Jail for gypsy who turned gun on boxer after fight between women travellers turned nasty

16:18 23 May 2014

Francis O

Francis O'Donoghue


A traveller who shot a former Team GB boxer and his brother during a row between two warring families was jailed for more than 16 years today.

Martin Ward. Picture: Lawrence LustigMartin Ward. Picture: Lawrence Lustig

Francis O’Donoghue, 27, blasted Martin Ward in the chest during a heated confrontation on a travellers’ site in Brentwood in August.

He also shot Mr Ward’s brother John in the thigh as he tried to break up a scrap between his sister, Roseanne, and O’Donoghue’s wife.

After wounding the brothers, O’Donoghue turned the gun on to their relatives, shouting “I will do you all in”, Woolwich Crown Court heard

The shooting followed a spat between O’Donoghue’s 25-year-old wife Theresa and a 15-year-old girl from the Ward family.

Prosecutor Tony Prosser said O’Donoghue encouraged the pair to end their dispute over a fight, as is the tradition of the travelling community.

He said: “As the girl was only 15 it was thought that another member of the Ward family, Roseanne, should take her place.

“However, Roseanne said she wasn’t keen as he had recently had a baby in caesarean section.

“While Roseanne was shopping in Harold Hill she was confronted by Theresa O’Donoghue.”

The court heard that a fight then broke out between the pair on Lizvale Farm, in Navestock.

O’Donoghue told his wife to “bite and eat” Ms Ward, before he was confronted by the Ward brothers.

O’Donghue left and returned with a pistol before shooting them.

He fled, resulting in a manhunt, and was finally tracked down on October 12.

O’Donoghue, of Russell Avenue, in Wood Green, pleaded guilty ahead of a trial for attempted murder to wounding.

Jailing O’Donoghue for 16-and-a-half years, Judge Andrew Lees said: “Your actions have clearly caused great upset in the community.”

He was cleared of two counts of attempted murder.

Read more:

Francis O’Donoghue pleads not guilty to attempted murder following shooting of former Team GB boxer Martin Ward

Francis O’Donoghue, 27, charged with attempted murder following shooting of former Team GB boxer Martin Ward

Two women arrested in Navestock farm attempted murder investigation

Latest News Stories

Havering Town Hall.

Havering Council has approved releasing more than £83million to provide affordable housing in the borough.

Campaigners demonstrate in front of the Mecca Bingo hall in Hornchurch after Lidl submitted a planning application to demolish the Tower building

Campaigners battling to save the Mecca Bingo Hall building in Hornchurch are vowing to battle on and will appeal a decision not to list the building.

Borough commander Jason Gwillim told the Recorder it was

The Borough Commander and MPs have welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s decision to scrap cuts to police forces.

Yesterday, 16:10
Recorder reporter Hayley Anderson with her national journalism award

Recorder reporter Hayley Anderson was highly commended in a national journalism awards evening in Birmingham last night.

Yesterday, 15:45
Time FM Steve Allen will host the chat with the Recorder's Chris Carter and Laura Burnip

A swan that got police in a flap, term-time holidays and Havering’s mirocpub were the topics covered on today’s Recorder paper review on Time 107.5FM.

Yesterday, 13:29
Ryan Machin and his mother Michelle Bennett at their home in Romford after Ryan took the last British Airways flight back from Sharm el-Sheikh to London

A 17-year-old who worked in a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh was one of the last passengers to be repatriated to the UK and calls on people not to be afraid to return to the holiday resort.

Yesterday, 11:28
Two fire engines attended a house fire at an address in Park Lane, Hornchurch on Wednesday evening and a man was rushed to hopistal where he was treated for smoke inhalation

A man was rushed to hospital for smoke inhalation after firefighters were called at a flat in Hornchurch on Wednesday evening.

Yesterday, 10:57
Boys born in Cranham will live healthily for 17 years longer than those in Harold Hill

New statistics show the inequality in expectations for our children

Most read news

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder