THE stepfather of missing Irish teenager Amy Fitzpatrick has been arrested by gardai investigating the murder of her brother, Dean, who was found stabbed to death.
ave Mahon (42), voluntarily presented himself at Coolock garda station after the body of his 23-year-old stepson was found in the street at nearby Northern Cross, on the northside of Dublin, on Saturday night.
Mr Mahon was arrested at about 2pm and can be held for 24 hours without charge.
It is understood Mr Mahon lives with Dean's mother, Audrey, in the Burnell Square apartment complex, just metres from where the young man's body was found at 11.20pm with a single stab wound to the abdomen. Dean was rushed to nearby Beaumont Hospital where he died from his injuries a short time later.
Last night, Amy and Dean's mother was too upset to speak about the death of her son – the second tragedy to hit the family. However, Audrey Fitzpatrick did say she wasn't aware her partner had been arrested. She told the Irish Independent: "Well, I haven't been even told that, so I can't tell you anything."
She said she wasn't home on Saturday night, adding: "The police haven't told me anything."
Mr Mahon last month received a jail sentence for a dangerous drink-driving incident in Dublin on New Year's Day.
However, he appealed the severity of the sentence and it was suspended on condition he kept the peace for 12 months.
The offence occurred five years to the day since Amy Fitzpatrick, then aged 15, went missing in Spain.
She had been living with her mother and Mr Mahon in the Costa del Sol town of Mijas and disappeared when she left a friend's house to walk home.
There has been no trace of her since, despite a major investigation by Spanish police and frequent high-profile appeals by her family.
Dean penned an emotional letter appealing for Amy to make contact with her family in the days following her disappearance.
He wrote: "We really miss you and are all worried sick.
"Mam is crying all the time and the house is just empty without you and all your noise".
He added: "Please, please, come home Amy."
"I don't know if you ran away, but if you have just give us a text or something to say you're alright."
Now his family is coming to terms with his killing.
Dean's father Christopher Fitzpatrick spent the night at Beaumont Hospital and was "in total shock" yesterday.
A source close to him said he was not ready to speak about this latest tragedy.
"It's absolutely devastating. He hasn't stopped crying," they said. "Dean was very close to his father."
The source spoke of a shopping trip in recent days, where Dean had been bought new tracksuit bottoms and runners.
They said: "He was in great form. He was delighted with his life, getting the few bits and pieces and that.
"He was talking about going and getting a job and all of that, but it is very hard to get work out there."
Dean's girlfriend, who is the mother of his 18-month-old son, is said to be "distraught" at the news of his death.
The crime scene near the Hilton Hotel at Northern Cross was sealed off for technical examination.
Forensic officers pored over the area, taking fingerprints from the glass doors of the apartment building and removing evidence in bags.
Other gardai conducted door-to-door inquiries within the apartment building itself.
Superintendent Ronan Galligan of Coolock garda station said that officers would be seeking to obtain any CCTV footage of the area and he appealed for witnesses to come forward.
He said gardai had not recovered the weapon used in the attack, and could not say if the attack had taken place on the street or in the apartment block.
He added: "We're not in a position to say exactly what happened until we establish all the facts."
He said: "It's obvious that some altercation took place and unfortunately Dean died as a result of the injuries, so anybody who has any knowledge of what went on should contact us here at Coolock garda station."
Gardai are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed this incident or who may have information to contact them at Coolock garda station 01-666 4200, the Garda Confidential Line 1800-666-111, or at any garda station.