Sunday 22 April 2018

Missing Amy's stepfather jailed for 'horrendous' drink-driving

David Mahon
David Mahon

Tom Tuite

THE stepfather of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick, who vanished in Spain five years ago, was given a four-month jail sentence after he was convicted of a dangerous drink-driving incident.

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 never arrived.

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.

Dublin District Court heard that 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.

After being tailed by the off-duty garda he was arrested near his home at Lorcan Drive, in Santry, in Dublin.

He had pleaded not guilty to drink- driving, three counts of dangerous driving and one charge of careless driving. He was convicted of all charges.

Judge Ann Watkin described the 42-year-old's dangerous driving as "horrendous" and said he had told "blatant lies".

Erratic

She added, as she imposed the jail term and a five-year road ban, that he had shown no remorse and it was a miracle he had not killed other motorists.

Garda Paul Mullen told the court that he had been off-duty and driving his own car on the M1 when he noticed another car in his rear-view mirror.

It "veered from left to right very erratically in front of oncoming vehicles" and its driver "almost lost control".

Garda Mullen said he followed the car and saw it repeatedly break red lights and on several occasions on-coming vehicles had to take "severe avoidance action".

He reported it to gardai and continued to follow the car. He said Mahon nearly caused another collision and later almost lost control of his car when he arrived at his home.

Garda Mullen remained there and watched him until a squad car arrived. Under cross-examination, he said he was not aware that Mahon had been the subject of serious threats to his life but added that he had not looked panicked.

Garda Ciaran Kennedy said he arrived and Mahon was beside his car, he could smell drink from him and described him as being unsteady on his feet and slurring his words.

Mahon was taken to Santry garda station and provided a breath sample which gave a reading of 99mg of alcohol per 100 ml of breath.

Mahon claimed that he first noticed that he was being followed while he was driving in Santry Village. He said he feared he was going to be shot because he was being followed and senior gardai were aware of threats to his life.

He had not known that the man who followed him was a garda. "I did not know if he would get out with a gun or a knife, I assume the people who have made life threats to me would be carrying a gun," Mahon said.

He claimed that when he was outside his house in his car he picked up a Jack Daniels whiskey bottle to use as a weapon in the event he was going to be attacked. While he waited in his car, which was now stationary, he began to drink from the bottle, he claimed.

"I thought my life was at stake, I took more than a sup, I would have had around half, minimum," he said.

The defence lawyer asked the judge to suspend the sentence and said Mahon's stepdaughter had gone missing five years ago; his partner, Audrey depended on him and his father was in poor health.

The judge refused but ordered that Mahon could be released on bail to appeal the verdict in his own bond of €400, half of which must be lodged along with an independent surety in the sum of €400.

Irish Independent

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