Dean Fitzpatrick’s father has 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 yesterday 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, 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.
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.
“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.”
“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.
Ms O’Rourke expressed 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.”
“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.
“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.”
“He accepts the verdict of the jury. There will not be an appeal against conviction in this case,” he said.
He apologised on behalf of his client to all who knew the deceased, especially those who had made victim impact statements.
He then made his case for a lenient sentence to Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan.
He said Mahon had offered a plea to manslaughter. He said that his client would find prison more difficult due to problems with his hips; he has had two replacements and is awaiting a revision to one.
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.
Ms Justice Heneghan said she would hand down sentence on June 13 and remanded him in custody until then.
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