Body of stabbing victim Dean Fitzpatrick to be released to his partner
Burial delayed because of row over arrangements within dead man’s extended family
Christopher Fitzpatrick, father of Dean Fitzpatrick, leaves the Four Courts with his late son’s partner Sarah O’Rourke after a High Court hearing. Photograph: Collins Courts
Audrey Fitzpatrick, mother of the late Dean Fitzpatrick, arrives at the Four Courts for a High Court hearing. Photograph: Collins Courts
Dean’s body may be released to his partner Sarah O’Rourke later today.
The funeral of the 23-year-old Dublin man was due to be held today but was delayed due to a dispute between family members over the arrangements.
His father Christopher Fitzpatrick had claimed he was being excluded from the arrangements by his estranged wife Audrey.
He brought court proceedings after the Dublin City Coroner refused to release the body to him. The court heard the Coroners Act provides the coroner cannot release a body without agreement of the family unless by court order.
The case was against the coroner with Ms Fitzpatrick a notice party.
The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, was told this afternoon, after talks between lawyers for the dead man’s estranged parents, that his mother has now agreed to allow his body be interred in a new grave in Fingal Cemetery, as his father Christopher wished.
The court earlier heard from Michael Staines, solicitor for Ms Fitzpatrick, her own preference was that her son should be buried alongside her mother, Dean’s grandmother, in the same cemetery. However, she would consent to his being buried in a new grave.
Mr Fitzpatrick had said he wanted his son buried in a new grave with the intention his missing daughter Amy, aged 15, who has not been since early 2008, would also be buried there at some stage as the siblings were very close.
Mr Fitzpatrick also said his son had been living with either him or Ms O’Rourke since he returned from Spain some years ago and they were close.
After the agreement was reached on place of burial, the judge was told the only outstanding dispute between the estranged parents concerned who Dean Fitzpatrick’s body would be released to by the Dublin City Coroner, Dr Brian Farrell.
The judge asked what was the age of Dean’s partner and mother of his child, Ms O’Rourke. On being told she was 28, the judge said he would direct the body be released to Ms O’Rourke and asked her to come forward.
After extending his sympathies to Ms O’Rourke and Dean’s parents concerning the “terrible tragedy” that had befallen them, the judge asked Ms O’Rourke would she be able to carry out the necessary arrangements, adding it was important that everything was done respectfully.
Weeping, Ms O’Rourke said she would. “For Dean’s sake, we will. For one day, we can.”
Dr Farrell, who was in court, then told the judge his office would do all it could to facilitate the family if their undertakers, Jennings, contacted the office after the court hearing.
Afterwards, Chrissie Kenny, aunt of Dean and sister of Mr Fitzpatrick, said the dispute should never have come to court. An offer of mediation was made last weekend but was not accepted, she said. “Now the child will get a proper Christian burial.”
Earlier, in an affidavit read to the court, Christopher Fitzpatrick said his marriage had broken up in 2002 due to unhappy differences.
He said his son Dean died in tragic circumstances last Saturday night, May 25th, “having been stabbed by the notice party’s partner Dave Mahon”. He was aware Mr Mahon has not been charged with any crime and enjoys the presumption of innocence, he added.