Man 'gutted' stepson with knife after row over bike, court told
A Dublin man allegedly "gutted" his stepson with a carving knife after a day of heavy drinking because the victim had taken a part off his bicycle, a court has heard.
The murder trial of David Mahon (46) also heard it alleged that he then ran away, doing nothing to help his stepson, Dean Fitzpatrick, who later died of his injuries.
Mr Mahon is before the Central Criminal Court charged with murdering Mr Fitzpatrick on May 26, 2013.
The 23-year-old father-of-one was stabbed in the belly near Mr Mahon's former home at Burnell Square, Northern Cross, Malahide.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Remy Farrell SC, told the jury that David Mahon was the partner - now husband - of the deceased man's mother, Audrey Fitzpatrick.
He said that she also had a daughter, Amy Fitzpatrick, from a previous relationship.
Mr Mahon, Ms Fitzpatrick and the two children moved to Spain in 2004, where the family had business interests.
"Tragically, Amy Fitzpatrick went missing in 2008," said Mr Farrell, adding that she had never been found.
"Shortly afterwards, Dean, who had turned 18, returned to Ireland."
Mr Farrell said that the accused and his wife had been "much in the limelight" since Amy went missing.
In relation to the death of Mr Fitzpatrick, Mr Farrell said that it would be alleged that Mr Mahon had been drinking heavily on the day that Mr Fitzpatrick came to his apartment to see him.
He said it would be the State's case that Mr Mahon stabbed Mr Fitzpatrick during the visit.
Mr Farrell said the accused would claim it was an accident and he might allege that Mr Fitzpatrick had been suicidal, but the State argued this would be peculiar if it were "suicide by stepfather".
Mr Farrell told the Central Criminal Court that in 2013, Mr Fitzpatrick was in a relationship and had a two-year-old child.
He had mental health difficulties and had a difficult relationship with Mr Mahon.
Mr Farrell said that both men were members of the Northwood Gym in Santry, and Mr Mahon's bicycle was interfered with outside the gym on May 24, 2013.
The court heard that CCTV footage suggested that it was the deceased who had done so, removing a part from the bike.
The jury was told that Mr Mahon was annoyed and sought to have his stepson barred from the gym.
He also spent much of the following day trying to contact the deceased.
Witnesses would say he was not in a good mood and had been drinking heavily on the day in question, said Mr Farrell.
He said that Mr Mahon was in his apartment with two friends on the night in question and he phoned Mr Fitzpatrick and asked him to come over. The deceased arrived and there was a confrontation.
"Ultimately, Mr Fitzpatrick admitted doing it (interfering with the bicycle) to annoy him," said Mr Farrell. "Both were agitated."
One of Mr Mahon's friends told Mr Fitzpatrick to leave and he brought him outside, the court heard.
Mr Mahon then told the other friend he'd be back in a minute.
"It's what happened when he walked out the door that's the issue," said the barrister. "David Mahon arrived back in and had a carving knife.
"The prosecution's case is that David Mahon stabbed Dean Fitzpatrick in the abdomen."
The jury heard that Mr Fitzpatrick ran off, collapsed nearby and was tended to by strangers.
He died the following day.
Mr Farrell alleged that Mr Mahon tried to flee the scene.
However, the accused told a friend and another witness what had happened and he eventually went to the gardai.
"He suggested it had been an accident, that he had taken the knife off Dean Fitzpatrick and that Mr Fitzpatrick had walked onto it, impaling himself," said Mr Farrell.
"At one point he muses that Dean Fitzpatrick was suicidal."
Mr Farrell told the jurors that they would have great difficulty in reconciling that account with Mr Fitzpatrick's injuries.
"There was a piece of intestine protruding," he said. "In common terms, he had been gutted."
Garda Brian Cleary and Garda Caroline Hughes told the jury that they had mapped the location at Burnell Square and had taken photographs of the scene and surrounding buildings.
A book of photographs and a map of the area was handed to the jury members.
Garda Michelle Purcell also showed the jury CCTV evidence of the night in question.
The jury watched seven short clips of CCTV footage. One clip showed Mr Fitzpatrick arriving at Burnell Square on a bicycle at 11.06pm.
The CCTV footage showed that Mr Fitzpatrick was wearing a red T-shirt, had a grey hoodie around his shoulders and was drinking from a bottle of water.
A second clip of CCTV footage showed Mahon leaving his apartment, getting into a taxi with a friend and heading off in the direction of the Malahide Road at 11.13pm.
Mahon, with an address at Ongar village in Clonsilla, has pleaded not guilty.
The trial continues before Ms Justice Margaret Heneghan and a jury of six women and six men.
It is expected to last up to two weeks.