Neighbours vow to support farmer through shooting retrial

NEIGHBOURS of Mayo farmer Padraig Nally who arrived home on Sunday have vowed to support him as he faces a retrial for the killing of Traveller John ‘Frog’ Ward.

The 62-year-old bachelor is back at his home in Funshinagh, near Cross, for the first time since July last year when he was sentenced to six years in jail for killing Mr Ward.

During his time in prison, a support group made up of neighbours and friends have been looking after his farm.

Senior garda officers are understood to have drawn up a security plan to protect Nally.

Local divisional officers in Mayo are to supervise the safety measures.

Gardaí are concerned at the possibility that the bachelor farmer could be attacked because of the high emotions surrounding the case.

Gardaí are keeping a discreet watch on Nally’s two-storey home in rural south Mayo.

The Court of Criminal Appeal last week ordered a retrial of the case in which Nally is accused of shooting dead Traveller John Ward, 42.

The father-of-11, from the Carrowbrowne halting site on the Headford Road in Galway, was shot twice and beaten by Nally after entering the farmer’s house uninvited on October 14, 2004.

Nally said he had been living in fear of being attacked in his home and had spent days sitting alongside a loaded shotgun in his shed.

A jury sitting in Castlebar had found him not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter and Mr Justice Paul Carney had handed down a six-year sentence last year.

“The support group has been looking after things while he was away in prison, but I’m sure he was happy with the way he found things there today,” said a group spokesman.

“He is not saying anything and we expect that a statement may be made by his solicitor in the next few days, but that’s for others to decide.

“Given all that has happened, we won’t be saying anything about the developments in court last week or about a retrial and the same I am sure goes for Padraig.”

John Ward’s widow Marie has also declined all media requests for an interview about the decision to order a retrial. In a brief comment she agreed that she was “upset and disappointed” at the outcome of the Nally appeal.

Ms Ward and her family have left Galway and are believed to be living in the Longford area.

She received hate mail and was the subject of intimidation as a result of the case, according to the Galway Travellers Movement, and was now trying to rebuild her life.

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