Accused 'cooked up a story to get away with murder' - prosecutor
Stab wound that killed missing Amy's brother severed the aorta and stopped at the spine, writes Eimear Cotter
Published 01/05/2016 | 02:30
A missing daughter, a dead son, a husband on trial for murder. It reads like a script from a Hollywood movie, but it's the real-life story of Audrey Mahon, being played out in front of a jury at the Central Criminal Court.
She has been by her man, David Mahon's side, as he stands accused of killing her son, Dean Fitzpatrick.
The 45-year-old has denied murdering the father-of-one on May 26, 2013, a day after the deceased interfered with his bicycle to annoy him.
The 23-year-old received a single stab wound to the stomach outside the apartment Audrey shared with Mr Mahon at Burnell Square, Northern Cross in Malahide.
It is the prosecution's case that Mr Mahon intentionally stabbed Mr Fitzpatrick.
Mr Mahon has claimed it was an accident or suicide, telling gardai, "I didn't stab him, he walked into the knife" and "part of me thinks he (Mr Fitzpatrick) wanted it".
Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis gave evidence that Mr Fitzpatrick died from a single stab wound to his stomach which was inflicted with moderate or considerable force.
Dr Curtis said the stab wound transfixed the aorta, the main blood vessel of the body, and stopped at the spine. The wound was about 14.5cm in depth, but could have been as little as 12.5cm.
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.
Following Dean's death, Mr Mahon told gardai: "He's a little b*****d but I wish it were me dead. I thought that when Amy went missing it was the worst thing in the world and now this. How am I going to face Audrey."
Indeed, it is the spectre of Dean's missing sister, 15-year-old Amy, that has cast a long shadow over her family ever since she disappeared in 2008.
Dave and Audrey moved to Spain with her children, Dean and Amy, in 2004 and, according to Mr Mahon, it was "all happy family". He told gardai the couple were millionaires in Spain, and had seven or eight houses and bars. However, everything changed when Amy went missing.
The couple spent all their money looking for the teenager, and when they returned to Ireland a few years later Mr Mahon had to ask his dad for money for the flights home.
During his interviews with gardai, Mr Mahon's first concern was for his wife.
"I can't believe Dean's dead. This will kill Audrey. She took an overdose before," he told them.
He also highlighted the stress of Amy's disappearance, telling gardai the couple's sleeping patterns hadn't been great since she had gone missing, and sometimes he thought it was just "me and Audrey against the world".
He repeatedly voiced his concerns for his partner, telling gardai "the stress of this will kill her".
Amy's disappearance also deeply affected Dean. Detective Sergeant Eddie Carroll said Mr Fitzpatrick told medics he'd had problems with cannabis, cocaine and tablets since he was 11.
His notes on the young man's medical background, revealed Mr Fitzpatrick had self-harmed on at least three occasions. He had also expressed a death wish as he had feelings of guilt about his missing sister and had gained a psychological release by cutting himself.
His former girlfriend, Sarah O'Rourke, told the jury that a week prior to his death she had asked Dean to leave their home after she discovered he was selling tablets.
Mr Mahon has sat quietly in the dock for the duration of this trial, holding on to a walking stick and occasionally shifting in his seat. For the most part, he has been expressionless.
He has shown emotion on one occasion.
Last Wednesday, as the garda interviews with Mr Mahon were relayed to the jury, there was a reference to photographs of Amy, which were on the floor of his apartment.
There was also a joke certificate from Amy to Mr Mahon, which called him the "best boozer". Mr Mahon smiled, his face briefly lighting up. He then welled up thinking about his stepdaughter, who he described as "an angel".
He told gardai that Dean was "no angel", and was always pulling knives on him.
Mr Mahon spent the Saturday that Mr Fitzpatrick died "frenetically" trying to get in contact with him, the court heard.
There were 12 mobile phone calls from Mr Mahon to Mr Fitzpatrick between 9.40pm and 10pm on the Saturday night. There was also six calls to Ms O'Rourke.
There was evidence of a text message sent by Mr Mahon to Dean earlier in the day threatening to stab him.
The jury was told it had evidence of Mr Mahon's mood, with Ms O'Rourke saying he was "aggressive".
She said Mr 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".
Taxi driver Karl O'Toole was in Mr Mahon's apartment when Mr Fitzpatrick arrived.
He said Mr Mahon accused Mr Fitzpatrick of taking 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 got up and left.
Mr O'Toole said Mr Mahon followed him out of the apartment and when he came back he was holding a knife.
He said Mr 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". He recalled Mr Mahon asking him at one stage to stay off the motorways due to CCTV.
As they were nearing Balbriggan, Mr O'Toole said Mr Mahon told him: "Dean is dead" and "the knife went through him". He said he advised him to go to the gardai but "Dave was not really making any sense at all".
Mr Mahon went to Coolock garda station the next morning. 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 another friend, John McCormack, took Dean out of his apartment, and he followed them.
Mr Mahon 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."
He also told gardai he was "not a violent man" but was starting to doubt himself, asking, "did I push him?".
Mr Mahon said he next remembers 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 speech last Friday, prosecution counsel Remy Farrell said the jury must decide on Mr Mahon's intent: "was it his intent to kill him or cause him serious harm", or was it an accident or suicide as suggested by the defence?
Mr Farrell claimed Mr Mahon "cooked up" a story for gardai that it had been "an innocent accident" but minutes after Mr Fitzpatrick was stabbed he told Karl O'Toole: "Dean is dead."
Mr Farrell said the prosecution's case is that Mr Mahon was drunk, angry and agitated and he stabbed his stepson and then set about doing everything he could to "get away with murder".
The trial continues next Tuesday with closing arguments from the defence.