County Limerick brothers confronted grieving woman at month’s mind

Inspector Gearoid Thompson who prosecuted the case.

TWO County Limerick men who confronted a grieving woman and her son at a month’s mind ceremony have been convicted of engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour.

Judge Patricia Harney heard that Christopher Ward (45) of Sycamore Drive, Bruff and his brother, David Ward (36) of 10, Sarsfield Street, Kilmallock confronted Elaine O’Regan and her son Jamie (22) in Balingaddy Cemetery on April 30 last and then followed them home.

Kilmallock District Court heard evidence that the incident took place during a month’s mind service for Ms O’Regan’s late partner of 15 years, Austin Ward.

Ms O’Regan told the court that David Ward was “roaring” at her and said she wasn’t welcome at the home at Gotoon, Kilmallock, where she had lived with his late brother.

“Christopher Ward pointed at my son and told him in no certain terms to get out. I was afraid of my life and I called the guards.”

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Ms O’Regan said she and her son went home and locked the gate behind them but the Wards followed.

“They tried to force the gate to get in and they were shouting,” she said.

Jamie O’Regan told the court that while in the graveyard “David walked straight up to my mother and roared into her face. He said that he had run one of her friends out of the yard (in Gotoon) and she wasn’t welcome either.

“Chris walked up to me and pointed his finger at my chest and said “get the f*** out of my yard. Do you understand that?”

Mr O’Regan said he was “shaking with fear,” during the encounter and later, back at their home, the two men tried to ring his phone and shouted “answer your phone or you know what I’ll do to you.”

Mr O’Regan said he was “incredibly scared. They looked demonic.”

Both men denied the charge of engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour and their solicitor said that while there had been an encounter, “it does not meet the threshold for conviction of an offence.”

Judge Harney said she found the evidence given by Jamie O’Regan, “extremely compelling.

“He was absolutely terrified. He was shaking in the witness box,” she added.

Judge Harney was told that David Ward has 47 previous convictions for offences including public order, possession of illegal drugs and possession with intent to sell or supply drugs, criminal damage, obstructing a Garda and road traffic offences.

Inspector Gearoid Thompson said that Christopher Ward had four previous convictions, two for road traffic violations and two for firearm offences in 1998.

Judge Harney sentenced David Ward to one month in jail, suspended for 18 months and convicted Christopher Ward putting him on 12 months probation.

She set bail in the event of an appeal at €100 for each man and imposed a condition that they stay away from both the injured parties and the property where Ms O’Regan lives.