Patrick Ballard changes his plea to guilty over the murder of Wexford woman Sharon Bennett

A 35-year-old man has pleaded guilty to Wexford Woman Sharon Bennet’s murder.

Patrick Ballard, from Ennis, denied the murder charge before his trial opened yesterday, but changed his plea this afternoon. Yesterday, the jurors were told Sharon Bennett, from Duncormick a 29-year-old mother-of-two, died after being attacked in a public toilet.

Defence counsel Mark Nicholas SC, for Patrick Ballard, told the 12 jurors his client admitted his actions caused the death of his partner Ms Bennett and accepted her killing was unlawful. However, Mr Ballard, 35, formerly of Ashford Court Hotel, Ennis, Co Clare, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Bennett, 29, in the Market area of Ennis on February 10, 2021.

Mr Ballard and Ms Bennett were in a relationship at the time of the alleged murder. Ms Bennett was a mother of two girls, then aged nine and six, from a previous relationship.

Mr Ballard was initially charged with assaulting Ms Bennett. However, the accused was re-arrested on March 24, 2021, after the mother-of-two died on February 10 and charged with the offence of murder.

Ballard is due to be sentenced tomorrow

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