Stabbing | 

Judge laments domestic abuse 'conveyor belt' as he jails Catherine Doyle's husband for murder

Alan Ward stabbed his wife Catherine Doyle to death at their Dublin home in 2019

Catherine Doyle

Eoin Reynolds

A bubbly, happy woman who was a role-model and best friend to her children was murdered by her husband in what a judge has described as another case in the conveyor belt of "tragic cases which spring from domestic violence".

Alan Ward stabbed his wife Catherine Doyle to death at their Dublin home in 2019.

Passing the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment for murder today, Mr Justice Tony Hunt called on people who find themselves rising to anger to "step back rather than engage in the kind of behaviour seen in this case".

Detective Sergeant Sean Cosgrove, speaking outside court, urged people in abusive or violent relationships to seek help from gardaí, the courts or other agencies.

He said gardaí are now piloting the use of domestic abuse co-ordinators in West Dublin, where Ms Doyle was murdered.

Ward (54) denied murdering his 41-year-old wife at their home in Greenfort Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 on March 1, 2019. His lawyers argued that his responsibility was diminished due to a mental disorder brought on by a stroke he suffered two years earlier.

Following a trial last December, a jury rejected the defence arguments having heard that Ward was violent towards his wife for many years prior to the stroke.

Alan Ward

The jury also convicted Ward of threatening to kill or cause serious harm to his son Adam Ward and of attempting to stab Adam on the same date.

Mr Justice Hunt sentenced Ward to five years and three years respectively for those offences, with each sentence to run concurrently with the life sentence.

The court heard a statement on behalf of Ms Doyle's family in which she was described as a "kind-hearted, lovely mum, who understood and cared for her sons". She was a role model and best friend to them but was taken away from them by their father.

Outside court the family also thanked gardaí and their community for supporting them, saying: "It is a great feeling knowing our mother was loved by so many people."

Adam Ward (left) outside court with Detective Sergeant Seán Cosgrove yesterday after his father, Alan Ward was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Adam’s mother, Catherine Doyle

Giollaiosa OLideadha SC, for Ward, read to the court a letter from his client in which Ward said he was "full of shame" for what he had done and added: "I find it hard to look at my sons because of the shame."

The court also heard that Ward had two previous convictions for road traffic matters and one for an offence under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Mr Justice Hunt described the killing as "terribly sad and tragic" and said the violence used by Ward was "quite extreme". He described Ms Doyle's sons as "young men of extraordinary courage and dignity".

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