Family terrorised at home by woman’s ex-partner

Galway Daily courts Man charged with possessing images of child sex abuse
credit: Robert Linsdell CC BY 2.0 'The Courthouse, Courthouse Square, Galway'

A family were left terrorised in their home after a woman’s former partner and his cousin smashed the front window, assaulted one person outside, and tried to force entry.

Jonathan Ward (24) and his cousin Martin Ward (26) were both sentenced to spend two years in prison at Galway Circuit Court for attacking the home of Jonathan’s former partner in September of 2018.

During the course of the incident, the two men smashed the front window of the house, which belonged to a relative of the woman, the owner of the house was assaulted by Jonathan when he came outside, and they then tried to force entry through the front door while the people inside held them back.

Judge Rory McCabe described the events of the night as a “violent and destructive invasion of a dwelling”. Thee judge said that the “significant violence” employed during the night resulted in damage to people and property.

He added that the damage to the home, which was estimated at €800 in value, remains uncompensated to this day.

Jonathan Ward, formerly of 60 Parkmore Estate, Galway, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm, trespassing, criminal damage, public order offences, and breaching a protection order.

While he was the younger of the two involved in this incident, Judge McCabe said that his culpability was arguably higher as the principal offender, and the one who started this.

He gave Ward concurrent prison sentences of three years each for the assault and criminal damage, eight months for breaching the protection order, and three months each for the trespassing and public order offences, with the final year of the sentence suspended.

Martin Ward, with an address at 28 Gilmartin Road, Tuam, pleaded guilty to two charges of criminal damage, public order offences of being intoxicated in public and the use of threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour, and criminal trespassing.

He received a three year sentence each for the criminal damage charges, three months for the trespassing, and three months on each of the public order offences.

Judge McCabe said that all of the sentences would run concurrently, and he suspended the final year of the sentence for a period of three years. Both men received credit for the time they have already spent in custody on these charges.

Garda Enda Glennon told Galway Circuit Court that on September 18 of 2018, shortly after 9pm, he was called to a house in the Corrib Park estate in Newcastle in response to reports of a disturbance there.

When Garda Glennon and his partner arrived they saw damage to the front door of house, including smashed panel windows, and that the window of the front room had been smashed.

They heard that the family were sitting in the front room, the woman and her young child, and two other members of the woman’s family, when they heard a bang as a bottle was thrown against the window of the room.

The owner of the house went outside and confronted the two, but was forced to run back to the house when he was assaulted by Jonathan Ward, and sustained facial injuries.

A medical report before the court showed that he suffered a double eye socket fracture as a result of being attacked by Ward.

The cousins then tried to force their way in through the front door of the house, and only left when they were told that the Gardaí has been called.

The two men were located near the Browne Roundabout not long afterwards, both extremely drunk, and were placed under arrest, but couldn’t be interviewed until the following morning due to the level of their drunkenness.

The court heard written impact statements from the injured parties in this case which stated that they have continued to suffer anxiety in the two years after the incident.

The woman said that her life had been changed for the worse after this. She still feels anxiety for her daughter’s safety after more than two years, and she also said that her grandfather doesn’t need this kind of stress at this point in his life.

Counsel for Martin Ward said that his client accepted his culpability, that he had no business being anywhere near the property in question that night, and that he wished to convey his apologies.

Mr Jonathan Ward’s counsel said that a probation report showed that his client has changed for the better since this incident, and has not come to any garda attention since 2018.

The time he spent in custody gave him insight into his actions counsel said, adding that he has been getting counselling for his alcohol addiction, and also wished to apologise.