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Distraught mother of Brian Phelan's children speaks of her devastation

Brian Phelan died on the Carrivekeeney Road near Newry on Thursday

THE distraught mother of Brian Phelan's children has spoken of her devastation at his brutal killing.

The 33-year-old father-of-two from Bessbrook was stabbed to death in broad daylight in the Carrivekeeney Road area, near Newry on Thursday.

A 27-year-old man last night remained in police custody on suspicion of his murder.

His former partner Amanda O'Riordan said she did not know how she would cope.

She described Mr Phelan as a loving family man.

"You couldn't meet a nicer fella. Everybody loved him. He helped everybody," she told Q Radio.

"Everybody's heart's broke. The poor children. I don't know how I'm going to get through it. I don't know what I'm going to do."

Ms O'Riordan thanked well-wishers for the support they had shown her.

"Thanks everybody just for being there and helping out. I just have to keep strong for them, for his children."

Police probing the murder last night recovered a blue Peugeot 206, they believed was involved.

Detective Chief Inspector Eamonn Corrigan said "We thank the public for their assistance with this matter and continue to appeal that anyone who was in the area of Carrivekeeney Road or the general Newry area or who has any dash-cam or mobile phone footage of the Peugeot car to get in touch with us."

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty said the community was "united in shock and anger".

"My thoughts, and the thoughts of my colleagues, are with Brian Phelan's family and friends at this incredibly difficult time," he said.

"This is a very quiet and decent community, everyone is shocked at this tragic incident.

"I know the community will rally round the Phelan community in their hour of need and in the time ahead."

Sinn Féin councillor Roisin Mulgrew said south Armagh had a strong community spirit and people would rally around the grieving family.

"At this stage the emphasis needs to be on co-operation with the police, letting them carry out their investigation properly and thoroughly and being there to support the family as they come to terms with this tragedy," she said.

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