Woman who killed son ‘good person who made mistake’

Suicide note with words ‘bury us together’ found at woman’s home

Collect image of eight-year-old Anthony Ward, who was found dead in his bedroom at his home in Charleville, Co Cork

Collect image of eight-year-old Anthony Ward, who was found dead in his bedroom at his home in Charleville, Co Cork

Mon, Apr 7, 2014, 17:51

A suicide note with the words “bury us together” was found at the home of a Cork woman who admitted smothering her eight-year-old-son in 2012.

Diane Ward (44) of Harrison Place, Charleville had her sentencing adjourned until July 7th by Mr Justice Barry White at the Central Criminal Court today.

Ward had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her son Anthony at their home on September 3rd, 2012.

Timothy O Leary SC prosecuting confirmed the events surrounding the death of eight-year-old Anthony with Detective Sergeant Michael Corbett.

“The background is somewhat tragic,” said Mr O Leary.

Sergeant Corbett said he received a telephone call from Billy Ward whose sister Diane Ward had contacted him saying she had killed her son.

He said a phone call was received at 9.35am .

“Gardaí entered the home of Diane Ward. They discovered Diane Ward in a back bedroom on a bed with her son Anthony lying beside her. Gardaí checked for a pulse and there was no pulse. The emergency services were contacted. She (Ward) told the detective that she had killed Anthony by smothering him in the early hours of that morning.”

When asked by prosecution if a pillow was used, Sergeant Corbett said ‘that’s right’.

Sergeant Corbett said that on the evening of Sunday September 2nd, 2012 Diane Ward went to bed at 10pm.

He said her son went at 9pm. Ward got up between 3 and 3.30am. She had an envelope with a number packets of Paracetamol and she took these tablets with a glass of water.

“She returned to the bedroom and at this point decided that she would smother Anthony,” Sgt Corbett said.

The court heard that Ward felt that there would be no one to look after her son if she took her own life.

“If she took her own life, she thought there would be no one to look after Anthony,” said Mr O’Leary.

Seargent Corbett said that there had been a major rift between Diane and her family.

“Her brothers and mother live to the front of her house. In 2011 Anthony was diagnosed with ADHD which caused a major rift between Diane and her family. Her brothers and mother felt that his treatment didn’t agree with him. Diane felt it was in his best interest and felt as his mother she was doing the right thing continuing with the medication. There was a constant battle there with her brothers and mother.”

The court heard that Ward had been under pressure in preparation for Anthony returning to school.

“Anthony was due to return to school on the Monday morning and the pressures had been building,” said Sergeant Corbett.

“The envelope with the Paracetamol had a note on it saying ‘bury us together’. At the time, Diane was a 43-year-old mother and had never come to the notice of gardaí. It is a tragedy not alone for the parents but for extended relatives, friends and the community.”