'I'm dying': Son kills mum and girlfriend before taking own life

Nadine Carroll
·3-min read

Neighbours reportedly heard Karen McClean calling out for help as her son allegedly stabbed her to death but by the time police arrived he had already claimed another victim.

"I’m dying, I’m dying, it’s my son,” Ms McClean was heard screaming shortly before 11pm on Friday night (local time) according to the Irish Independent.

After allegedly stabbing his mother and leaving her to die in a house in Newtownabbey north of Belfast, Ken Flanagan is believed to have travelled to a nearby property on Glenville Road where police believe he murdered his girlfriend, Stacey Knell, 30, and then took his own life.

The properties where Ken Flanagan allegedly killed his mother and girlfriend
Karen McClean was found dead at her home (left) believed to have been stabbed by son Ken Flanagan (pictured) who then travelled to a nearby property (right) and allegedly killed girlfriend Stacey Knell. Source: Facebook/AAP

Police said they were called after reports of a stabbing and arrived to find Ms McClean dead and later found Flanagan unconscious at a nearby address. He was declared dead a short time later.

Ms Knell’s body was discovered in a search of the property.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell from the Northern Ireland Police said in a statement they are not looking for any suspects.

“While we have launched a murder investigation, we are not looking for anyone else in connection with these incidents which we believe are connected.”

Flanagan believed to have had a violent past

It’s believed authorities had previously ordered Flanagan to stay away from his mother’s house due to violent behaviour, the Irish Independent reported.

Ms McClean had last year praised her son on social media and revealed his battle with drug addiction.

"My handsome son, love you unconditionally. If you only realised your self worth. You're better than any of them,” the doting mother wrote on Facebook in June 2020.

Karen McClean (left) and Stacey Knell (right)
Karen McClean (left) was stabbed by her son, who then stabbed his girlfriend, Stacey Knell (right) before taking his own life. Source: Facebook

Ms Knell's former partner, a father to their nine-year-old daughter, claims he warned police about Flanagan just hours before the deaths.

"The reason why alarm bells started ringing was because on Wednesday I saw Ken with Stacey, my daughter, and that's when the red flags started popping up for me - that's when I realised I had to take some kind of action because I didn't want a guy with his reputation to be near my daughter," Sam Lillie told outlet Sunday World.

"They told me they only investigate crimes. They said they can't advise Stacey on who she has a relationship with."

Deputy mayor 'numbed and shocked' by violent attack

Following news of the deaths, Deputy Mayor for Antrim and Newtownabbey, Noreen McClelland, told the BBC she was "numbed and shocked" by what had happened.

“Once again it appears that two women have lost their lives in a violent attack," she said.

“How many more women have to die before our executive takes action to address gender-based violence?”

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic violence, find help by visiting the Lifeline website or calling 13 11 14 or calling 1800 RESPECT.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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