Two killers are on the run together after skipping out on a prison pre-release scheme – with one on her fourth jailbreak.
he PSNI have launched a manhunt after Stephen McParland (54), who was locked up for murdering a man in a row over £20, and kitchen-knife killer Alison McDonagh (49), were last seen on Saturday afternoon.
CCTV footage of the pair laden down with luggage at Belfast’s Lanyon Place Train Station has been shared by the PSNI.
It is believed they could have travelled to Dublin from here.
Convicted killer McDonagh was on a pre-release programme from prison despite escaping three times before now.
She reportedly told wardens that, in one of those cases, she had actually been abducted by aliens.
The 5’2” woman – who has the words “mum” and “dad” tattooed on her right arm – murdered drinking buddy George McDowell in Belfast’s Rathcoole area in 2004.
Her trial was told she had a “propensity” for carrying knives and had only known her victim for a week when she stabbed him in the neck with a kitchen knife.
She has always denied the murder and insisted she was set-up, though a jury dismissed this theory.
McDonagh was handed a 17-year jail term – to serve a minimum of 12 years – and has been enjoying the relaxed lifestyle of prisoner who is soon to be released.
In 2021 – the last time she went on the run – the Sunday World revealed she had been on work placement at an animal sanctuary in Newry.
The escapee is a widow, having married another prisoner from Maghaberry Prison after they struck up a relationship through letter-writing.
Her husband died after losing a battle with cancer two years ago, reportedly leaving McDonagh – previously known as Alison Michelle Martin – a substantial amount of money and property in his will.
She is now on her fourth escape from prison in seven years and was last seen in Belfast wearing a blue puffer jacket and light-coloured leggings.
McDonagh is described as being of stocky build, with auburn hair and green eyes.
She was carrying a bag and pulling a trolley bag.
Joining the convicted killer on the run is Stephen McParland, who was found guilty of murdering his friend Gary Alexander McKimm in 1997.
A row over £20 led the man to execute a “prolonged and merciless” beating that left his victim in a pool of blood.
He was jailed for life after the court was told he laughed and shouted “Die, die, die, you b*****d” during the vicious attack in an alleyway off Cregagh Road, Belfast.
In 2008, former lord chief justice Sir Brian Kerr found McParland felt no guilt for his actions.
“We have been quite unable to detect evidence of genuine remorse on his part, or any real recognition of the enormity of his crime,” he said.
Like his fellow fleeing prisoner, McParland boasts a number of tattoos.
A Rangers FC badge and a rose are inked on his upper left arms, along with Sonic the Hedgehog, two skulls and a dagger on his lower right arm.
The 54-year-old is described as being around 5’10” in height and of medium build with blue eyes and balding, dirty-fair hair.
When he was last seen, we was wearing a black hooded coat and grey bottoms with a large amount of luggage including Sports Direct hold-alls.
He was also freed as part of a pre-release testing programme and failed to return to Maghaberry Prison on Saturday.
Instead, at around 1.45pm, McParland and McDonagh are seen on CCTV at Lanyon Place train station in Belfast.
Police have said that despite efforts to contact them, attempts to locate the pair – who are believed to be in each other’s company – have so far been unsuccessful.
The public have been warned not to approach McParland or McDonagh, but to instead contact police.
The PSNI confirmed that An Garda Síochána were contacted in relation to the investigation.
A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “We are appealing to anyone who has seen them, or who knows of their whereabouts, not to approach them, but to contact police on 101 quoting reference 1972 of 21/1/23.
“We would also appeal directly to Alison McDonagh and Stephen McParland to hand themselves in.
“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous.”