Jayne Toal Reat murder: ‘Sentence will never bring my mummy back,’ says heartbroken daughter

Police have welcomed the sentence handed down to a man who murdered his father’s partner at her home in Lisburn on Christmas Day 2017.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 1:20 pm
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 1:51 pm

Nathan Ward, 20 was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum tariff of 17 years in custody, for stabbing 43-year-old nurse Jayne Toal Reat to death. The was also sentenced for the attempted murder of her daughter Charlotte and the grievous bodily harm of his father Joseph, as well as a number of sexual offences carried out on Charlotte over a period of time.

Speaking through floods of tears after Ward’s sentencing, Charlotte told the media outside Craigavon Crown Court this morning: “I just want to thank the police for being there for me and my family. “[I’m] disappointed at the outcome because it will never bring my mummy back.”

Charlotte added she was glad that Ward had “finally admitted to what he has done”.

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Charlotte Reat leaves court after her mother's killer is sentenced. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

She continued: “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.”

In a statement after Ward’s sentencing, police told how Jayne was lying sleeping in her bed with her daughter Charlotte on Christmas morning 2017 when she awoke to find her step-son Nathan standing at the bedside.

Recounting the harrowing sequence of events that led to Jayne’s death, Detective Inspector Michelle Griffin said: “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.

“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.

Charlotte Reat with and family and friends after Nathan Ward was sentenced at Craigavon Court on Friday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

“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.”

DI Griffin described Ward as a “dangerous man who has shown no remorse for his actions”, adding: “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, the detective said 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,” she added.

Charlotte Reat with PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna at Craigavon Court on Friday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Nathan Ward