NewsCrime Desk

Dave Mahon sentenced to seven years for manslaughter of stepson

Dave Mahon
Dave Mahon

A FORMER Spanish-based property owner who knifed his stepson to death has been jailed for seven years.

David Mahon (45) was found guilty of the manslaughter of his stepson Dean Fitzpatrick by a jury at the Central Criminal Court last month.

Mahon had denied murdering Mr Fitzpatrick on May 26, 2013, a day after the deceased interfered with his bicycle to annoy him.

He had claimed that father-of-one Mr Fitzpatrick walked into the knife he was holding and his death was an accident.

His legal team argued that Mahon's account of what happened was not contradicted by the scientific evidence.

Dean Fitzpatrick

However, it was the prosecution case that Mahon was drunk, angry and agitated and he stabbed his stepson, before fleeing the scene and leaving him to die on the street.

Dean Fitzpatrick was the older brother of teenager Amy Fitzpatrick who went missing in Spain in 2008.

The 23-year-old received a single stab wound to the stomach outside the apartment his mother Audrey shared with Mahon at Burnell Square, Northern Cross in Malahide.

In May, a jury of six men and six women took eight hours and 16 minutes to reach a verdict that Mahon was not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan said the facts of this case were "very distressing", and she did not propose to go through them again.

Ms Justice Heneghan said the defendant had offered a plea of guilty of manslaughter prior to the trial, but this plea had been rejected by the DPP, and she said she must take this into account when sentencing.

She said that Mr Mahon had also apologised, through his barrister, to all those who knew Mr Fitzpatrick, and had indicated he would not be appealing the verdict.

Ms Justice Heneghan imposed a seven year sentence.

During an earlier sentence hearing, defence barrister Sean Guerin SC said he had been instructed by his client to apologise to all those who knew Mr Fitzpatrick.

Victim impact statements from Dean's dad Christopher Fitzpatrick, his mother, Audrey Mahon, his girlfriend Sarah O'Rourke and his four-year-old son Leon were also previously read to the court.

Audrey Mahon said her life had become a living nightmare since Dean's death, and although he had his problems she recalled his "cheeky grin" and "heart of gold".

In her victim impact statement, she said she had lost both her children and did not think she was strong enough to cope with losing her husband.

Mrs Mahon said David had also lost everything, and he had done everything in his power to find Amy.

She could not disagree with the jury's decision, she said, because David Mahon had produced a knife unlawfully.

Mrs Mahon further said she has "forgiven Dave but has not forgotten" what happened, adding that Mahon will "always be my husband, carer and my best friend".

Dave Mahon and Audrey Fitzpatrick pictured during the trial

Dean's dad, Christopher Fitzpatrick, said Dean's death has taken its toll on him, and he had been hospitalised due to stress.

Mr Fitzpatrick also said Audrey Mahon had tried to exclude him from Dean's funeral and he had been forced to go to the High Court so his son could be buried in his own plot.

He said he hoped Amy would eventually be found alive but he could have no such hope for his son.

He also said there were no words to describe his "pain, anger and despair".

Mr Fitzpatrick said that all he now has of Dean is "visits to his resting place".

The deceased's partner Sarah O'Rourke said the couple had their "ups and downs" but she "loved him as he loved me".

She said she and Dean were so proud and happy when they had their beautiful son, Leon.

Ms O'Rourke said she has found it hard to cope since Dean died, and she still can't fully accept that he is not going to see his son growing up.

She said their son often picks up Dean's picture and asks "where's my daddy".

Ms O'Rourke said she tells her son that Dean is "a star in the sky" and "angels took him to heaven".

During the two week trial, the Central Criminal Court heard evidence from Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, who said Mr Fitzpatrick bled to death as a result of a single stab wound to the stomach.

Dr Curtis said the wound was inflicted with moderate or considerable force. His examination could not tell if the wound was inflicted with a deliberate thrust of the knife or if Mr Fitzpatrick had "run on" to a knife being held by someone else.

The court heard that by 2013, Mr Fitzpatrick was in a relationship with Sarah O'Rourke and they had a two-year-old son. He had mental health difficulties and also had a difficult relationship with Mahon.

Both men were members of the Northwood Gym in Santry and Mahon’s bicycle was interfered with outside the gym on May 24 that year, the court heard.

CCTV footage suggested it was the deceased who had done so, taking a water bottle off it.

The jury was told Mahon was annoyed and sought to have his stepson barred from the gym.

He also spent much of the following day "frenetically" trying to contact the deceased. Witnesses said he was not in a good mood and had been drinking heavily.

The jury also heard from taxi driver, Karl O’Toole, who was in Mahon’s apartment when Mr Fitzpatrick arrived.

He said Mahon accused Mr Fitzpatrick of robbing a water bottle off his bike, and Dean admitted he’d done it to annoy him.

Dean said he’d return the bottle the next day and he left.

Mr O’Toole said Mahon followed him out of the apartment and when he came back he was holding a knife.

He said Mahon was "very agitated" and said: "You've have to get me out of here. I have to go".

Mr O'Toole said they got into his taxi and he was "just driving".

Mr O'Toole said Mahon then told him he thinks "Dean is dead" and "the knife went through him".

He advised him to go to the gardai but "Dave was not really making any sense at all".

The pair then drove to Mahon's father, Mick's house. Mr O'Toole said Mahon told his dad "Dean came at him with a knife and he ended up being stabbed".

The court heard that gardai conducted five interviews with Mahon.

During the interviews, he told gardai Mr Fitzpatrick had called up to his apartment and the pair were arguing.

He said Mr Fitzpatrick pulled a knife on him in the kitchen, but he took it off him and put it in his back pocket.

He said his friend John McCormack took Dean out of his apartment, and he followed them.

Mahon claimed he pulled the knife from his pocket and said to Dean, “why are you pulling a knife on your auld fella".

He said Mr Fitzpatrick walked into the knife, and he knew he had nicked him, but Dean ran off and he "didn't think it was that serious".

He told gardai "I didn't stab him, he walked into the knife".

The next thing Mahon remembered was being in a taxi with his friend Karl O'Toole and throwing the knife out the window.

Asked why he threw away the knife, he told gardai "don't ask me, I don't know why".

In his closing argument to the jury, prosecution counsel, Remy Farrell SC, told the jury Mahon "cooked up" a story for gardai, telling them the "farcical story" that Mr Fitzpatrick had “walked into the knife”.

He said the reality was that Mahon stabbed his stepson and then set about doing everything he could to "get away with" it.