Belfast man Ryan Conlon fighting for his life after horrific knife attack - man appears in court
A man fighting for his life in hospital after being stabbed in front of traumatised children in west Belfast is the son of a 1998 murder victim.
Ryan Conlon (23), from the Westrock area of the city, was last night described as "critically ill" in the intensive care unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital following the horrific knife attack.
It happened at 9pm on Saturday at Brittons Parade.
Police later arrested a 26-year-old man. He has been charged with attempted murder.
He is expected to appear before Belfast Magistrates Court on Monday August 29. All charged will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.
Detective Sergeant Michelle Griffin would like to thank the local community for their assistance to date during this investigation and anyone with further information can contact detectives at Musgrave Police Station or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Ryan Conlon's father John Knocker was gunned down outside the Exit 15 nightclub at the Glengannon Hotel in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, just over 18 years ago.
He was shot twice in the head as he ran from the car park in the early hours of May 31, 1998.
At the time of the killing it was reported he was shot dead during an argument over drugs.
He was also named as a drug dealer - a claim his relatives totally rejected.
Saturday night's stabbing happened beside a children's play area.
Local Sinn Fein councillor Steven Corr said kids as young as 10 witnessed the brutal incident.
One resident told the Belfast Telegraph: "This is really sad and people are praying that Ryan pulls through.
"His father John Knocker was shot dead at a nightclub in Dungannon a number of years ago. The family has been through a lot.
"Ryan was reared by his grandfather and his uncles and is a happy-go-lucky fella.
"We are all in shock this has happened."
Police had the area sealed off overnight, and it was still a closed scene at 6pm yesterday.
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "This is a disgrace that something like this happened at a busy time of the evening just outside a wee basketball court and close to a shop and chip shop."
Another said: "There was talk of a Stanley knife being used and Ryan being stabbed twice in the heart. This happened across the road from the City Cemetery.
"There is also an off-licence nearby, and a lot of young people would gather in that area."
There were unconfirmed reports that a priest had given the last rites to Mr Conlon.
Mr Corr, who spoke to Mr Conlon's shocked relatives last night, said: "They are just shocked, they are just trying to get through it and are praying that Ryan pulls through it.
"This happened on a summer's evening and I would appeal to people to contact police.
"The police are happy with the information coming from the community, but they need to know what happened before and during the actual stabbing itself.
"Quite a lot of children saw this and they are traumatised.
"It was a very brutal stabbing in one of our busiest residential streets in west Belfast.
"It happened near a chip shop and a wee shop.
"The kids were going to the shop to get chips or sweets on a Saturday night before they turned into bed and they just stumbled across this.
"It is worrying that kids, 10 or 11-year-olds, were exposed to this sort of thing. That is why I want whoever did this taken off the streets as soon as possible.
"Ryan was stabbed a number of times in the chest.
"He is a 23-year-old happy-go-lucky lad."
On social media, Ryan's cousin Saoirse Conlon posted the message: "Come on you can pull through this cuz!"
Another social media user said the offices of the Whiterock Westrock Residents Association will be open today "for help and support to local folks who where caught up or witnessed the incident".
People Before Profit Belfast councillor Matt Collins said: "Guns are usually the weapons that make the headlines in Belfast.
"But knife crime can be just as deadly too."