Sentencing adjourned for Charleville mum over son’s death

Diane Ward arriving to Limerick district court on a previous occasion. Picture: Press 22

Diane Ward arriving to Limerick district court on a previous occasion. Picture: Press 22


THE sentencing hearing of a Charleville mother who pleaded guilty to killing her eight-year-old son has been adjourned to April 7 at the Central Criminal Court.

Diane Ward, 43, of Harrison Place, Charleville, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her son Anthony at their home on September 3, 2012.

However, the Mr Justice Paul Carney, sitting in court room 6 of the Central Criminal Court, heard this morning that the prosecution are not ready to proceed with the case, despite earlier indications that they would be in a position to do so.

Ms Ward’s defence said her situation is “extremely difficult” and she was anxious for the case to proceed as it has already been adjourned on several occasions.

Last week, she appeared before the court, where her plea to manslaughter - rather than murder - was accepted by the prosecution. She was remanded in custody for sentence today.

The court was told this morning that it was a “complicated matter” and the prosecution needed more time to prepare for the sentence hearing.

Mr Justice Carney originally adjourned the case to June 30, but brought it forward to Monday, April 7 next before Mr Justice Barry White, after hearing from the prosecution that the case would take one hour to finalise.

Anthony’s body was found at his home in Charleville on September 3, 2012. His body was discovered dead in his bedroom with his school clothes freshly pressed by his side and his bag in the hallway. He had celebrated his eighth birthday three weeks prior to his death and had been due to start second class in Newtownshandrum National School.

A post mortem showed he had died from asphyxiation.

The boy’s father, Mark Ryan, who had been in a relationship with Ms Ward for 10 years, was among those present in court today.

With a lengthy number of trials before the Central Criminal Court, Mr Justice Carney said “the judge situation is pretty chronic”.


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