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Dean's baby son Leon brought little bit of joy back to family

AUDREY Fitzpatrick found herself at the centre of the media glare when her daughter Amy (15) vanished without trace five years ago.

Audrey (42), from Coolock, in north Dublin, lived in Donaghmede with her two children Dean and Amy. Audrey had separated from the children's father Christopher Fitzpatrick, and in 2005 she and her children moved to Spain with her partner Dave Mahon.

Just three years later, a heartbroken Audrey would face the cameras for the first time, appealing for the safe return of her 'Baby Bunton', her nickname for Amy.

"Amy and her brother Dean are the centre of our lives," a tearful Audrey told a press conference as she made a desperate appeal for information.

"She's just a loving girl who never did anyone any harm in her life. She will be frightened. Please don't hurt her," she said.

Dean was just 17 at the time – and devastated by his younger sister's disappearance.

Two weeks after she vanished, he wrote a public letter to his only sibling saying he was "scared" for her.

He urged her to return home if she could, and that the family were crying for her.

 

Wasteland

Amy went missing from the family's Costa Del Sol home on New Year's Day in 2008 after leaving a friend's house to head home.

Part of her route home was along a laneway through an overgrown wasteland. There were bushes and trees and ravines nearby and there were spots along the route when she would have been in almost complete darkness.

Helicopters and sniffer dogs were used in the search but, despite the mammoth efforts, not a trace was ever found.

Audrey regularly meets with Spanish police for progress reports – and has met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in a move designed to focus more attention on Amy's case.

Last year, Audrey released a book entitled Please Find My Amy. In the publication, she laid bare her sorrow, stating: "It is hard to keep going."

"I have to stay strong for Amy. I'm the only mother she has."

Poignantly Audrey told how in the midst of her anguish came her first grandchild – Leon, Dean's first child.

Speaking just five months ago about the then one-year-old, she said "It's great to see little Leon. He's brought a little joy into life."

But Dave Mahon hit the headlines last April after he was given a suspended sentence on appeal for a dangerous drink-driving incident in Dublin.

fdillon@herald.ie


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