Family pay tribute to father, 30, who was ‘savagely attacked’ and dragged into an alleyway to die as couple he spent the night drinking with are sentenced for his murder
- Father-of-four Patrick Ward died after being assaulted in County Tyrone in 2019
The family of a 30-year-old father who was ‘savagely attacked’ and dragged into an alleyway to die have paid tribute to him.
Father-of-four Patrick Ward died after being seriously assaulted with a number of weapons in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, on February 9, 2019.
Today, a couple he spent the night drinking with were sentenced for his murder.
Niall Cox, 28, was told he must serve 20 years in jail for Mr Wards murder, while his partner Karen Marie McDonald was sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter – five of which are to be served in prison.
Mr Ward’s widow Ellen and her parents sat in court, while his children and members of the extended family were present outside with cars saying ‘RIP Pat ‘Big Bang” and wearing T-shirts calling for justice to be served.
In a statement, Mrs Ward said her husband’s death will haunt her forever.
A vehicle with images of Pat Ward on in the car park of Dungannon Courthouse as a couple have been sentenced over the killing of the father of four
Ellen Ward, widow of Patrick Ward, with their children Tom and Leonie outside Dungannon Courthouse
In a statement, Mrs Ward said her husband’s death will haunt her forever (pictured together)
Ellen Ward (left), widow of Patrick Ward, with daughter Leonie (third right) and family members outside Dungannon Courthouse
‘Pat was my husband, and my entire world,’ she said. ‘I lost the love of my life, and the way in which he died will haunt me forever.
‘I can’t begin to understand how anyone could inflict such brutality, such cruelty, upon another living being.
‘Our children were so young when Pat’s life was taken, Pat Junior was just a baby. They have been left to grow up without their father.’
Mrs Ward said it breaks her heart that her husband, who was originally from County Sligo in the republic of Ireland, isn’t there to see their children grow up. She added that while she is relieved by today’s verdict, it ‘won’t of course bring my husband back’.
Mr Ward’s son Tom said his father was ‘loving and caring’, while his daughter Leonie described him as ‘funny’.
Addressing Mrs Ward during the sentencing of Cox and McDonald, Mr Justice Stephen Fowler said he had been moved by her statement to the court.
He said: ‘What you have had to cope with would break many people.
‘You were left with four children between the ages of 11 and 14 months when Patrick was murdered. I can only imagine how difficult this was and still is for you.’
The court heard that Mr Ward had been beaten, kicked and stabbed and had died of numerous severe injuries.
A vehicle with an image of Mr Ward reads: ‘Hi lads this is me Big Bang, I vow to you we are The Cranners’
Mr Ward’s son Tom said his father was ‘loving and caring’, while his daughter Leonie described him as ‘funny’ (both pictured)
Mrs Ward is pictured outside court along with extended family members as Cox and McDonald were sentenced
Relatives of Patrick Ward wearing t-shirts calling for justice outside Dungannon Court House in County Tyrone
He had suffered a bleed to the brain, multiple stab wounds and three fractured ribs and had head injuries consistent with being hit with a heavy object.
McDonald was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. The judge said he could not be satisfied she had taken part in the assault on the victim, but said she had been in close proximity as the victim was dragged out of the house.
The judge added: ‘It is to her shame while she was in her house she did nothing to assist Mr Ward. She could have called the police or the ambulance.
‘She showed a callous and a supreme indifference to this dying man’s plight.’
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