THE father of a child whose mum was stabbed to death in a triple killing has told how he had “a really bad feeling something bad was going to happen.”
Sam Lillie had approached cops and social services on the same day violent drug addict Ken Flanagan killed two women and himself.
Mr Lillie was anxious on learning Flanagan was dating Stacey Knell, the mother of his nine-year-old daughter.
Police said they had “no evidence of immediate concern” for the safety of the young girl.
Hours later, Flanagan, 26, launched the first of two brutal knife attacks in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim.
He killed his mother Karen McClean, 50, at her Derrycoole Way flat around 10pm.
Neighbours heard Karen shout: “I’m dying, I’m dying, it’s my son” while she was being knifed to death.
Later, as police were being called, Flanagan made his way to a house on the Glenville Road where he often held parties with pals.
It was there that he murdered 30-year-old Stacey Knell, the young girl’s mother.
After that stabbing he attempted to take his own life.
Cops found him unconscious with neck injuries and paramedics battled in vain to keep him alive.
Mr Lillie said on Monday that he had a “bad feeling” something could happen but “never ever predicted it would be this.”
He called social services first who said they would look into the case while advising him to call the police.
Mr Lillie went to a police station but said: “As you know the police can’t do anything unless somebody does something.
“I knew that even before I went.”
The PSNI, confirming the identities of those who died, said the incident had been “appalling”.
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said it had been a “really shocking and horrific double murder” which had “left children facing a lifetime without their mums.”
He added: “My thoughts are very much with their families as they come to terms with their tragic loss.”
Police confirmed a call had been made earlier on Friday of last week in relation to the welfare of Stacey Knell’s daughter.
The PSNI said there “was no evidence of immediate concern for the child’s safety and the caller was provided with advice in respect of the matter.”
The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said it would not comment due to the ongoing investigation.
Flanagan is known to have battled a number of personal problems and had a reputation as a “headcase” in the Rathcoole area, locals say.
He had recently been in jail before getting involved once again with Stacey Knell after he was released.
The disturbing case has fired up calls for more to be done to protect women from violent men.
Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK without a strategy in place.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “We can’t stand still on this issue while women and girls are continuing to come to harm and to do so would be a dereliction of all of our duties in public office.
“I absolutely rightly agree the Executive must take unified and determined action to tackle the critical issue of gender-based violence. It needs to be progressed in the right way as a matter of urgency.”
She added that the two women had “so tragically and avoidably lost their lives and all those families have been robbed of their person. And while we appreciate that the circumstances of each are individual, they are also by no means isolated and gender-based violence is appalling.”
She said “ingrained misogyny” that existed across society needed to be “flushed out and eradicated”.
“I will work with the Minister (Justice Minister Naomi Long) to make sure that we get a fit for purpose strategy,” she said.
“It isn’t good enough that this part of the world is the only place that doesn’t have a strategy to tackle violence against women and girls.”
SDLP Minister Nichola Mallon said: “We must as a society do all we can to erode sexism and protect women.
“We must do it for Stacey and Karen and their families, and for the many other victims that should have been protected in our society but weren’t.”
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South Antrim MLA Paula Bradley said: “We have a system that requires hard evidence before police or social services will step in to try and divert.
“That whole early intervention service is something that we need in place to assist the police and social services.”
Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with Friday’s murder-suicide.