He attended Park Parade Secondary School, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Belfast Technical College, and the Institute of Statisticians. He received a master's degree from Imperial College London and a Doctor of Philosophy degree the Queen's University of Belfast.
From 1967 to 1997 he was a medical statistician at Queen's University Belfast. From 1997 to 2004 he served as a professor of medical statistics at Keele University. From 2004 to 2009 he was a professor of statistics at Limerick University. From 2010 to 2012 he was adjunct chair at the University of Limerick, while visiting professor of statistics at École nationale de la statistique et de l'analyse de l'information (ENSAI) in France.
He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians.
He is married Eileen Philomena Nee Harvey. They have a daughter, Claire.