Judge hands down seven-year sentence to David Mahon for Dean Fitzpatrick's killing

Judge hands down seven-year sentence to David Mahon for Dean Fitzpatrick's killing

David Mahon has been sentenced to seven years in jail for the manslaughter of his partner’s son, Dean Fitzpatrick.

The Dubliner was found guilty last month of killing the older brother of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick.

The 45-year-old was cleared of murdering the father of one with whom he did not get along on May 26, 2013. He had pleaded not guilty.

The 23-year-old received a stab wound to the abdomen outside the apartment that his mother, Audrey Fitzpatrick, shared with Mahon at Burnell Square, Northern Cross.

Mr Justice Heneghan heard submissions on behalf of the State and Mahon at his sentencing hearing two weeks ago. She also heard victim impact statements prepared by his father, partner and his mother, who is now married to David Mahon.

She noted this morning that Mahon had said he accepted the jury’s verdict and would not appeal his conviction. She also noted that he had offered a plea to manslaughter and that she was bound by the superior courts to take this into consideration in sentencing.

She noted that he had a number of previous convictions, but took into consideration only one conviction for dangerous driving. This was because he had received a suspended four-month prison sentence for that offence and killed Mr Fitzpatrick during the currency of the suspension.

“The court views this as an aggravating factor,” she said.

She outlined a number of other aggravating factors, including ‘the inherent gravity of the crime’, the fact Mahon had a knife in his possession, the production of the knife and the fact that Mr Fitzpatrick’s death was caused by the man describing himself as his stepfather.

She also took into consideration his disposal of the knife and the circumstances of that disposal.

She took into account a number of mitigating factors, including his early plea of guilty to manslaughter, early admissions, cooperation with gardaí, expressions of remorse and his apology through his counsel.

She said she considered his previous good character and the fact that he had no history of violence. She also considered his medical and personal difficulties as mitigation.

She said she also took into account all of the victim impact statements as well as testimonials furnished by three different people on behalf of the accused.

“I assess the gravely serious offence as meriting 10 years in prison,” she said. “Taking into account the mitigating factors, I sentence David Mahon to seven years in custody.”

She backdated the sentence to the date of his conviction, when Mahon went into custody. She said he would also receive credit for the time he spent in custody after being charged and before being granted bail.

There was little reaction in court. The judge moved straight onto Mahon’s application for leave to apply for a notice of motion against three newspapers; among other complaints, he claimed they were in contempt of court for their reporting of his case between conviction and sentencing.

“My decision in sentencing has not been influenced by any of the material published,” she said, refusing the application and awarding costs against Mahon.

Mahon was then taken into custody to begin his seven-year term. His wife, Audrey, moved to the back of the court, where she sat and cried silently, being comforted by Mahon’s father and legal team.

Victim Impact Statements from sentence hearing

During the sentence hearing two weeks ago, Dean Fitzpatrick’s father described how his "world came crashing down" after hearing that his son had been "brutally killed" by David Mahon.

Christopher Fitzpatrick’s victim impact statement was one of three read to the court during Mahon’s sentencing hearing.

The Dubliner was found guilty earlier this month of killing his partner’s son, the older brother of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick. Mahon has said he will not appeal his manslaughter verdict.

The 45-year-old was cleared of murdering the father of one with whom he did not get along on May 26, 2013. He had pleaded not guilty.

The 23-year-old received a stab wound to the abdomen outside the apartment that his mother, Audrey Fitzpatrick, shared with Mahon at Burnell Square, Northern Cross.

His sentencing hearing heard that Mahon had been caught for dangerous, drunk and careless driving on New Year’s Day that year. He’d received a four-month sentence, which had been suspended for a year, and it was during this suspension that he killed Mr Fitzpatrick.

Remy Farrell SC, prosecuting, read three victim impact statements to the court. These were prepared by Mr Fitzpatrick’s father, Christopher Fitzpatrick; his partner and the mother of his son, Sarah O’Rourke; and his mother, who is now Audrey Mahon, having since married the accused.

“On the 9th of March, 1990, Dean took his first breath into the world. I was full of joy, happiness and love to have a son so small and precious,” wrote Christopher Fitzpatrick in his report.

