Patrick Quirke has pled not guilty in court to the charges

Irish farmer Patrick Quirke has pled not guilty to murdering his ‘love rival’ Bobby Ryan in Co Tipperary.

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RTÉ reports that 50-year-old Patrick Quirke is charged with murdering 52-year-old Bobby Ryan sometime between June 3, 2011 and April 2013.

In April 2013, Quirke allegedly discovered Ryan’s body in a disused slurry tank on the Tipperary farm where he had been working. The farm belonged to Mary Lowry and her late husband, who Quirke had been best friends with.

In 2008, after the death of Lowry’s husband, Quirke engaged in a secret relationship with Mary Lowry, despite being married to Lowry’s sister Imelda.

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In 2010, Mary Lowry ended the secret relationship with Quirke and began one with Bobby Ryan, saying Ryan could offer a more “conventional” relationship. Quirke continued working on Lowry’s farm as part of a seven-year lease.

Bobby Ryan was last seen alive on June 3, 2011. His car was discovered in a wooded area nearby to the farm, but his body wasn’t found until April 2013.

The prosecution alleges that Quirke murdered Bobby Ryan out of anger and jealousy. They further allege that Quirke staged his discovery of Ryan’s body in a slurry tank on the farm, saying that no one else would have known about the tank. The discovery of Ryan’s body came shortly before Quirke’s lease on the land was due to expire.

A post-mortem exam revealed that Ryan had died from blunt force trauma; he had fractures to his skull and other parts of the body.

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The prosecution alleges that Quirke "did what he felt compelled to do and got rid of his love rival in the hope that he could go back to how things were before Bobby Ryan."

The jury for the case heard that the evidence presented throughout the trial would be circumstantial as there was “no smoking gun or act caught on CCTV” but would “logically communicate the guilt of the accused.”

Quirke has pled not guilty to the charges. The trial is expected to last eight weeks.