Northern Ireland news

Man who passed drugs to partner via a kiss in Hydebank avoids being sent to jail

The partner he passed the drugs to, Downpatrick Crown Court heard, was Emma Jane McParland who was murdered by their son Jordan Kennedy in April 2020

A MAN who passed drugs to his partner via a kiss whilst she was detained at Hydebank avoided being sent to jail.

Mark Kennedy (42) admitted conveying both heroin and Pregablin into the women's prison in July 2019, and was handed a two year sentence which was suspended for two years.

The partner he passed the drugs to, Downpatrick Crown Court heard, was Emma Jane McParland who was murdered by their son Jordan Kennedy in April 2020.

Last week the 23-year old was handed a minimum sentence of 14 years after he admitted stabbing his 39-year old mother in her Haywood Avenue home.

Regarding the offences committed by Mark Kennedy, it emerged that on the afternoon of July 17, 2019 he visited his partner Ms McParland at Hydebank.

During the visit, Kennedy was captured on the CCTV system kissing her, and shortly after the kiss Ms McParland was seen taking something out of her mouth which she then put in her right hand.

She was spoken to by prison staff and a wrap containing 0.14 grams of heroin and two Pregabalin tablets was seized from her.

Following the discovery, Kennedy was arrested at Hydebank and initially denied passing the drugs to his partner. He subsequently admitted two counts of conveying a controlled drug into prison.

Kennedy, of no fixed, abode, is currently the subject of a Probation Order for unrelated matters.

Defence barrister Michael Boyd told Judge Geoffrey Miller QC that Kennedy has both addition and mental health issues - but is now at a point in his life where he is engaging with probation and making positive changes.

Judge Miller said the court was aware of the "tragic circumstances surrounding Ms McParland's death", and addressing Kennedy he said: "These offences were committed almost three years ago. Your partner, to whom you supplied the drugs, was tragically subsequently murdered - something which clearly lays heavily upon you."

Judge Miller handed Kennedy a two-year sentence which he said he was suspending "with some hesitation" and expressed the hope that Kennedy will continue to work with probation to address his "underlying offending behaviour."

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