Sunday 21 July 2019

Mum: 'I feared ex-'Fair City' star would kill me in assault'

Sarah Behan was a victim of domestic abuse by ‘Fair City’ actor Patrick Fitzpatrick. Photo: Tony Gavin
Patrick Fitzpatrick Picture: Caroline Quinn
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

A mother thought she was going to die at the hands of an ex-'Fair City' star, who punched and choked her during a brutal attack in her home.

Actor Patrick Fitzpatrick (29), who played Carrigstown villain Zumo Bishop in the television soap, was sentenced on Wednesday to one month in prison for assaulting his former girlfriend, Sarah Behan.

The verdict comes just two months after he was spared a jail sentence for punching and biting another ex-partner.

Now for the first time, Ms Behan has decided to tell the story of her horrific ordeal.

She describes how nearly two years on, the beating she endured still haunts her seven-year-old son, who witnessed Fitzpatrick repeatedly "punch, choke and drag" his mum through her home. It's now the Blanchardstown mother's goal to urge other victims of domestic abuse to speak out.

Ms Behan said: "He started out as the model boyfriend, making me feel so lucky to have him in my life. But I soon came to learn that he had a very evil streak to him.

"He was getting treatment for alcohol problems at the time, but nevertheless it didn't stop him from exploding into fits of rage on a regular basis."

Although the mum of one was often on the receiving end of Fitzpatrick's outbursts, she never imagined the terrifying attack that she would be subjected to.

Ms Behan tells how her then-partner flew off the handle after a brief encounter with her ex-boyfriend in a pub. When the pair returned from the pub, Fitzpatrick launched a vicious attack.

"He then ran at me and just starting hitting me as hard as he could. I was then dragged back into the sitting room and kitchen where he continued to beat me."

Ms Behan ran towards the two-storey window to scream for help and contemplated jumping out to save herself.

"I thought I would have a better chance of survival if I threw myself out because I actually thought he was going to kill me.

"Thankfully, the neighbours started coming out.

"But he dragged me back inside and began choking and punching me once again."

Ms Behan said gardaí soon arrived at the scene and immediately arrested Fitzpatrick. It wasn't until two years later that Ms Behan saw justice for her former partner's crimes, which she believes is inadequate.

"One month in prison is far too lenient and sets a terrible example for those thinking about reporting their abusive partners."

Irish Independent

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