trial to start | 

Man accused of murdering mum-of-two Sharon Bennett in Clare pleads not guilty

Patrick Ballard (35), formerly of Ashfield Court Hotel, Ennis, Co Clare was arraigned before the Central Criminal Court today.

Patrick Ballard

Mother of two, Sharon Bennett

Alison O'RiordanSunday World

A Co Clare man will go on trial tomorrow accused of murdering mother-of-two Sharon Bennett in Ennis last year.

Patrick Ballard (35), formerly of Ashfield Court Hotel, Ennis, Co Clare was arraigned before the Central Criminal Court today.

He is charged with murdering Ms Bennett (29) in the Market area of Ennis on February 10, 2021.

When the registrar read the indictment to the accused and asked him how he was pleading, he replied: "Not guilty".

Addressing the jury panel, Mr Justice Paul Burns said that this matter arose out of an incident that occurred in Ennis on January 28, 2021 and that Ms Bennett died a number of weeks later on February 10.

Mother of two, Sharon Bennett

The judge informed the jury panel that both Ms Bennett and Mr Ballard were living in Ennis at the time and that the matter had been investigated by officers from Shannon and Ennis Garda Stations.

Mr Justice Paul Burns swore in a jury of seven men and five women to hear the trial, which will begin before him tomorrow morning and is expected to last two weeks.

Mr Ballard and Ms Bennett were in a relationship at the time of the alleged murder.

Ms Bennett was a mother of two girls, then aged nine and six, from a previous relationship.


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