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Mum asked to be buried with son she killed

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

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

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

Timothy O'Leary SC, prosecuting, confirmed the events surrounding the death of tragic Anthony with Detective Sergeant Michael Corbett.

Sgt 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 on Monday September 3.

"Gardai entered the home of Diane Ward and discovered Ward in a back bedroom on a bed with her son Anthony lying beside her," Sgt Corbett said. "Gardai checked for a pulse and there was none. She told the detective that she had killed Anthony by smothering him."

When asked by prosecution if a pillow was used, Sgt Corbett replied "that's right".

Sgt Corbett said that on that evening of Sunday, September 2, Ward had gone to bed at 10pm, an hour after her son. Ward then got up between 3 and 3.30am and took a number packets of paracetamol.

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

Mr O'Leary told the court that Ward felt that there would be no one to look after her son if she took her own life.

Sgt Corbett said that there had been a major rift between Ward and her family after Anthony was diagnosed with ADHD in 2011.

"Her brothers and mother felt that his treatment didn't agree with him Diane felt it was in his best interest and that, as his mother, she was doing the right thing," Sgt Corbett said

"Anthony was due to return to school on the Monday morning and the pressures had been building," said Sgt 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 gardai.."

Sgt Corbett read a statement given by Anthony's father Mark Ryan.

The statement said. "I miss him dearly. Diane and myself have been friends for 10 years. She is a good person who made a mistake. I wish her well and have no grievance with Diane."

Mary Rose Gearty SC defending said: "Miss Ward feels regret in relation to this and is devastated. She had every intention of taking her own life and taking Anthony with her and for the two to be buried together..

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Helen O'Neill, of Dundrum Central Medical, told the court that Miss Ward suffers from recurrent depressive disorder.

She said Ward had been received treatment since 1992, which included electroconvulsive therapy, and that she had attempted suicide in the past.

"I don't think Miss Ward is fully aware he is dead, " Dr O'Neill said. "Anthony was the centre of her world."

"Her risk of suicide has reduced, although the risk of remains high. Miss Ward does not meet the criteria for mental disorder in my opinion."

Mr Justice Barry White said: "It would be wholly improper if Miss Ward was to be released into society today. I will put the matter back until the necessary support can be put in place."