Rapist dies before appeal is heard
A man jailed for raping his then 74-year-old aunt has died from a heart attack weeks before his appeal was due to be heard.
Christopher Ward, (52) with a last address in Birmingham, England, had pleaded not guilty to the rape and sexual assault of his then 74-year-old aunt Kathleen Ward at her Dundalk home on March 13, 2011.
He was found guilty by a Central Criminal Court jury and sentenced to 14 years by Mr Justice George Birmingham on May 19, 2014.
Ms Ward waived her right to anonymity so that her nephew could be identified.
Ward was due to appeal his conviction and sentence in the Court of Appeal in less than two weeks time.
However, his barrister, Michael O'Higgins SC, told the Court of Appeal yesterday that "regrettably Mr Ward had a heart attack on Friday and died".