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Shell-shocked Audrey to visit Dave Mahon on first day in prison

Crime DeskBy Sunday World
Dave and Audrey Mahon arriving at court yesterday
Dave and Audrey Mahon arriving at court yesterday

Audrey Mahon is standing by the man who killed her son.

The shell-shocked mum of victim Dean Fitzpatrick is today due to visit husband Dave Mahon on his first full day behind bars.

Killer David Mahon was convicted by a jury of the manslaughter of his stepson, Dean Fitzpatrick.

A jury of six men and six women took more than eight hours to reach a majority decision of 10-2 that Mahon was not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Moments before the verdict, Audrey and Dave held hands in the court.

Dave Mahon

She was left visibly reeling when the jury found him guilty of manslaughter.

Her husband is locked up in Cloverhill prison, her only son Dean is dead and her daughter, Amy, remains missing since she disappeared in Spain 2008.

Mahon's bail was revoked by Ms Justice Heneghan and he was remanded in custody pending his sentencing hearing later this month.

The maximum sentence Mahon faces for a manslaughter conviction is life in prison, though this is very rare.

The Dubliner had denied killing father-of-one, Dean Fitzpatrick, on May 26, 2013, a day after the deceased took the water bottle off his bicycle to annoy him.

Dean Fitzpatrick

The 45-year-old barely flinched when the verdict was announced.

His wife Audrey, Dean's mother, looked shell-shocked and wiped a tear from her eye.

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.

Mahon had claimed the stabbing was an accident, or "accidental self-impalement", as his barrister Sean Guerin SC put it.

He claimed that after a confrontation, he took a knife from Mr Fitzpatrick, and was showing it to him and asking him what he was doing when Mr Fitzpatrick walked into it.

However, prosecution counsel Remy Farrell SC told the jury this was "a farcical story".

During the nine-day trial, the prosecution called 21 witnesses, most of whom were gardai.

The jury heard that Mahon spent the Saturday Mr Fitzpatrick died "frenetically" trying to get in contact with him.

There were 12 mobile phone calls from Mahon to Mr Fitzpatrick between 9.40pm and 10pm on the Saturday.

There was also six calls to Sarah O'Rourke, Dean’s girlfriend.

There was evidence of a text message sent by Mahon to Dean earlier in the day threatening to stab him.

The jury also had evidence of Mahon's mood – Ms O'Rourke said he was "aggressive".

She said Mahon phoned her on the Saturday night looking for Dean, and when she told him she didn't know where he was, he threatened to "stick a knife in her neck".

Ms O'Rourke said she texted Dean, and said Mahon was looking for him and he needed to "go and sort it out".

Ms O'Rourke said she and Dean had "argued quite a bit" around the time of his death.

On the Monday before his death, she had asked him to leave their home after she discovered he had been selling tablets. The jury also heard from taxi driver, Karl O'Toole, who was in Mahon's apartment at Burnell Square, Northern Cross, 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 have to get me out of here. I have to go."

Mr O'Toole said they got into his taxi and drove.

Mr O'Toole said Mahon then told him he thought "Dean was 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's house. Mr O'Toole said Mahon told his dad: "Dean came at him with a knife and he ended up being stabbed".

Deputy State Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, told the jury Mr Fitzpatrick died from a single stab wound to his stomach.

Dr Curtis said the stab wound transfixed the aorta, the body’s main blood vessel, and stopped at the spine. The wound was about 14.5cm in depth.

Despite emergency treatment, Dr Curtis said the injury was essentially non-survivable.

He said his examination could not tell if the wound had been inflicted with a deliberate thrust of a knife or if Mr Fitzpatrick had "run on" to a knife being held by someone else.

Mahon rang Coolock Garda Station the morning after Dean’s death, telling an officer: "It was me that did it. I didn't know he was dead. I just heard it on the news."

He was told to come down to the garda station and when he arrived, Garda Patrick Brodigan said Mahon was “very, very emotional” and “visibly shaken”.

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 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 that 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.

Eimear Cotter