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

Francis O'Donoghue

Francis O'Donoghue - Credit: Archant

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 Lustig

Martin Ward. Picture: Lawrence Lustig - Credit: 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.


You may also want to watch:


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.

Most Read

“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

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter