Dean Fitzpatrick sent a message to his stepfather, David Mahon, asking 'who you saying you going to stab?' days before Mr Mahon is alleged to have murdered him.
The text message was on Tuesday read to a jury in the Central Criminal Court, where the 46-year-old is on trial, charged with murdering Dean Fitzpatrick.
Earlier, Mr Fitzpatrick’s girlfriend testified that Mr Mahon threatened to stab her in the neck hours before he is alleged to have murdered the father of her son.
The Dubliner has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Fitzpatrick on May 26th, 2013 by ‘gutting’ him, after the deceased had interfered with his bicycle to annoy him.
The 23-year-old was stabbed in the abdomen on the landing outside Mr Mahon’s apartment at Burnell Square, Northern Cross, on the Malahide Road in Dublin.
The court has already heard that Mr Fitzpatrick was the older brother of Amy Fitzpatrick, who went missing in Spain in 2008 and has never been found.
Mr Fitzpatrick's girlfriend, Sarah O'Rourke, said she was at home with her children in Lusk on May 25th, 2013. Mr Fitzpatrick was not there as she had asked him to leave their home days earlier, having learned that he was selling tablets.
She said she received a phone call from Mr Mahon, whom she had met two or three times. “He sounded aggressive, angry over something. He asked me to put Dean on the phone,” she said.
She said she explained that Mr Fitzpatrick wasn’t there, but that she would text him to tell him to ring Mr Mahon.
“But that wasn’t enough for him. He wanted me to ring him,” she continued. “He told me to get up off my fat a**e and go to the shop and buy credit and ring Dean or he was going to drive out to Lusk and stick a knife into my head or neck.”
She said that she hung up the phone, rang her sister and sent a message to Mr Fitzpatrick to tell them what had happened.
“I was frightened,” she said.
The jury later heard the content of text messages sent between the phones of the deceased, the accused and Ms O’Rourke in the days leading up to the stabbing. “What you on about you fool?”, wrote Mr Fitzpatrick to Mr Mahon on May 24th.
“Who you saying you going to stab, you Muppet?” he wrote to the accused later that day.
The jury also heard of several attempts by Mr Mahon to phone Mr Fitzpatrick on May 25th. Most of the calls went unanswered but a number connected.
The final message sent between them was a message from the deceased to Mr Mahon at 10.59pm. It read: ‘Outside’.
The jury had already seen footage of Mr Fitzpatrick arriving at the accused man’s apartment block at that time.
The jury heard there were pictures of Amy Fitzpatrick and Mr Mahon’s mother on the floor of Mr Mahon’s home at the time. The evidence came from Karl O’Toole, was inside the apartment that night.
“We were friends,” he testified, explaining that he had known Mr Mahon since he was 18. He said that he was working as a taxi driver when he got a call from Mr Mahon around 10pm.
“He told me him and Audrey had split up for good,” he said, referring to the mother of Dean and Amy Fitzpatrick. The court has heard that Audrey Fitzpatrick is now Mr Mahon’s wife.
“I said I could be down in a couple of minutes,” he recalled. “He was drunk… He was agitated… He needed help or someone to talk to.”
He said that when he arrived, he noticed an empty whiskey bottle and empty packets of tablets, which he believed to be Xanax.
“I did notice on the ground pictures of Amy and pictures of his mother,” he recalled. “I was surprised because he was very close to his mother.”
Mr O’Toole said that the accused was trying to get Mr Fitzpatrick to come to the flat. He eventually arrived and Mr Mahon put it to him that he had ‘robbed’ a piece of Mr Mahon’s bicycle.
He said that the deceased denied it until Mr Mahon told him that it had been caught on CCTV.
“Dean admitted he did take the part but just did it to annoy him,” he said, adding that both men were agitated. “Dean said he’d return the part the following day. He got up then and left.”
He said that Mr Mahon then told him he’d be back in a minute and also left. He was gone 30 seconds to a minute.
“Everything sort of went from zero to a hundred in a short space of time,” he explained. “When he came back in, he was holding a knife.”
“I got an awful shock,” he said, describing the knife as long. “I thought the problem had been resolved. He was after getting the part back. Everything just went haywire then.”
He said that Mr Mahon told him that he (Mr O’Toole) had to get him out of there. They left and drove around for hours.
“David wasn’t really making any sense,” he said. “I was trying to find out what happened.”
He said that Mr Mahon asked him to stay off the motorways because of CCTV and that they used back roads.
“He says to me that he thinks Dean is dead and he thinks the knife went through him,” he said. He eventually brought him to Mr Mahon’s father’s house.
“I think David said to his father that Dean came at him with a knife but Dean ended up being stabbed,” he said. Asked if Mr Mahon had said that he had stabbed Mr Fitzpatrick, Mr O’Toole replied: ‘Yeah’.
“I think he said to his Dad that if he had his phone, he’d see the texts Dean had been sending him the previous three or four days, threatening him,” he added.
Mr O’Toole said he didn’t want to be there and eventually went home, telling the Mahons that it might not be as serious as it sounded and that Mr Fitzpatrick might be alright.
However, he passed Burnell Square on his way home and saw that it had been cordoned off. He learned from the internet the following morning that the stabbing was fatal and he went to the gardai.
Under crossexamination by the defence, he said he thought that Mr Fitzpatrick had ‘just wanted to get out of there’ when he left the apartment.
The trial continues before Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan and a jury of six women and six men.