THE stepfather of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick, who vanished in Spain five years ago, has been given a suspended sentence on appeal for a dangerous drink-driving incident in Dublin.
Amy Fitzpatrick was 15 when she vanished on the night of January 1, 2008.
She had left a friend's house on the Costa del Sol to walk to her own home less than two kilometres away but she did not arrive. Her mother Audrey Fitzpatrick and her stepfather David Mahon have continued an appeal, including a reward, for information leading to the discovery of Amy who is originally from Donaghmede in Dublin.
A Dublin court heard that Mr Mahon had been seen driving dangerously by an off-duty garda who followed him in north Dublin on January 1 last, the fifth anniversary of his step-daughter's disappearance.
On March 12 last, at Dublin District Court Mahon (42) had been given a four-month jail term and a five-year road ban but later that day he took up bail to appeal the severity of the sentence..
Today at the Circuit Court in Dublin, Judge James O'Donohue suspended the jail sentence on condition Mr Mahon keeps the peace for 12 months. He also reduced the road ban to three years, the minimum for the level of alcohol that was in Mahon's system at the time of his arrest.
Garda Ciaran Kennedy told the appeal court that an off-duty garda had been travelling on the Swords Road when he noticed Mahon overtake him and caused on-coming traffic “to take avoidance action”.
He almost lost control and nearly collided with the rear of the off-duty garda's car. The officer followed him to Dublin Airport but Mahon then drove off again and almost hit other cars after he broke red lights.
When he got to Lorcan Drive, near his home in Santry he was taking corners at speed and drove around the estate twice. Gda Kennedy arrived and noticed that Mahon was drunk.
He was arrested and taken to Ballymun Garda station where a drink-drive test was carried out which gave a reading of 99mg of alcohol per 100 ml of breath putting him over the limit.
The appeal court judge was also told that Mahon had no prior criminal convictions and was co-operative on his arrest.
Defence counsel Rory Staines asked the judge to note that the offence happened on the fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Mahon's step-daughter.
Judge O'Donohue said the lack of prior criminal convictions and Mahon's co-operation with gardai was to his credit. “I am very sorry to hear about your personal tragedy, I can understand how this whole thing happened,” he told Mahon as he suspended the district court's sentence and reduced the driving ban.
After the case concluded Mr Mahon said he was delighted with the sympathy shown to him by the judge and he added that he and his partner Audrey are concentrating their efforts to find Amy.
“I thought it was extremely fair, I am sure he [the judge] knew of Amy, he seemed to have picked up on that very quickly,” he said.
During the original trial in the district court in March, Mahon had said that a serious threat have been made against him and he did not know that the person following him was an off-duty garda.