Murder marks new tragedy for family
Victim Dean Fitzpatrick’s sister Amy disappeared in Spain five years ago
The scene yesterday at Northern Cross on the Malahide Road where the body of Dean Fitzpatrick was found with stab wounds on Saturday night. Photograph: Alan Betson
Dean Fitzpatrick: moved back to Ireland about a year after the disappearance of his sister Amy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Amy Fitzpatrick, who went missing on New Year’s Day 2008 in Spain. Photograph: handout/PA
Audrey Fitzpatrick, mother of Dean and Amy Fitzpatrick, and Dave McMahon, stepfather of the siblings, talk to the media after the disappearance of Amy in January 2008. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters
The murder of Dean Fitzpatrick in Dublin on Saturday night comes after a 5½-year period of tragedy for his family. They have maintained a high-profile publicity campaign aimed at finding information about the disappearance, presumed murder, of the dead man’s teenage sister Amy.
Originally from Donaghmede, a suburb in north Dublin, Dean and Amy moved to Spain in 2004 with their mother Audrey Fitzpatrick and her partner Dave Mahon. About a year after Amy disappeared in 2008, Dean returned to Ireland to live with their father, Christopher Fitzpatrick, in Dublin.
The Irish Times understands 23-year-old Dean had been most recently living in Lusk in north Co Dublin. He had gone to the apartment in the Northern Cross complex near Darndale, north Dublin, to spend time with people known to him on Saturday but was stabbed at 11.20pm. He was taken to Beaumont Hospital but was pronounced dead there. The chief suspect being held last night presented himself to gardaí about 12 hours after the killing.
The apartment Mr Fitzpatrick had been in around the time of the stabbing has been sealed off for a forensic examination by members of the Garda Technical Bureau. The dead man was found injured outside the apartment.
Gardaí are investigating if he was stabbed in the dwelling and may have staggered outside and possibly been attacked again outside.
When his sister went missing in Spain, Dean Fitzpatrick was living with her and their mother and Mr Mahon, and had been working in construction. Back in Ireland he had been working as a mechanic. He and his sister were the only siblings in the family.
Aged 16 when she went missing, Amy was living permanently in Spain with her family at the time. She was last seen walking home from a friend’s house near Mijas on the Costa del Sol at about 10pm on New Year’s Day 2008. She had been babysitting and was returning home, via a shortcut up a dirt lane. She disappeared without her passport or money.
Amy’s father has made numerous media appeals for information about his daughter’s disappearance while her mother and Mr Mahon have also run a campaign looking for information to solve the case. The family has in the past met officials from the Spanish embassy in Dublin and the Department of Foreign Affairs as part of their campaign to have the investigation widened.
There have been unconfirmed sightings of her in France, Morocco, England and Mexico. Around nine months after she went missing, Amy’s mother and Mr Mahon met then Taoiseach Brian Cowen in a bid to secure political support to have the investigation into the case stepped up. Ms Fitzpatrick said at the time that the police in Spain did not believe Amy was a runaway.
The family have held church services in Dublin and Spain to mark the anniversaries of Amy’s disappearance. They have appealed for funds from the public to aid their search and, having settled back in Ireland, have travelled to Spain to raise awareness.
In the months after Amy’s disappearance they presented a petition of 20,000 signatures to the European Commission, calling for the introduction of a system to alert EU states when children go missing.
Mr Fitzpatrick told The Irish Times in an interview after his daughter’s disappearance that he believed the family would not get to the bottom of what happened to his daughter until the Spanish authorities investigated Amy’s “lifestyle” in the year before she went missing.
He said he had concerns about the fact she was not attending school and, according to local Spanish media reports, was regularly seen out late at night in local bars and nightclubs, sometimes alone. Ms Fitzpatrick, from whom Mr Fitzpatrick is estranged rejects reports she was leading an inappropriate life for a teenager.