THE mother of missing teenager Amy Fitzpatrick has said she forgives her partner who was questioned over the death of her son, describing him as a "very good man".
The 23-year-old father of one died after receiving a single stab wound to the abdomen.
He was found outside his mother's apartment – where she has lived with her partner Dave Mahon (42) since they returned to Ireland from Spain last year – at Northern Cross on Malahide Road in Dublin on Saturday night.
Mr Mahon has admitted to the killing but claimed he stabbed Dean in self-defence and described it as a "terrible accident".
And while Audrey Fitzpatrick said she does not know if their relationship will survive the ordeal, she does believe her partner's claim that Dean died accidentally.
"I don't know, I still don't know. I love him and I hate him, that's the way it is with us at the minute. But I know he wouldn't kill Dean on purpose," she said.
"He was very close to Dean. He always rang Dave before he rang me."
Mr Mahon said he will accept whatever punishment he receives but revealed his biggest fear is to be in a prison cell and forced "to live with this in my mind".
"It will be hard enough to live with this in my mind walking down the street and getting on with your life as best as one can, but to be in a cell, that's a different matter."
Dave went to his father's house in Santry after the incident, unaware that Dean had died from his injuries. He said his father Mick told him the next day that his stepson had died and, having talked to a friend, he presented himself at Coolock garda station.
He was questioned for 24 hours but was released without charge on Monday afternoon.
Dean's sister Amy 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 never arrived.
Her mother and 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.