Killers 'sorry' for frenzied attack on father of four Pat Ward

Blood was found in every room of the house a man was beaten, kicked and stabbed during a “frenzied and sustained” attack four-and-half years ago, a court has been told.

Pat Ward, a father of four, died after being seriously assaulted with a number of weapons including a dumbbell and machete before being dragged into an alleyway and left to die in Clogher in February 2019.

Niall Cox (28) of McCrea Park was caught on CCTV dragging Mr Ward's limp body out of the house.

Cox admitted murdering the 30-year-old in January 2023 and in February 2023 a jury found his partner and co-accused Karen McDonald (37) not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

During a sentence hearing the court heard Pat Ward suffered multiple injuries including bleeding on the brain, fractured ribs and knife wounds.

He had been socialising with Cox and McDonald in Ms McDonalds McCrea park home before a fight broke out which ended up with murder.

Cox and McDonald sat side-by-side in the dock as Pat Ward's family listened to the gruesome detail of what happened in the public gallery.

The defence for Cox told the court what happened was a “catastrophe” and his client has expressed “great remorse” and it's “not manufactured or contrived its genuine”.

Cox was 23 when the murder happened and he is now 28 having already spent four years in prison.

Cox originally from Sligo was in a relationship with McDonald at the time of the killing having met her through one of Pat Ward's family.

Cox claims he was high on drugs and alcohol at the time and he has so much respect for Mr Ward's family and “he can't put into words how sorry he is” because Mr Ward and he were “mates”.

The defence for McDonald told the Judge his client is “profoundly sorry” and she accepts she “should have done more to help Mr Ward, she should have phoned the police and she should have phoned the ambulance” on the night he died.

McDonald claims she was in a violent relationship with Cox.

The court heard she told police at the time “I feel sorry for that man's wife and children. I haven't stopped thinking about the man's wife and children. I wish that man was living”.

Her defence say there's no evidence that McDonald attacked Pat Ward but she accepts she did lift his legs for a number of seconds while Cox was dragging him out of her home.

The Judge will sentence both Cox and McDonald on Wednesday.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.