Death of schoolboy a “tragic incident”

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

NEIGHBOURS and friends of an eight-year-old boy who died in what gardai have termed as “a tragic incident” have described the child as “a lovely little character”.

NEIGHBOURS and friends of an eight-year-old boy who died in what gardai have termed as “a tragic incident” have described the child as “a lovely little character”.

NEIGHBOURS and friends of an eight-year-old boy who died in what gardai have termed “a tragic incident” have described the child as “a lovely little character”.

Anthony Ward died following an incident at his home at Harrisson’s Place in Charleville at around 9.30am this morning.

The body of the child remained at he house for most of the day and was removed this evening . The boy’s mother, Diane Ward, aged 43, has been taken to Cork University Hospital for treatment.

The family home, a small, well-kept yellow bungalow on a quiet rural road outside Charleville, remains cordoned off pending a full technical examination.

Anthony was due to return to school in Newtownshandrum this Monday morning after the summer holidays.

Three men spent several hours standing at the driveway of the family home this afternoon, consoling the boy’s father as he sat on the entrance wall. Anthony was an only child.

Next-door neighbours living on both sides of the boy’s home - who are also close relatives of the family - brought cups of tea to comfort the grieving man.

Behind the closed black entrance gates which were cordoned off with taping, the family dogs slept in the sun as gardai and technical experts when about their business.

Residents in Harrisson’s Place woke up to the tragic news shortly after 9.30am as gardai and an ambulance arrived at the scene.

“I wasn’t up that early, just gone nine, and I saw a couple of cars going up very fast and that is so unusual because nobody drives fast up here,” explained Billy Shine who lives across the road from the young boy’s home.

“Then a squad car went up and I thought ‘what’s going on’ because that’s something that never happens, and then, of course, an ambulance. I thought then somebody is in serious trouble.”

Mr Shine last saw the eight-year-old boy on Sunday when he was “all day up and down the road with big waves, smiling.”

“He was a typical eight-year-old young fella. He was a lovely little character, he really was. It’s a shocking, shocking turn of events. If somebody said to me yesterday that this business would happen I would say ‘no way’.”

The boy’s mother, he described as “a doting mother on that lad” and “as nice a girl that ever walked out there”.

“She would be walking up there with her arm around him. He was always happy.”

Mr Shine’s son, Liam, met Anthony on Saturday when he was busy selling lemonade from a makeshift stall outside his home.

“I went for a little walk with my little boy and he had a little table up set up selling glasses of lemonade. He had a little bottle and a few plastic cups. He asked me if I wanted one and I said: I’m grand,” Mr Shine recalled.

Anthony, he said, was always well turned out and was always on his bike “rain, wind or shine”.

“He wasn’t one of those scruffy little kids. His hair was combed to the side, neatly. He was a good looking kid.

“You read about this in America but when it happens right on your doorstep…it’s disbelief, especially when you see him every day.”

A post mortem examination is expected to be carried out at Cork University Hospital (CUH) tomorrow morning.