Wednesday 23 October 2019

Body of Dean Fitzpatrick to be released to his girlfriend, High Court rules

Christopher Fitzpatrick, his sister Christine and Dean's girlfriend, Sarah O'Rourke. Inset: Dean Fitzpatrick.
Christopher Fitzpatrick, his sister Christine and Dean's girlfriend, Sarah O'Rourke. Inset: Dean Fitzpatrick.

Tim Healy

A DISPUTE over the funeral arrangements for missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick's brother Dean - killed last Saturday in a stabbing incident - has been resolved following High Court proceedings initiated by his father.

The court ordered that Dean Fitzpatrick's body be released to the deceased's partner Sarah O'Rouke, the mother of their 18-month old son Leon.

The funeral of the 23-year-old was due to be held today but was delayed due to a dispute between family members over the arrangements.

His father Christopher Fitzpatrick claimed he was being excluded from the arrangements by his estranged wife Audrey and he brought court proceedings after the Dublin City Coroner refused to release the body to him. 

The court heard the Coroners Act provides the coroner cannot release a body without agreement of the family unless by court order.

The case was against the coroner with Ms Fitzpatrick a notice party.

The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns,  was told after talks between lawyers for Dean's estranged parents, that Dean's mother has now agreed to allow his body be interred in a new grave in Fingal Cemetery, as his father Christopher wished.

The court earlier heard from Michael Staines, solicitor for Ms Fitzpatrick, her own preference was that Dean should be buried alongside her mother, Dean's grandmother, in the same cemetery but she would consent to his being buried in a new grave.

Mr Fitzpatrick had said he wanted his son buried in a new grave with the intention his missing daughter Amy, aged 15, who has not been since since early 2008, would also be buried there at some stage as the siblings were very close. Mr Fitzpatrick also said his son had been living with either him or Dean's partner, Sarah O'Rourke, since he returned from Spain some years ago and they were close.

After the agreement was reached on place of burial, the judge was told the only outstanding dispute between the estranged parents concerned who the 23-year-old's body would be released to by the Dublin City Coroner, Dr Brian Farrell.

The judge asked what was the age of Dean's partner and mother of his child, Ms O'Rourke. On being told she was 28, the judge said he would direct the body be released to Ms O'Rourke and asked her to come forward.

After extending his sympathies to Ms O'Rourke and Dean's parents concerning the "terrible tragedy" that had befallen them, the judge asked Ms O'Rourke woud she be able to carry out the necessary arrangements, adding it was important that everything was done respectfully.

Weeping, Ms O'Rourke said she would. "For Dean's sake, we will. For one day, we can."

Dr Farrell, who was in court, then told the judge his office would do all it could to facilitate the family if their undertakers, Jennings, contacted the office after the court hearing.

Afterwards, Chrissie Kenny, aunt of Dean and sister of Mr Fitzpatrick, said the dispute should never have come to court.  An offer of mediation was made last weekend but was not accepted, she said. "Now the child will get a proper Christian burial."

Earlier, in an affidavit read to the court, Christopher Fitzpatrick said his marriage had broken up in 2002 due to unhappy differences.

He said his son Dean died in tragic circumstances last Saturday night, May 25, "having been stabbed by the notice party's (Mrs Fitzpatrick's) partner Dave Mahon".  He was aware Mr Mahon has not been charged with any crime and enjoys the presumption of innocence, he added.

The funeral details have been released with the death notice reading: "Fitzpatrick (Lusk and formerly of Clarehall, Dublin) 26th May 2013 (tragically) Dean (Deano, Fitzer).

"Very sadly missed by his partner Sarah, son Leon, parents Christopher and Audrey, sister Amy, step brother Alex, relatives and a large circle of friends. R.I.P.

"Reposing at Jennings Funeral Home, Oscar Traynor Road, Coolock, from strictly 3 o'clock to 5 o'clock only, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Removal on Monday to the Church of the Holy Trinity, Donaghmede, arriving for 5.30 o'clock. Funeral on Tuesday after 10 o'clock Mass, followed by burial in Fingal Cemetery."

 

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