'tragic case' | 

Man who stabbed mum to death believed she was ‘romantically involved’ with his friend court told

Kennedy said that when he went to the flat to confront his mother he told her 'anyone in her bedroom was going to get it'

Jordan Kennedy with Emma McParland

John Cassidy

A man stabbed his mum to death believing she was "romantically involved'' with one of his friends, a court has heard.

Jordan Kennedy had previously pleaded guilty to the murder of his mother Emma Jane McParland.

Details of the incident were outlined to Mr Justice O'Hara during a tariff hearing at Belfast Crown Court today.

It will determine the minimum period that Kennedy (23), of Haywood Avenue, Belfast, would spend in custody before being considered for release by the Parole Commissioners.

Describing it as a "particularly tragic case'', prosecution counsel Gavin Duffy QC said that at 1.45 am on April 22, 2020, police responded to a call that a 39-year-old woman had been stabbed at a flat in Haywood Avenue off the Ormeau Road.

Police forced entry to the apartment and officers heard "distressed calls for help'' from an upstairs bedroom.

Emma Jane McParland

"A female witness was holding the victim and was applying pressure to a wound on her left breast. Police carried out CPR before paramedics arrived who observed two stab wounds to the chest - one to the left and one to the centre,'' said Mr Duffy.

"Ms McParland was unconscious and not breathing and no medical intervention could save Ms McParland. Life was pronounced extinct at the 2 am.''

The female witness told police that she was sleeping on the sofa when she was awoken by "loud banging'' in the kitchen.

She said that a short time after she heard the victim shouting: "What are you doing Jordan? Stop.''

The defendant then fled the property with a brown handled knife and at 2.10 am a police armed response unit found Kennedy at Cooke Street off the Ormeau Road. He was arrested for murder but wasn't told it was in connection with the killing of his mother.

En route to custody, Kennedy made an unsolicited comment to police, saying: "Who has this got to do with? My ma? Was it a male?''

A police dog handler later located a 12-inch kitchen knife in a bin at the rear of the murder scene with blood on the blade.

A post-mortem examination found several knife wounds and puncture marks on Ms McParland's body but a pathologist concluded death was a result of a fatal stab wound to the chest which caused extensive bleeding.

The court heard Kennedy previously lived with his mother at the flat but had moved out following a row.

Said Mr Duffy: "The defendant at the time seemed to be under the impression his mother was romantically involved with one of his friends, something Ms McParland had denied.''

During police interviews, Kennedy admitted being in the flat, arming himself with a kitchen knife, that he went to his mother's bedroom and "I must have stabbed her''. He also admitted taking one gramme of cocaine.

He said he intended to harm his mother and the friend who he said was romantically involved with her if he was there.

Kennedy added that he went to the flat to confront his mother about this relationship and that "anyone in her bedroom was going to get it''.

He said that while in the flat, he saw his mother in her underwear and "something snapped''. He forced open the bedroom door and found her "curled up in a ball' and then stabbed to the left side of her chest "twisting the knife'' in her before he "blacked out''.

Crown counsel told Mr Justice O'Hara: "We say that there was some degree of pre-mediation in this killing in that he seized a weapon at the scene with the intention to cause serious harm or to kill Ms McParland.

"This was a deliberate and sustained attack. The deceased was a vulnerable woman who was no match for the defendant physically and was unable to offer any defence during the speed and ferocity of this attack. There were no defensive injuries on her body.''

At the time of the murder, Kennedy was in breach of a suspended sentence imposed six weeks earlier for carrying a blade in public and he also had a previous conviction for possessing an offensive weapon.

Defence barrister John O'Connor said it was clear from a pre-sentence report that Kennedy had expressed remorse for the murder of his mum who he once had a "close bond with''.

Kennedy told a probation officer that his mental health had deteriorated while in custody, stating: "I can't live with what I have done....this is killing me''. He added that he never intended to kill his mum and it was an "accident'', a claim rejected by the prosecution.

Mr Justice O'Hara said it was "one of the most awful and difficult cases'' he has had to consider and would impose the minimum life sentence tariff next week.

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