He mentioned his daughter, Amy’s, disappearance in 2008 ‘while in the care of her mother on the Costa Del Sol, after Audrey took my children on a two-week holiday to Spain in 2004 and didn’t return’.

“I thought Amy’s disappearance was the worst thing that would happen in my life,” he said. “In 2013, my world came crashing down once again.”

He wrote about being called to Beaumont Hospital and led to a room to identify his son, Dean. He said that the medics had done all they could but that the single stab wound was so deep that he could not survive.

“When Dean was brutally killed, I realised I was never going to see Dean see his son grow up,” he said.

He said that, following his death, he was faced with a High Court case over his funeral and he secured the right to bury his son in his own plot.

“In the time since Dean’s death, I've been admitted to hospital because of the stress,” he said.

He said that it was upsetting that some of the media had portrayed Mahon as Dean and Amy’s stepdad. It was also upsetting to read about Mahon going on holidays to Spain following the killing.

He said he still had a hope that Amy would be found alive.

“I cannot have the same hope for Dean,” he said, adding that all he had now were visits to his resting place.

“There are no words to describe the pain, anger and despair,” he added. “Dean was a loving father son, brother, nephew, and cousin, who is sadly missed.”

Sarah O’Rourke’s was the next statement read out.

“On the 25th of May, 2013, my life changed forever,” she wrote. “This was the day Dean was killed. I cannot describe how it felt when two guards came to my home to tell me the most devastating news. My world fell apart.”

She said she struggled to take it in.

“It didn't feel real,” she explained.

“Knowing I’d never see Dean again was soul destroying,” she said.

She explained that they had their "ups and downs like most couples but, no matter what, we made our relationship work".

She said they were planning their future together.

“To think Dean won’t be here to share all those plans is devastating,” she said.

She said she had struggled after her partner died.

“Even now, three years later, I can’t fully accept that Dean is gone,” she added. “I’m moving on slowly with my life. I cannot forget Dean.”

She said she would cherish the memories of the three years they had together.

Ms O’Rourke then moved on to the impact her partner's death had on their son, who was only 18 months old when his father died.

“He was a little young to understand why his Daddy wasn't here,” she said, recalling that he was saying: ‘Dada’ at that stage.

“That broke my heart, listening to my son looking for his Dad,” she said, adding that he had loved his father so much. “I had to tell him that his Daddy was a star in the sky and angels took him.”

She said that it was only in the last year or so that her son had become aware that he did not have a father like other children. She said that he would start school in September, and that he would not have his father to see him off on that or any other day.

“He has a right to his Dad,” she said. “His only two male role models in his life are his grandads.”

The final statement Mr Farrell read to the court was prepared by Audrey Mahon, who had the position of both mother of the deceased and wife of the accused. She said her husband was ‘forgiven but not forgotten’.

Judge hands down seven-year sentence to David Mahon for Dean Fitzpatrick's killing

“Since I received the tragic news of my son’s death, my life has been like a living nightmare,” she wrote. “Dean and I shared a special bond like only a mother and son can.”

She said that despite her son’s difficulties, he had a cheeky grin and a heart of gold.

“I’ve lost everything,” she wrote. “This is not a single tragedy. It’s losing both of my children.”

She said that all of it had affected her physically, mentally and emotionally.

“Dave, too, has lost everything,” she wrote. “He did everything in his power to find his beloved stepdaughter, Amy, and he still does and will continue to do so.”

She said she had an ongoing illness.

“Dave has been there to literally pick me up off the floor,” she said, adding that he had been by her side during blood transfusions and being resuscitated twice. She noted that her son was also there for one of the resuscitations.

“I would not be here only for Dave,” she said.

“For my part, I cannot disagree with the jury’s verdict. David did produce a knife,” she said. “I have forgiven Dave but not forgotten. He will always be my husband, carer and best friend.”

The State argued during his trial that Mahon was drunk, angry and agitated when he thrust a knife into his stepson with deadly intent.

Mahon claimed his death was an accident or possible suicide and that Mr Fitzpatrick had "walked into the knife" while they had been arguing.


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