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'He always had a smile' - Tears flow as friends pay poignant tribute to Dean

TEARS flowed freely as memories of the short life of Dean Fitzpatrick were woven in words by his friends at his funeral today.

His best friend since childhood, Kevin Harris, stood at the altar at the end of the funeral Mass in Donaghmede and spoke of the fun-loving friend who loved his little son, Leon and partner, Sarah, so much.

Leon, not yet two, had been carried into the church by Dean's father, Christopher.

Leon was among the many loved ones in the church as Dean's life-long friends tried to sum-up the life of the young man who died in a stabbing nine days ago.

Kevin spoke of a young man who had moved back to Dublin in the months after his 15-year-old sister Amy disappeared near their family home in Spain more than five years ago.

Dean came from Spain "with an accent" which naturally caused a lot of slagging among his friends.

Missing from the front pew where she had sat the previous evening, Dean's mother Audrey was absent today due to illness that overcame her last night.

But Kevin made sure to speak of her in his eulogy.

He said Dean was always "a great friend to Audrey." He spoke of Dean being a loving partner to Sarah and joked about Dean's annoying habit of always "picking his nails". The congregation sat in silence as he spoke of Dean "always having a smile on his face".

Bright sunlight poured into the church from the windows high up at the apex of the pyramid as singer Donna Marie Cloke gave a rendition of Amazing Grace.

She had been invited to sing after giving comfort to the family following Amy's disappearance in Spain with her song Little Angel.

During the Mass, Fr Eoin McCrystal called for prayers for Amy and "for all the missing people". Dean's pal Kevin spoke of Dean's passion for physical exercise in the gym. A dumbbell was one of the symbols of his life brought to the altar.



Among the items were headphones for his love of music, a white cap for his love of fashion and a miniature bicycle.

Dean's partner Sarah O'Rourke sat in the front pew with her son and Dean's father and other members of Christopher's family.

Across the aisle, several members of Audrey's family were seated.

Several floral wreaths lay on the carpet around the altar, including a large bouquet with the simple message 'Be Good' and another spelling 'Deano'.