Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Fatal stabbing: Murder accused remanded in custody

The man accused of the murder of Bessbrook father-of-two Brian Phelan is currently on prison release licence having been convicted of the kidnap and sexual assault of a young woman in December 2012, The Examiner has learned.

Twenty-seven-year-old Daniel Carroll appeared before Newry Magistrates’ Court on Saturday morning charged with the murder of Mr Phelan (33) who was stabbed to death in an incident on the Carrivekeeney Road, Corrinshego on Thursday afternoon. 

The alarm was raised at around 3.15pm and a rapid response unit carrying a paramedic was despatched to the scene along with an A&E crew and the charity air ambulance, however Mr Phelan is understood to have died of his wounds at the scene.

Carroll was arrested just hours after the murder, which has rocked the local community, and on Friday, detectives said they had located a car they believe was used in the attack, after appealing for the public’s help in tracking it down.  

Mr Phelan has been described as “a gentle giant” by family and friends, with the mother of his two young children breaking down at the scene of the stabbing, where anguished relatives continued to lay floral tributes in the days after the murder.

There were emotional scenes at Newry Courthouse on Saturday morning as murder-accused Daniel Carroll was remanded in custody charged with the murder of father-of-two, Brian Phelan. An angry mob – which included Mr Phelan’s ex-partner and mother of his two children, Amanda O’Riordan – hammered on the police prison van transporting Carroll to court, screaming abuse at the defendant.

Inside, as a stoney-faced Carroll appeared in the dock fixing his gaze on the public gallery where Mr Phelan’s distraught relatives sat, Ms O’Riordan lurched towards the dock in an attempt to reach the accused.  PSNI officers stepped in to restrain the sobbing mother, with Judge Eamonn King threatening to clear the court if there were any further outbursts.

“Out of respect for the deceased, his partner, his family and his children, this process will be conducted in a dignified manner,” warned the Judge. “Please allow justice to be done.”

During the brief hearing, Carroll, with an address of Edward Street in Portadown, spoke only to confirm his date of birth and that he understood the charge of murder being put to him.  At the conclusion of the brief hearing, Judge Eamonn King announced Carroll’s prison release licence “involving another criminal matter” was being revoked and he was remanded in custody to appear before the court via video-link on August 8th.

Relatives continued to shout abuse at the defendant as he was led from the dock and there were further angry scenes outside when Ms O’Riordan threw herself onto the bonnet of the police landrover carrying the murder-accused back to prison.The Examiner understands the revocation of Carroll’s prison release licence relates to a conviction in June 2014 when he received an eight year jail sentence after admitting a litany of crimes including kidnapping, false imprisonment and sexual assault.  The offences occurred on December 21st 2012 when Carroll  – whose address at the time was Francis Hughes Park, Belleek – subjected a young woman to a “night of horror” after abducting her off the street in Dundalk.  Helped by a female accomplice, he drove the victim to his home in Belleek, from where the young woman’s ordeal only ended when she managed to flee the house and seek help from neighbours.

Following his trial in June 20-14, Carroll received an eight-year sentence – with his term split into 4 years in custody and the remaining four on licence.

Meanwhile, funeral arrangements for Mr Phelan had not been announced ahead of printing deadline.