Murder verdict | 

Alan Ward found guilty of murdering wife by stabbing her to death in Dublin home

Ward had argued that his culpability for killing his wife was substantially diminished by a stroke he suffered in 2017
Alan Ward

Alan Ward

Eoin Reynolds

Alan Ward has been found guilty by a unanimous jury verdict of murdering his wife Catherine Ward by stabbing her to death in their Dublin home two years ago.

Ward had argued that his culpability for killing his wife was substantially diminished by a stroke he suffered in 2017, but the jury of eight men and three women took a little over seven hours to reject the defence arguments.

The trial heard that Ward had assaulted his wife in 2002 and that gardaí were called to disputes at their home on four occasions prior to his stroke and once after the stroke.

The prosecution argued that Ward was not entitled to claim diminished responsibility because his behaviour was better explained by his intoxication, having drunk a large quantity of vodka before assaulting his wife.

They also pointed out his history of violence towards his wife, going back as far as 2002 when he was convicted of assaulting Catherine causing her harm.

During the trial former Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said Mrs Ward had suffered multiple stab wounds to the neck, face, left arm and left hand.

The fatal wound entered Mrs Ward's neck and travelled to a depth of about 10cm in a downward direction at a 45 degree angle. It wounded the muscles of the neck, sliced her windpipe and damaged her carotid and subclavian arteries before entering the lungs, causing the left lung to collapse.

"This wound would have proved rapidly fatal," Dr Curtis said.

He also noted defensive type injuries to her left hand, including one stab wound that entered the back of her hand and emerged through her palm. Her left index finger had also nearly been cut off.

Another wound cut her left ear and scalp and entered the neck to a depth of 7.5cm and almost penetrated her spinal canal, Dr Curtis said.

Ward (54) had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mrs Ward (41) at the home they shared in Greenfort Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 on March 1, 2019.

The jury  also found Ward guilty by a majority 10 to one verdict of threatening to kill or cause serious harm to his son Adam Ward and of attempting to stab Adam on the same date.

Catherine Ward (41)

Catherine Ward (41)

During the trial, Adam Ward told the jury that he emerged from his room after hearing a bang and saw his father in the doorway of his parents' bedroom striking downwards.

When Adam asked what he was doing, his father told him, "get the f*** away from me or I'm going to kill you," swiped at him with the blade and lunged towards him.

Adam stepped backwards, out of the way of the knife, and ran downstairs. When he saw his father following he quickly unlocked the front door and ran across the street to where he saw a small group of people. He told them what had happened and one of them called gardaí.

Following the verdict Mr Justice Tony Hunt wished the jury a happy Christmas and exempted them from jury service for 14 years.

He said he will hear victim impact statements from Adam and other members of Mrs Ward's family on January 31 before passing the mandatory life sentence for murder.

Sentencing for threatening to kill and for attempting to stab Adam will take place on that day also.

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