Judge gives woman suspended sentence for son's manslaughter

A Cork woman has received a seven-year suspended sentence for smothering her eight-year-old son to death with a pillow.

Mr Justice Barry White said the case was "particularly tragic" as Diane Ward was "clearly very troubled" at the time of the killing at her home in Harrison's Place, Charleville in September 2012

In the early hours of September 3, 2012, Diane Ward smothered her son with a pillow, attempted to take her own life and left a note saying "bury us together".

The 44-year-old survived the suicide attempt and later pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of eight-year-old Anthony.

The Central Criminal Court heard there had been a major rift in her family and she had fears there would be nobody to look after her son if she took her own life.

She has been in the Central Mental Hospital since 2012, but no longer meets the criteria for a mental disorder.

Having heard evidence from a consultant psychiatrist that there is a suitable voluntary in-patient placement for her in Cork, Mr Justice Barry White imposed a seven-year suspended sentence, on an undertaking that she remains there until such time she is considered fit to return to the community.

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