Wait to question mother of deceased Cork boy continues

Gardaí are waiting to question Anthony Ward’s mother after the eight-year-old found dead in his bed yesterday morning.

The schoolboy died from asphyxiation, tests have shown today.

Diane Ward, 43, remains in the care of Cork University Hospital after being found in a distressed state by her son’s side in the bedroom of the family home in Harrison Place, Charleville, Co Cork.

Gardaí are consulting with medical staff as to whether she is fit to be interviewed by detectives.

The post-mortem examination was carried out at the same hospital by assistant State pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster.

Toxicology tests on blood samples were also taken to establish if any drugs or tablets were in the Anthony’s system prior to his death.

The property remains a crime scene after detectives secured a court order for more time to examine it.

Tributes have been paid to the youngster, who was described as a lovely, kind and friendly boy by the principal of the school he was due to go back to yesterday.

Psychological support will be offered to his young friends, as health chiefs review their involvement with the family prior to the “tragic incident”.

Carmel Walmsley, principal of Shandrum National School in Newtownshandrum, said the board of management, staff and pupils are deeply saddened at the death of Anthony.

“Our sympathy and thoughts are with Anthony’s family and friends,” she said.

“Anthony was a lovely boy, kind and friendly, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”

It is understood the Health Service Executive (HSE) South had been involved with the family for some time and has committed to a comprehensive review of the involvement of its services with the family.

A helpline number – 1800 201 890 – has been opened to give support, assistance and counselling to those in the locality affected by the incident.

Elsewhere, Ms Walmsley said the focus of the school staff at this time is to support the pupils in the school who are trying to come to terms with the loss of a young friend.

“We are receiving support in this work from the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) in the context of our Critical Incident Management Policy,” she added.

“The school will be advised by the psychologist and other agencies and will offer parents and pupils as much support as we can.

“To allow the staff to focus on the children we appeal for privacy and will make no further comment at this time.”

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