Nathan Ward ‘fantasised for six months’ about killing nurse Jayne Toal-Reat

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A woman who saw her mother stabbed to death had to be physically restrained from the killer in court on Friday.

As 20-year-old killer Nathan Ward was being led to the cells at Craigavon Crown Court, Charlotte Reat, herself stabbed in the Christmas Day attack which killed her mum Jayne Toal-Reat, had to be held back by her father Simon.

Nathan Ward will be sentenced next Friday

Nathan Ward will be sentenced next Friday

Weeping, Charlotte shouted out to Ward, “I hate you, I hate you.”

Ward, already handed a life sentence for Jayne’s murder, will be told the minimum tariff he will have to spend behind bars next Friday.

As well as admitting murder, Ward, confessed to the attempted murder of Charlotte and wounding his father Joseph Tweedie with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm on Christmas Day 2017.

Prosecuting QC Ciaran Murphy likened the incident to something akin “to a pulp fiction novel” and that the blood-spattered bedroom where the murder happened was “like something from a horror film”.

Mr Murphy revealed that Ward confessed he had been “fantasising” about killing 44-year-old nurse Jayne for around six months before the unprovoked attack.

He revealed that Ward bought the 9” “Bowie or Rambo knife” used in the attack along with a machete and other items including handcuffs, duct tape and a Soviet gas mask from an online site and that he admitted he fantasied about “trapping and torturing” Jayne before killing her.

The court heard Ward felt ill-will towards Jayne as he believed his father “always prioritised” his six-year relationship with her over him.

Mr Murphy said Jayne, Charlotte and Joe wrapped present before they went to bed, Charlotte and Jayne in one room and Joe in the other bedroom at his house on Mornington Lane, Lisburn.

Mr Mruphy said before 5.30am, Jayne awoke to find Ward in the bedroom, adding that he was about to sexually assault Charlotte.

Jayne shouted “what the f***”, and then ,according to Charlotte, Ward lunged “violently at her mother”.

The lawyer outlining how Ward “started hitting her” and Jayne let out a “pained scream”.

Ward was stabbing Jayne at the back of her head and upper back near her neck and when Charlotte got up, Ward attacked her.

The lawyer said: “She tried to defend herself by lying on her back and raising her legs up, kicking and pushing out at him....she said he was smiling.”

Having managed to kick him off, Charlotte didn’t see the knife until Ward got back up again and held the knife “to her throat or chest”.

Having been awoken by the screaming, Ward’s father “ran in” and grabbed the knife but during the ensuing struggle, he was stabbed as well.

Having disarmed Ward, Mr Murphy described how Joe said his son “just changed, like a switch...saying ‘it wasn’t me daddy, I don’t know what I’m doing, it wasn’t me’.”

Neighbours heard the screams and called 999 at 5.56am. When officers arrived five minutes later, they found Ward with the “large black sheath” of the murder weapon tucked into his boxer shorts.

Mr Murphy said Jayne had been stabbed seven times in the back, with wounds “nicking” her spine, penetrating through her ribs and sternum at the front of her body and one which lacerated the aorta.

Charlotte suffered multiple lacerations to her head and face which required stitching. Mr Tweedie also sustained lacerations.

Ward told police two days later he had been in his room on Christmas Eve drinking Jack Daniels when he got the knife from the shelf where he kept it and went to the bedroom to “test himself to see if he still had the urge to kill”.

The lawyer submitted that Ward murdered Jayne because “she had caught him out” about to sexually assault her daughter.

Lodging his plea in mitigation, defence QC Peter Irvine said the reports and statements bear “testimony to the anguish and the total devastation sustained due to this totally senseless and unjustified killing” for which Ward had shown “a degree of remorse”.

Remanding Ward back into custody, Judge Patrick Lynch QC said he would fix the minimum tariff of the life term next Friday.