LVF thug | 

Former Martin O'Hagan murder suspect admits smuggling heroin for mum who was later killed by son

LVF thug Mark 'Burger' Kennedy was already on a suspended sentence when he smuggled heroin into prison for Emma McParland

Mark ‘Burger Kennedy was warned he faces a sentence

Steven Moore and Paul Higgins

A former suspect in the murder of Martin O'Hagan has confessed to smuggling heroin into a prison for his partner - who was later murdered by their son.

Mark 'Burger' Kennedy appeared at Downpatrick Crown Court last week where he admitted smuggling class A drug heroin and prescription only painkiller pregabalin, a class C drug, into Hydebank Wood Secure College on July 17, 2019.

He'll be sentenced later this month, with the judge warning the former LVF thug he would be getting a prison sentence which may be suspended depending on his engagement with the Probation Service.

Kennedy, who it emerged this week was already on a suspended sentence for other crimes at the time, was visiting his then partner Emma McParland who had been imprisoned there for a short period.

Nine months later the 39-year-old mum was stabbed to death by the couple's son Jordan Kennedy at her home in Haywood Avenue in Belfast.

Jordan Kennedy with his mother Emma McParland, who he murdered in April 2020

The 23-year-old - believed to be suffering from mental health issues at the time of the murder - was sentenced to life imprisonment after pleading guilty at Belfast Crown Court last November.

However, a hearing to determine the minimum term of that life sentence was postponed in February and is yet to take place.

Following Mark Kennedy's confessions on Wednesday, prosecuting counsel David McClean left the third count, simple possession of class B cannabis, "on the books".

He told Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that Kennedy "has a record of 80 convictions" and revealed that when he smuggled the "list A articles" into the women's prison, he was subject to a suspended sentence.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd conceded that "obviously there's a significant record" but added that Kennedy, from Cook Street in Belfast, is currently subject to a probation order where "things are going very well".

"Perhaps even a short addendum report would be useful" ahead of sentencing, suggested the barrister, and Judge Geoffrey Miller QC agreed and adjourned the case to allow time for that.

Putting the case back to June 30 and freeing Kennedy on bail in the meantime, Judge Miller warned him that he faced a prison sentence - "the only issue is whether in fact the court can suspended that sentence".

"That will be answered by the pre-sentence report and the view on your ongoing engagement with probation," the judge told him.

"If you fail to meet probation, then you can come with your bag packed and you know what the result will be," Judge Miller said.

Jordan Kennedy stabbed his mum to death in her flat on the Ormeau Road just months after she was released from prison.

Last November we revealed how Mark Kennedy was devastated at the murder of his long-term partner.

He regularly visits Emma's grave at Roselawn Cemetery and pictures and videos posted on Facebook by his daughter Chelsea show the family at the graveside releasing balloons on special days including her birthday.

A source told this paper last November: "It was terrible set of circumstances. He loves his son and he loved Emma. It was a real tragedy. Jordan was going through some heavy sh*t at the time he killed his mum.

"He wasn't in a good place and wasn't thinking straight. His sister Chelsea and dad stood by him. Chelsea posted a picture on her Facebook of the whole family superimposed together two months after the murder.

"The family are relieved there isn't going to be a trial and are trying to get on with their lives."

Fearless: Martin O’Hagan

Burger was charged with concealing the car used in the murder of Sunday World reporter Martin O'Hagan in 2001 but the charge was withdrawn ten years ago.

Nobody has been convicted of the murder of the fearless journalist who regularly exposed paramilitary and criminal drug gangs including the LVF, who Mark Kennedy joined despite being a Catholic. Kennedy has been in and out of jail for drug convictions and is a regular in court for driving offences.

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