A man whose marriage was “marked” by arguments and disputes told gardaí that he “snapped” and stabbed his wife, who was 10 years his junior, after she had hit him with a bottle, a murder trial jury is to hear.
However, prosecution counsel also told the jury on Tuesday that when later asked in interview if he had stabbed his wife, the accused man said it was “possible he did” but claimed he had no memory of it.
Counsel said the jury will hear medical evidence about the mental state of the accused and the fact he previously had a stroke.
Alan Ward (54) is charged with the murder of Catherine Ward (41) at their home on Greenfort Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin 22 on March 1st, 2019.
Mr Ward also faces two other charges in relation to the same incident.
He is accused of making a threat to kill or cause serious harm to Adam Ward, intending him to believe that it would be carried out. He is further accused of attempting to stab Adam Ward on the same date.
He has pleaded not guilty to each of the three counts.
In his opening address on Tuesday morning, prosecution counsel Bernard Condon SC said it was “about the most tragic type” of case that one can imagine. “One is in the dock, the other is dead and they have sons,” he said. The couple’s son Martin is 24 years old, while his brother Adam is 23.
In relation to the evidence against the accused, Mr Condon said the jury will hear from his sons, whose lives now “revolve” around the fact that their father stabbed their mother to death. “This is a tragedy of monumental scale which you are being asked to deal with,” he added.
Addressing the 12 jurors, Mr Condon said that they may have feelings of anger, sympathy and revulsion but they were here to be judges. “You don’t leave your humanity outside the door but you do leave your emotion,” he pointed out.
The court heard Mr Ward was 51-years-old at the time of the killing. “I doubt there will be much of an issue with the fact that he did kill his wife, the issues are likely to be elsewhere,” he said.
Arguments and disputes
Mr Condon said the evidence will be that the marriage was “marked” by arguments and disputes over the years. There was also some drinking going on.
The court will also hear evidence from the sons, the lawyer said, as to how Mr Ward behaved in the house, how he treated their mother and the disputes which occurred.
Detailing the circumstances of Catherine’s death, Mr Condon said the eldest son Martin Ward was in his bedroom with his girlfriend. Adam Ward was playing the Playstation in his bedroom.
There will be evidence, Mr Condon said, that the accused was seen coming up the stairs with a knife. Counsel said that a commotion was then heard in the parent’s bedroom.
“Adam goes into the bedroom, he hears his mother screaming, he sees her lying on the floor with her head near the door. She had been stabbed,” he said.
The barrister further stated that the former Deputy State Pathologist Michael Curtis carried out a postmortem on Mrs Ward and found multiple stab wounds to her body. “The most serious wound was to the front of her neck, which penetrated the trachea. It would have proved rapidly fatal,” he said.
There were also stab wounds to Mrs Ward’s face, chin, left ear and chest. The court heard there were defensive type wounds to her hand. Her cause of death was the stab wound to the neck.
The court heard further evidence will be that Adam Ward came into the bedroom and grabbed his father. “He swiped at Adam and tried to stab him,” he said