Belfast Telegraph

Sadistic Christmas day killer given 17-year term for Jayne Toal-Reat murder

By Paul Higgins

A sadistic killer who stabbed a mum to death in a frenzied knife attack after she caught him sexually assaulting her daughter was told it will be 2034 before he is even considered for release.

Imposing a 17 year minimum tariff on 20-year-old self-confessed killer and pervert Nathan Ward at Craigavon Crown Court, Judge Patrick Lynch QC told him “ I emphasise again that this is a minimum term-when, or even if, you are ever safe to be released will be a matter to be determined by the parole commissioners not before 2034.“

The judge told Ward, who sat handcuffed, leaning forward continually looking at the floor throughout the half hour hearing, that by murdering Jayne Toal-Reat and attempting to murder her daughter Charlotte, “you, Ward, have robbed her of her life and prospects".

“Nothing this court, or you can never do well even begin to undo the damage you have caused her through your own uncontrolled hatreds and passions.“

This destroys me she was my best friend. Charlotte

As Ward was being led to the cells to begin his life sentence Charlotte, who continually cried in dignified silence, jumped over the three foot wooden partition separating the gallery from the body of the court and was held back by four uniformed police officers, shouting at Ward “I will kill you,” before being comforted by friends and relatives who had packed the public gallery.

Speaking after the hearing, Charlotte said, while she couldn't say she was happy, she was glad he had admitted to his actions.

"This has been an extremely long and tough journey without my mum and it will only continue. The courts are finally over however I will never see my mummy again and this destroys me she was my best friend, my everything and I love her so much."

Ward, wearing a black t-shirt and blue track suit bottoms, showed no emotion and remained impassive during Friday's hearing.

At an earlier hearing Ward admitted the murder of 43-year-old psychiatric nurse Jayne, the attempted murder of Charlotte and wounding his father Joseph Tweedie with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm on Christmas Day 2017.

Charlotte with her mother Jayne

It can now be revealed that Ward also confessed to three counts of sexually assaulting Charlotte, twice on December 9 after she celebrated her 21st birthday and again on Christmas Day. She waived her right to anonymity.

It was the sexual assault at 5.17am on Christmas morning that when caught by Jayne, sparked Ward into launching his savage and murderous attack with a 9” combat knife he had bought online.

During his sentencing remarks on Friday Judge Lynch said Ward appeared “to have had an unhealthy sexual obsession with Charlotte, not reciprocated, which, in part at any rate, underlies the tragic events giving rise to the Christmas day murder".

His reaction was, by implication, an attempt to cover up his own perverted actions. Judge Lynch

Ward told police that when Jayne woke up and challenged him, he “just snapped” and felt he had no other choice but “to just go for it.”

Addressing legal guidelines for sentencing in murder cases, the judge said he assessed Ward as a dangerous offender due to “ The extreme nature of the offences of violence, the degree of premeditation, the defendant arming himself preparatory to the attack.”

He told Ward the murder was aggravated by the fact that his victim had been asleep and vulnerable in her own home, the gratuitous violence used in the attacks and that the killing was carried out “to defeat the ends of justice” by killing the two witnesses to his sexual assault of Charlotte.

“His reaction was, by implication, an attempt to cover up his own perverted actions by silencing the two potential witnesses, however irrational response that may have been.“

In mitigation, the judge said Ward was 19 at the time of the brutal murder, has expressed remorse and was due some credit for pleading guilty although he added that “ I can scarcely avoid commenting that he had no option but to accept them.“

Jailing Ward for at least 17 years, Judge Lynch told the killer the sentence would have been 20 years if he had been convicted after a trial.

The judge also imposed 12 years for the attempted murder of Charlotte, five years for wounding his father and five years on each of the sexual assaults, with all those sentenced to be served concurrently to the life term.

Police welcomed the sentencing.

Detective Inspector Michelle Griffin said: “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own home yet on Christmas Morning in 2017, Jayne was lying sleeping in her bed with her daughter Charlotte when she awoke to find her step-son Nathan standing at the bedside.

"When Jayne challenged Nathan and asked why he was in their room, he stabbed her multiple times. Charlotte, who was 21 at the time, was stabbed three times in the head and when Nathan’s father Joseph came to their aid from another room in the house he was also stabbed in the stomach by Nathan. Police officers arrived at the scene but despite their efforts, they were unable to save Jayne’s life and she passed away in her daughter’s arms."

The officer continued: "No young woman should have to see their mother murdered and to hold them in their arms as they pass away. Charlotte and her mother should have been waking up looking forward to the excitement of Christmas day and sitting down for a family dinner. Instead Jayne was savagely murdered and Charlotte and Joe’s life were changed forever.

“Jayne was a psychiatric nurse who made her living looking after others and she was murdered in cold blood by Nathan who she had welcomed in to her home. Nathan has robbed her of the joy of seeing her daughter grow as a young woman, possibly getting married and giving her grandchildren. Nathan’s callous actions have also denied Charlotte the love and friendship of her mother and robbed his father of the chance to have a long and happy future with his partner.

“Nathan is a dangerous man who has shown no remorse for his actions. I welcome the fact that he is now behind bars and the community is a safer place as a result of this police investigation.

“Despite having been left extremely traumatised by the incident, Jayne’s family have displayed great courage. Whilst no sentence can ever take away their pain, I hope they get some comfort from knowing that Nathan Ward has been held fully accountable for his actions."

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