Woman arrested in relation to boy's death

Wed, Sep 5, 2012, 01:00

GARDAÍ YESTERDAY arrested a woman for questioning in connection with the death of an eight-year-old schoolboy, Anthony Ward, in Charleville, north Cork, on Monday.

The woman was arrested at a location in Cork city yesterday shortly after 5pm and brought to Mallow Garda station for questioning.

The boy was found dead in bed at the home he shared with his mother, Diane, at Harrison Place in Charleville after she contacted a family member.

The woman was arrested by detectives under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows gardaí detain suspects for up to 24 hours for questioning.

The arrest came after gardaí under Supt Pat McCarthy upgraded their inquiry into the boy’s death from a suspicious death inquiry to a murder investigation.

The change in status followed the completion of a postmortem on the boy by the Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster.

Although gardaí declined to release the results of the postmortem for operational reasons, it is understood it confirmed he was asphyxiated.

Garda technical experts removed a number of items from the family home, including a note found in a bedroom.

Ms Ward, who had been found in the house in a highly distressed state by family members and gardaí, was yesterday discharged from hospital in Cork.

She had been brought to Cork University Hospital, where she was assessed by medical experts on Monday and admitted to a general medical ward.

However, she was discharged from hospital yesterday evening after a consultant judged her fit to be discharged.

Meanwhile, further details emerged yesterday regarding contact between the Health Service Executive and the Ward family.

Members of the Ward family had contacted the HSE South childcare department on several occasions last year to express concern about Anthony Ward.

The boy had been due to begin second class at Newtownshandrum national school on Monday and the school yesterday issued a statement expressing sorrow at his death.

“Our sympathy and thoughts are with Anthony’s family and friends. Anthony was a lovely boy, kind and friendly, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him,” it said.

The school said the focus of staff was on supporting pupils who were trying to come to terms with the loss of a young friend and it appealed for privacy.

The school confirmed it was receiving support from the National Educational Psychological Service in helping pupils and parents cope with the tragic death.

Meanwhile, the Ward family were yesterday being comforted by relatives as preparations were being made for Anthony Ward’s removal this afternoon in Charleville.

He will lie in repose at Hawe’s funeral home between 2pm and 5pm, when he will be removed to Holy Cross Church in Charleville. The funeral Mass will take place at 2.30pm tomorrow.