Christopher Fitzpatrick’s world collapsed a second time

David Mahon trial: Father, former partner and little son of dead man feel terrible pain

The monotone voice of prosecuting counsel Remy Farrell reading the victim impact statements yesterday did not disguise the pain of those that authored them.

They came from Christopher Fitzpatrick, the former husband of Audrey, both parents of Dean; from Sara O'Rourke, Dean's former partner and mother of their child, Leon; and from Audrey Mahon, sitting in the body of the court, who said she can not disagree with the jury's verdict that her new husband David Mahon killed her son.

David Mahon was convicted by a jury of the manslaughter of Dean Fitzpatrick on May 26th, 2013. They had a row following Fitzpatrick’s theft of a water bottle from Mahon’s bicycle. Mahon maintained he disarmed Fitzpatrick of a knife which he then walked into.

Pathology evidence showed the knife penetrated Fitzpatrick’s chest, piercing his aorta, the main artery from the heart, and hit his spine.In the tangle of relationships, Christopher Fitzpatrick is something of the forgotten man. The father of two children with Audrey, he has lost both.

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Joy at son

“On March 9th, 1990, Dean took his first breath,” said his victim impact statement, read by Mr Farrell to Court 13 of Dublin’s

Criminal Courts

of Justice, presided over by Ms

Justice Margaret Heneghan

. “I was full of joy, love and happiness to have a son. He was so small and precious.

"In 2008, my daughter Amy Fitzpatrick disappeared while in the care of her mother, Audrey Mahon, on the Costa del Sol in Spain after Audrey took my children on a two-week holiday in 2004 and did not return with them. Amy has not been seen or heard of since her disappearance.

“The morning of May 26th, 2013, my world came crashing down once again.

Brutally killed

“I thought Amy’s disappearance was the worst thing that was going to happen in my life [but] when Dean was brutally killed, I realised that I would never get to see Dean enjoying his son, Leon, grow up.”

I do not deserve to live my life with the pain of losing my son and daughter, he said.

It was a theme taken up by Dean Fitzpatrick’s former partner, Ms O’Rourke. “Leon was only 18 months [old] when his dad died,” she said in her impact statement, also read by Mr Farrell. “He was a little bit young to understand why his daddy wasn’t here. . . He would take daddy’s picture that we have in our home and would ask: ‘Where’s my daddy?’ I have to tell him that daddy is a star in the sky . . . It is only in the last year or so that Leon has become more aware that daddy is never coming home.”

Throughout, David Mahon satmotionless in the dock, occasionally arching a right eyebrow. He wore a pale-pink shirt open at the neck, a dark blue two-piece suit with a jet-black thin ribbon trim around the collar and down the lapels.

His left wedding finger sported not a ring but the tattoo of a ring. He carried a wooden, T-handle cane and walked with a pronounced limp, evidence of a replaced hip that needs replacing again.

Ms Justice Heneghan listened to the evidence and submissions of mitigation. The offer of a plea to manslaughter was what the jury decided, as opposed to murder. Therefore, the court must conclude the accused pleaded guilty.

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh is a contributor to The Irish Times