Wednesday 21 November 2018

Killer Mahon's seven-year jail term is upheld

Audrey Fitzpatrick
Audrey Fitzpatrick

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A man found guilty of killing the brother of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick has lost an appeal against the severity of his seven-year jail sentence.

David Mahon (46) is the partner of his victim's mother.

Mahon had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Dean Fitzpatrick (23) outside the apartment his mother Audrey Fitzpatrick shared with Mahon at Northern Cross on the Malahide Road in North Dublin.

A jury subsequently found him guilty of Dean's manslaughter and he was sentenced to seven years' imprison by Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan.

The trial was told father-of-one Dean received a stab wound to his abdomen.

Mahon claimed Dean's death was an accident or possible suicide and that Mr Fitzpatrick had "walked into the knife" while they had been arguing.

The Court of Appeal upheld Mahon's sentence yesterday holding that a seven-year sentence, taking an overview of the case, was "quite typical of knife manslaughters".

As sentence appeals go, this one was "somewhat unusual", according to Mr Justice George Birmingham in his judgment delivered on behalf of the three-judge court. "Unusually", for sentence appeals, the case made on Mahon's behalf was that the sentencing judge did not sentence in accordance with verdict of the jury, Mr Justice Birmingham said.

Counsel for Mahon, Seán Guerin SC, said the only conclusion which could be drawn from the verdict was that the jury was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Mahon had stabbed the deceased.

As such, he said Mahon was factually proven only to have produced the knife.

"That was all he did." He produced the knife, he didn't thrust it, he didn't stab, and because he didn't thrust it, he didn't commit an act that could have amounted to a physical assault, Mr Guerin said.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Michael Peart and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the sentence decided upon was not out of line with sentences imposed in previous cases that might be regarded as broadly similar.

There were aggravating factors, including the following of Mr Fitzpatrick from the apartment, the production of a large knife during the course of an altercation, Mahon's leaving of the scene and the failure to seek medical assistance.

The relationship between Mahon and Mr Fitzpatrick was relevant.

On the other hand, Mahon pleaded guilty to manslaughter in advance of his trial for murder and he came before the court without previous convictions of any relevance.

In the Court of Appeal's view, it was a sentence that fell within the available range and the appeal was accordingly dismissed.

Giving background, Mr Justice Birmingham said there was evidence that the relationship between Mahon and his step-son was "not an easy one".

Days before his death, Mahon had asked for Dean Fitzpatrick to be barred from the gym they both attended for interfering with his bicycle and stealing a bottle of water from it.

Dean's sister Amy went missing in Spain on January 1, 2008, at the age of 15.

Irish Independent

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