Friday 18 January 2019

'He is extremely dangerous and I'm very frightened' - young mum who was assaulted by Fair City's 'Zumo'

Sarah Behan, who was a victim of domestic abuse by Fair City’s Patrick Fitzpatrick
Photo: Tony Gavin
Sarah Behan, who was a victim of domestic abuse by Fair City’s Patrick Fitzpatrick Photo: Tony Gavin
Patrick Fitzpatrick, aka Zumo Bishop in the soap opera
Sarah Behan, who was a victim of domestic abuse by Fair City's Patrick Fitzpatrick
Actor Patrick Fitzpatrick
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

A young mother who was beat up by a former Fair City star in a vicious domestic assault is still living in fear following his early release.

Dublin actor Patrick Fitzpatrick was sentenced to one month in prison on July 25 after pleading guilty to attacking his former girlfriend Sarah Behan.

However, Fitzpatrick, who played Carrigstown villain Zumo Bishop in the popular soap, was released two days later after lodging an appeal.

Independent.ie can now reveal that he will appear before Blanchardstown Court again on January 23.

It is understood he objects to the severity of the one-month sentence.

The Fair City actor was also spared a jail sentence in May for punching and biting another ex-partner.

Sarah Behan, who was a victim of domestic abuse by Fair City’s Patrick Fitzpatrick
Photo: Tony Gavin
Sarah Behan, who was a victim of domestic abuse by Fair City’s Patrick Fitzpatrick Photo: Tony Gavin

Speaking to Independent.ie this week, Ms Behan said she still fears for her safety.

She described how, two years on, the beating she endured still haunts her seven-year-old son, who saw Fitzpatrick repeatedly “punch, choke and drag” his mum through her home.

At one stage, Ms Behan thought she was going to die at the hands of the Ballymun man.

“It just seems to be never ending,” she said.

“When he was released, I felt sick to my stomach. It’s not fair at all, the justice system is an absolute disgrace.

“Patrick is an extremely dangerous man and I’m still very frightened because I know what’s he’s capable of.”

The incident happened in September 2016 after the couple had watched the All-Ireland final in their local pub.

At one point an ex-boyfriend of Ms Behan came up and said hello and she introduced him to Fitzpatrick.

Actor Patrick Fitzpatrick
Actor Patrick Fitzpatrick

Ms Behan told how it “was all very innocent” and she thought nothing of it when she got home.

But she said Fitzpatrick suddenly pinned her up against the wall and asked what was going on between her and her former boyfriend.

“He then ran at me and just started hitting me as hard as he could,” she said previously.

“I was then dragged back into the sitting room and kitchen where he continued to beat me.”

Ms Behan ran toward the window to scream for help and contemplated jumping from the second floor to save herself.

Her son, who was five at the time, came running into the sitting room in a bid to protect his mother, but he was hit several times on the face and head.

She managed to get to the front door and down the stairs and one of her neighbours took her and her son into her home.

Ms Behan said gardai soon arrived and immediately arrested Fitzpatrick, but the following day he appeared before Blanchardstown Court and was released.

The 32-year-old said her son continued to suffer anxiety attacks after the traumatising incident.

“He still has bad dreams about that night and if someone even speaks about Patrick he will literally throw up,” she said.

“Sometimes he gets very scared if he thinks he sees him on the streets and will have a total meltdown.

“We both see counsellors, but domestic violence has a lifelong impact on victims.”

The Blanchardstown mother is now urging other victims of domestic abuse to speak out.

“It’s very important for people to recognise the early signs of abuse and get out when they still can,” she said.

“People are often so quick to judge when a person doesn’t leave an abusive relationship, but it’s sometimes a very difficult thing to do.

“Abusers are very manipulative and can make it seem like there’s no way out, such as putting finances or children into the equation.

“But the important thing to know is that help is at hand. You just need to take the first step and pick up the phone.”

  • If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article contact Women’s Aid on 1800-341-900 or Amen on 046-9023718.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News