Sunday 18 March 2018

'I’m going to blow her head off and mine' - Man threatened to take girlfriend to mountains before killing himself

Inquest hears details of death of Anthony Ward

Louise Roseingrave

A man who threatened to take a woman to the mountains and kill her shot himself after she escaped, an inquest heard.

Anthony John Ward (31) from Fr Kit Court, Crumlin, Dublin 12 beat and threatened his on/off girlfriend Niamh Fitzpatrick in the hours leading up his death. He forced her to drive to his sister’s house, where he collected a handgun and was driving towards the Dublin mountains when she ran screaming for help into a petrol station after he stopped to buy a cigarette lighter.

Ms Fitzpatrick said Mr Ward was ‘very good’ to her initially but as time went on developed a temper. He was using steroids and drugs, she told Dublin Coroner's Court. She wanted to end the relationship but he ‘didn’t want to let it go.’

He became violent and assaulted her twice before beginning anger management classes, she told the court. On the night of January 26, 2015, he called to her home and she let him in. Within seconds, he became angry and put a knife to her throat.

Anthony Ward who shot himself in the head on Tuesday January 27, 2015
Anthony Ward who shot himself in the head on Tuesday January 27, 2015

“I said go ahead, kill me, I can’t cope with this,” she told coroner Dr Myra Cullinane.

He replied no, he would kill himself and she would have to watch, she said. She tried to run after they drove to his sister’s house but he forced her back in the car, she said. “He had a gun in his hand,” she said.

At one point her sister phoned and he told her “I’m going to blow her head off and mine. She’s not coming back,” Ms Fitzpatrick told the court.

At a Texaco filling station near the Spawell Roundabout in Templeogue, Mr Ward stopped the car and gave Ms Fitzpatrick €2 to buy a lighter. She ran inside and screamed for help, warning staff that Mr Ward had a loaded gun. By coincidence, Garda Nevan Hartley had pulled into the station in a squad car and he observed the female ‘sprinting into the station.’

“He sped off as soon as he saw us,” the garda said.

Gardai had received an earlier notification of an incident involving a man forcing a woman into a car near Crumlin. Deducing the two incidents might be linked, Garda Mary Brophy of Terenure garda station stopped a squad car on the Spawell Roundabout to observe Mr Ward's approach. His car approached at speed from the M50 direction but hit the kerb, spun 180 degrees and stopped, Gda Brophy said.

Gardai approached but retreated when Mr Ward stepped out of the car holding a handgun. The two gardai collided in their rush to retreat and fell to the ground.

“Anthony Ward got out of the car with a small silver firearm in his hand. I heard a single gunshot and then I heard a voice say ‘he’s going to kill himself,'" Gda Brophy said. She heard another shot and observed Mr Ward fall backwards. Mr Ward was rushed to Tallaght Hospital where he died the following day. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head according to State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy. A toxicology report found Mr Ward had traces of diazepam and cocaine in his system when he fired the gun.

Mr Ward’s father, Douglas Ward said his son was interested in boxing until he was 16. At 19 he met a girl and became a father. He underwent treatment for heroin addiction and later went to prison, Mr Ward said.

“He loved being a father, he idolised his son and loved his family,” Douglas Ward said. The jury returned a verdict stating the deceased took his own life.

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