Prayers for Amy as divided family mourns Dean
THE man who admitted stabbing Dean Fitzpatrick did not attend his removal.
There was a palpable air of tension – mixed with grief and heartbreak – as the trauma and the tragedy of the 23-year-old's all-too-short life was recalled at his removal last night.
Dean, whose sister Amy disappeared in mysterious circumstances in Spain almost five years ago, was stabbed to death last week.
Myriad emotions were etched on the faces of the chief mourners who attended the removal at Holy Trinity Church in Donaghmede, Dublin.
And the divisions which have wracked this family were manifest in the church yesterday.
At the top of one pew, accompanied by a number of friends, sat his mother Audrey Fitzpatrick, who has defended the actions of her partner Dave Mahon, who admitted inflicting the fatal stab wound which resulted in her son's death.
At the top of another pew sat Audrey Fitzpatrick's former husband, and Dean's father, Christopher.
Nearby, the victim's 28-year-old partner Sarah O'Rourke, who is also the mother of their 18-month-old son, Leon, fought to hold back her tears of sadness and loss.
Over the past number of days, Dean's violent death has been overshadowed by family disagreement over where he should be buried. The funeral had been arranged for last Friday but was postponed after the case came before the High Court.
His mother wanted him laid to rest with her mother, while his father and her estranged husband wished Dean to have a new grave. Mr Fitzpatrick hopes that one day Dean's sister Amy, who is still missing after having disappeared near her home in Spain on New Year's Day 2008, will also eventually be buried with him.
The High Court ruled that both the removal and burial should be the responsibility of Dean's partner Sarah. "I'm conscious this is the second tragedy to visit you as a family," Fr Eoin McCrystal told the congregation of about 150 mourners. "Our thoughts and prayers are also with Dean's sister, Amy, now missing for five years."
As he concluded his brief eulogy, some mourners stepped forward to touch Dean's coffin by way of a final farewell.
And as the congregation filed from the church, the countless unresolved questions which haunted his troubled life hung in the air. For Dean's mourning family it would seem to be a case of divided in life, divided in death.
His funeral will take place today at 10am, followed by burial in Fingal Cemetery.