Devastated mum of man shot dead after witnessing gangland hit in Dublin in plea to meet young dad’s evil killers
- 6 Oct 2020, 7:30
THE devastated mum of an innocent dad who was shot dead because he witnessed a gangland hit said last night: “I want to meet the man who killed my boy.”
Heartbroken Nora Ward, 68, from Co Galway, made the plea on the 13th anniversary of the brutal murder of her son Edward, 24.
She told the Irish Sun: “He was the father of two beautiful little girls and had his whole life in front of him before it was taken from him in what can only be described as an act of pure evil.”
The dad-of-two was shot dead as he spoke to Brian Downes, 40, on Greenhills Road in Walkinstown, south Dublin, at around 10pm on October 5, 2007.
Innocent Edward had only gone to Downes’ house to collect log books for a van he had purchased.
Once there, a contract killer hired by godfather ‘Mr Big’ and Christopher ‘Git’ Zambra to kill Downes arrived and opened fire.
SHOT TWICE BY GANGLAND ASSASSIN
Downes was hit eight times as Edward, originally from Tuam in Co Galway, ran for his life.
The young man was shot in the back and once again as he defended himself from the gangland assassin.
Investigators believe Edward — who gardai confirmed was not involved in crime and was a completely innocent bystander — was murdered because he was a witness to Downes’ killing.
Downes, who had close connections to major criminals across the capital at the time of his death, was placed on a hit-list by Mr Big and Zambra in a row over cash.
And as Mr Big’s mob — who have been linked to 16 murders over the years — continue to terrorise the people of Ireland, the murder victim’s mum told of her family’s 13-year nightmare.
‘I WANT TO LOOK THEM IN THE EYE’
The grandmum said: “I don’t know who took my precious son from me but I would have no problem in meeting them and asking them why?
“They can’t do any more harm to me so I want to look them in the eye and ask them how they’ve slept over the years knowing they’ve claimed an innocent man’s life.
“When they arrived that night to kill the other man they must have known my son wasn’t involved in anything — they had to know he was just a normal Traveller boy.
“They probably killed him because they thought he was a witness but what could he have witnessed — they were masked and it would have been impossible for him to identify anyone.
“When I was told my son had been shot dead all those years ago they could have heard my screams from Galway in Dublin. It’s been 13 years but I am still screaming for my son.”
‘OUR LIVES ARE DESTROYED’
Edward’s mum also revealed how her son’s murder has caused so much misery to her extended family over the years.
She added: “I was so happy before my Edward was shot because I knew he was just so thrilled at becoming a dad again — family was everything to him.
“I had just become a grandmother again and we were all looking forward to the future before a stranger came into our lives and destroyed them.
“Everyone in our family has been affected by this cowardly act because he was just so special.
“My husband Martin has Parkinson’s now and the stress of what happened over the years hasn’t been easy. I would also like to ask the mothers of those involved in the killing of my son how they would feel if it happened to them?
“Words can’t describe the pain that something like this causes and I can never forgive them because of what they did.
“The world of gangland was alien to us and a decent family can never imagine being dragged into such a nightmare.”
‘MY SON DESERVES JUSTICE’
Grieving Nora added: “We used to go to his graveside every day for three years but it just got so painful for us to keep doing this.
“It’s 13 years now and all we are asking is that anyone with the slightest bit of information to pick up the phone and tell gardai what they know.
“When you look at families such as our own and people like the family of the poor family of (innocent murder victim) Anthony Campbell who have also never got justice, it’s just heartbreaking.
“My son deserves justice for the two beautiful daughters he had that grew up without their daddy. We will never get over the loss of my precious son.”
As the distraught mum-of-15 continues to mourn the loss of her son, the Irish Sun can reveal gardai in Crumlin have launched a new review of their ongoing investigation.
Although two people were arrested over the double murder, no one has ever been charged by gardai.
NEW GARDA INVESTIGATION
The new probe is being run by a team of detectives under the command of Supt Frank Ferry.
The senior officer said: “A full review of this case will be undertaken by a team of detectives and the family will be brought up to date on all matters.
“We will be making arrangements to meet with Mr Ward’s family about our investigation over the coming days. We also intend to make a public appeal in relation to the investigation.”
Mrs Ward also paid tribute to her son, adding: “He was just such a lovely, kind hearted and generous person who would have done anything for his family.
“I remember him asking my husband about presents for our anniversary and the next thing he does is buys us a van. He was a daddy himself but he was still my boy and always will be.
“We all have so many precious memories of him.”
We also spoke to Edward’s daughters, Jessica and Katie, about their “lifetime” of pain over their dad’s murder.
Jessica, 16, who was just three at the time, said: “I remember seeing my daddy in the coffin and thinking he was just sleeping.
“I also remember asking why everyone was crying and my mum telling me my daddy had gone to look after my two brothers who were stillborn, while she was staying to look after my sister and I.
“My daddy was murdered four days before my birthday and the only thing in our lives he was here for was our christenings.
“People say children don’t grieve but they do, my sister and I have been grieving for 13 years. I feel so sorry for my poor grandparents be- cause when they see my sister they breakdown because she looks just like our dad.
“No parent should have to bury their child and I just feel so sorry for them because their son who was just 24 was taken from them.”
‘BIRTHDAYS ARE HARD’
And Katie, who was only eight months old at the time of the murder, added: “It doesn’t matter that I know that he is gone.
“I still hope against all hope that my daddy will come walking through the door.
“I looked over my shoulder on my communion, my confirmation, hoping this was all one very bad dream and that he would be standing there smiling like any daddy would smile on days when he was happy and proud.
“My birthdays are hard for me because I was born a few months prior to when he was murdered. So every one of my birthdays are a reminder of how long he is gone.
“I miss him and I feel angry that my daddy was robbed off me.
“Why do other people get to have their daddies and we don’t get to have ours?