herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Ex-footballer who killed woman is fined for drunken Luas row

Wesley Ward fined €250
Wesley Ward fined €250

AN ex-footballer, who served a three-year sentence for killing a woman in Dublin, has been spared jail for getting into a drunken row with Luas security guards.

Wesley Ward (38) pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour and being so intoxicated he was a danger to himself and others.

The father-of-two, who had been arrested at Heuston station on April 24 last, hopes to coach football to youths, Judge Michael Walsh heard.

Ward, who has an address at Edenmore Crescent in Coolock, Dublin, was fined €250.

In June 2009, he pulled Tracey O'Brien to the ground and stamped on her head outside the Rotunda Maternity Hospital because he thought she had been spreading rumours.

Addiction

Ward played for Monaghan Town, Home Farm and had trials for QPR in his youth before he developed a serious heroin addiction.

Garda Paul O'Brien told Judge Walsh he saw Ward on the ground in a verbal confrontation with security guards at the Luas stop at Heuston station on April 24.

Ward was heavily intoxicated and shouting obscenities but was fully compliant after he was arrested. He was bleeding had claimed he had been assaulted and had suffered a facial injury before the garda found him on the ground.

The once-talented soccer player had 15 prior criminal convictions including manslaughter, robbery and drugs offences.

Defence solicitor Stephen O'Mahony said the date of the public order incident was the first anniversary of the death of his former partner, the mother of his children. He found it very difficult and decided to go drinking.

Talented

Mr O'Mahony said Ward had been a talented soccer player in his youth and had represented Ireland. He began using drugs and was able to maintain his professional career until he was in his mid-twenties, by which time he "spiralled into serious heroin addiction".

The lawyer said the former footballer accrued numerous convictions over the past 10 years and is on a methadone programme. The lawyer said Ward "hopes to get back coaching" and has been asked by a friend to assist with a youth soccer team.

Judge Michael Walsh noted Ward pleaded guilty and this crime was different to his more serious previous offences. He imposed the fine and said it must be paid within three months or Ward, who did not address the court, would be jailed for five days in default.

The judge also bound him over to keep the peace for the next 12 months

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