herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Mum given 7-year suspended sentence for smothering son
suspended sentence for smothering son

A CORK woman who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her son has received a seven-year suspended sentence.

Diane Ward (44) of Harrison Place, Charleville admitted smothering her son Anthony (8) at their Cork home on September 3, 2012.

Miss Ward appeared in court last March where she pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter.

Timothy O'Leary SC prosecuting reminded the court yesterday that Miss Ward had taken a significant overdose prior to the death of her son.

Earlier this year, the court heard that Miss Ward felt that there would be no one to look after her son if she took her own life.

It was revealed that there had been a major rift between Miss Ward and her family over treatment Anthony was receiving for ADHD.

The court heard that Miss Ward had been under pressure in preparation for Anthony returning to school.

Dr Helen O'Neill of the Central Medical Hospital in Dundrum said that Miss Ward's mental state remains stable.

"Miss Ward's current mood is normal and good. Her mental state has remained stable and she is cheerful and taking part in activities. She has had contact with her brothers but there has been no reconciliation with her mother. Her acute risk is low but there are still concerns about long-term suicide risk."

The court heard that in the event of Miss Ward being released from the Central Medical Hospital, a bed will be available for her at Carrigmore hospital in Cork.

Statement

"Miss Ward would not be discharged without suitable accommodation," said Dr O Neill.

Previously, Anthony's father, Mark Ryan, said in a victim impact statement that Miss Ward is a "person who made a mistake".

"I'm getting on with my life. My loss has been traumatic and I am living with the memory of Anthony and all the good times. I miss him dearly.

"Diane and myself have been friends for 10 years. She is a good person who made a mistake. I wish her well and have no grievance with Diane."

Earlier this year, the court heard that Miss Ward suffers from recurrent depressive disorder.

The court heard that her only child Anthony was the "centre of her world" and that she had invested everything in him and for him.

Mr Justice Barry White yesterday imposed a seven-year suspended sentence on Miss Ward.

"It is clear Miss Ward was very troubled mentally at the time she took her son's life. It is also clear her son's father has adopted a most charitable approach in this matter," he added.

hnews@herald.ie

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