Mum quizzed over death

Gardaí will today resume questioning a 43-year-old mother in connection with the death of her only child at a house in North Cork.

Diane Ward was arrested at Cork University Hospital yesterday after an autopsy revealed her son Anthony, 8, had been asphyxiated at their home in Charleville.

Ms Ward had been receiving medical care at CUH since gardaí found her in “a very distressed state” at the house in Harrison Place on Monday.

They found Anthony dead in his bed at about 9.30am.

Ms Ward was driven by detectives to Mallow Garda Station at 6.16pm yesterday, where she was detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. She can be questioned for up to 24 hours.

As Anthony’s funeral arrangements were finalised yesterday, his extended family asked for donations to be made to Cork Mental Health instead of floral tributes.

The HSE said that, following Anthony’s death, it was carrying out a comprehensive internal review of its involvement with the family.

However, Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said an independent inquiry should be carried out instead.

“An independent inquiry is warranted,” said Mr Kelleher.

“This is a grieving and traumatised family. We need to ascertain the facts and the terms of referral to establish the HSE’s involvement.”

Earlier at Newcastle West District Court in Co Limerick, Judge John O’Neill granted gardaí more time to carry out forensic analysis at the house.

Supt Pat McCarthy, who is leading the investigation, said the technical examination was finalised last night.

Anthony was supposed to start a new year at Shandrum National School on the day he was found dead.

His school clothes had been set aside in his bedroom for his trip to the school in Newtownshandrum, just 6km from his home.

Shandrum NS principal Carmel Walmsley said the 160 pupils had been offered counselling by the National Educational Psychological Service.

She described Anthony as “a lovely boy, kind and friendly” who would be “greatly missed by all who knew him”.

His body will lie in repose at Hawes Funeral Home from 2pm today until 5pm, when it will be removed to the local Holy Cross Church at 5pm.

Anthony will be buried following requiem Mass at 2.30pm tomorrow at the Holy Cross Cemetery.

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