”

Ms Ryan said that she and her brother Robert have accepted that they will never have inner peace.

“To us an element of justice has been done...but we don’t have Daddy back,” she said.

“We’re never going to get inner peace...we’ve come to that realisation now.

“Time isn’t a healer in these circumstances.

“I never got to say goodbye to Daddy, we never got to see him in the coffin.

“Going to the graveyard is a no-no for me...When I go into the graveyard it’s his picture on a plaque

“There was no closure there for me and there never has been. I was talking to him one day, and the next day we were out on a search. It’s very hard to put it into words what that does to a person.

“I couldn’t give him a kiss goodbye, the only thing I could do was hug a box before he was taken out of the funeral home.

“I light my candles here for him every day religiously, I take way to him - for me that’s my way of dealing with it.”

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