Court: Jail for man who turned gun on Dagenham boxer after fight between family members turned nasty

Francis O'Donoghue

Francis O'Donoghue - Credit: Archant

A traveller who shot a former Team GB boxer during a row between two warring families has been jailed for 16 and a half years.

Martin Ward. Picture: Lawrence Lustig

Martin Ward. Picture: Lawrence Lustig - Credit: LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Francis O’Donoghue, 27, blasted European junior champion Martin Ward – who launched his career at Dagenham Boxing Club – in the chest during a heated confrontation on a travellers’ site in Brentwood in August.

Armed police at the scene of the shooting in August (pic: Ellie Hoskins)

Armed police at the scene of the shooting in August (pic: Ellie Hoskins) - Credit: Archant

He also shot Mr Ward’s brother John in the thigh while breaking up a scrap between his wife and the Wards’ sister Roseanne.

Flashback to the shooting in August

Flashback to the shooting in August - Credit: Archant

After wounding the brothers, dad-of-three O’Donoghue turned the gun on their relatives, shouting: “I will do you all in.”

Judge Andrew Lees heard the shooting had followed a spat between O’Donoghue’s wife Theresa, 25, and a 15-year-old girl from the Ward family.


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Prosecutor Tony Prosser said: “Theresa O’Donoghue formed the opinion the 15-year-old girl had been disrespectful towards her and [Francis O’Donoghue], in tradition of the travelling community, thought there should be a fight between two grown women to settle the dispute.

“As the girl was only 15 it was thought another member of the Ward family, Roseanne, should take her place and fight Theresa.”

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While Roseanne was shopping in Harold Wood, she was confronted by Mrs O’Donoghue. Roseanne’s husband and Francis O’Donoghue separated them – but later a fight broke out between the women on Lizvale Farm in Navestock, Brentwood.

O’Donoghue told his wife to “bite and eat” Roseanne Ward before he in turn was confronted by her brothers. He left and returned with a pistol before shooting them.

The glazier fled the travellers’ site, resulting in a manhunt by Essex Police, and was finally tracked down in East Barnet on October 12.

O’Donoghue, of Russell Avenue, in Wood Green, pleaded guilty to wounding, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and possession of cannabis.

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