A man who stabbed his mum to death believing she was "romantically linked'' to one of his friends has been told he will spend a minimum of 14 years in prison before he will be considered for release.
Jordan Kennedy is already serving a life sentence after he pleaded guilty last November to the murder of his mother, Emma Jane McParland.
Kennedy (23), of Haywood Avenue in south Belfast, appeared at Belfast Crown Court via video link from Maghaberry prison for a tariff ruling on Thursday which determined how long he would spend in prison before he could apply to be freed from custody.
Saying Kennedy must serve the 14 years in full, Mr Justice O'Hara stated that the Parole Commissioners will then consider all the information they have about Kennedy before deciding whether he still posed a serious risk of harm to the public and must therefore remain in prison for a further period of time.
Afterwards, Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney said: “Tragically, Emma Jane died from injuries following a stabbing at the hands of her own son, the impact of this incident within the McParland and Kennedy families is immeasurable.”
Detective Chief Inspector McCartney appealed to anyone suffering with an abusive relationship.
“Domestic abuse is not just a physical matter, it can take many forms, including controlling behaviours and emotional and financial abuse,” he added.
“We know that victims can feel vulnerable, isolated and frightened, trapped by their abusers' manipulations. We also sadly know, as seen in this and other recent cases, that domestic abuse can quickly escalate to fatalities.
“I am keen to encourage any victims of abuse to come forward. We will help you. We’ll listen to you and we will treat you with total respect and sensitivity. You don’t have to suffer in silence.”
Ms McParland (39) was in the first floor flat of her home at Haywood Avenue off the Ormeau Road on April 22, 2020, with two other people, a female friend and her partner, who were asleep on a sofa in the living room.
It was the prosecution case that the friend was awoken around 1.45am by loud noises coming from the kitchen and the hall. She heard Ms McParland shouting: "What are you doing Jordan? Stop''.
When she opened the door she saw the defendant standing in the hallway. He fled when he saw her. She saw he had a knife in his hand. She phoned an ambulance and tried to help Ms McParland but she was pronounced dead at 2am.
An autopsy report recorded that the victim had sustained five stab wounds, including one to her left breast which caused extensive bleeding resulting in her death.
Kennedy was arrested by police at 2.10am. The blood-stained 12-inch kitchen knife which he used to kill her was found at 2.38 am in a bin behind her home during a search.
Kennedy admitted killing his mother, telling police he believed she was in a relationship with one or more of his friends and that he was both angry and humiliated about that and he was being taunted about it in text messages.
Mr Justice O'Hara said "heartfelt'' victim impact statements from Ms McParland's mother and one of her sisters showed that she was an "important and much loved figure in all of their lives''.
A pre-sentence report compiled by the Probation Service said the defendant had a "close bond” with his mother and was "very protective towards her'' and she tried to get her son help which he required for his "complex needs''.
Said Mr Justice O'Hara: "All this information establishes that Ms McParland cared for and loved her family, including this defendant, and this love was reciprocated.
"The tragedy of all of this is that the person who killed was her eldest child who she had tried so hard to assist.''
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.
He had also breached the terms of a release licence after he was jailed in 2016 for causing death by dangerous driving of a friend.
The Probation Board report added that the defendant, who was assessed as posing a danger to the public, "expressed remorse for the two deaths he has caused and regarded his mother as his best friend. He is finding it difficult coming to terms with killing his mother.''
Mr Justice O'Hara said the defendant had "shown remorse'' for the killing but this had been doubted by his mother's side of the family.
Said the judge: "I understand there have been some tensions between the different sides of the family but I cannot pretend to understand what you are going through, especially Ms McParland's mother and siblings.
"I urge them to rally round Ms McParland's three children, including this defendant.''
He added that he had also received a letter from the defendant's paternal grandmother.
She wrote: "I am heartbroken at the loss of Emma but also for my grandson and my two grand daughters.
"I cannot begin to imagine how Emma's mother and siblings feel. The heartbreak I feel for Emma and the children is unimaginable.
"For the sake of the two younger grandchildren, I hope the families can find a way through this disaster to assist those children.''