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Tony McDermott Lincolnshire Police
Lincoln Crown Court

Man found guilty of murder of Tony McDermott, son of Mother and Baby Home campaigner, after trial in England

Maria Arbuckle, a mother and baby home survivor, has paid tribute to her son.

A MOTHER AND baby home survivor has paid tribute to her son after a man was found guilty of his murder following a two-week trial in England.

Nicholas Ward (38) was today found guilty at Lincoln Crown Court of stabbing his friend Tony McDermott (also 38) to death in October last year.

The two men, who had been friends for over 20 years, were at Ward’s house in Grantham when Ward falsely accused Tony of stealing two tablet computers, the court heard.

Over the course of the trial, the court was told that Ward stabbed Tony 51 times during an attack in the early hours of 14 October 2023.

The jury’s verdict was unanimous. Ward will be sentenced next Thursday.

“The brutal attack started shortly after 12.40am and lasted for around two hours. Tony tried to leave several times but Ward prevented him from doing so.

“The tablets were later recovered by the police in a bag belonging to Ward,” Lincolnshire Police said in a statement issued this afternoon.

Mother and Baby Home survivor

Tony’s mother is Maria Arbuckle, a mother and baby home survivor who appeared on The Journal’s Redacted Lives podcast.

Maria reunited with her son Paul, Tony’s brother, 40 years after he was born.

Speaking to The Journal after today’s verdict, Maria said it had been a very difficult two weeks for the family, but the guilty verdict is “what we wanted to hear”.

She said Tony was full of joy and is deeply missed by his family, including his siblings and his six children.

“He never walked into anybody’s house, he bounced,” she recalled. “He loved music and football, he was a total Arsenal fan.”

She said today’s verdict can’t bring him back, but the family is grateful justice has been served.

‘Sustained and cruel attack’ 

Detective Chief Inspector Jennifer Lovatt, from Lincolnshire Police, led the investigation. She today said that Ward’s actions were “completely and utterly unnecessary, and brutal”.

“Ward’s belief that Tony had stolen from him, which then prompted such anger, had no foundation whatsoever.”

Lovatt described the attack last October as “sustained and cruel”.

She said that if Ward had listened to his friend, “Tony’s family would not be without their loved one today”.

“I would like to pay tribute to Tony’s family for their strength in getting through what was a very difficult trial to listen to,” she added.

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