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Man held over teacher killing 'was set to flee'

A ROMANIAN father-of-two charged with withholding information in connection to the murder of school teacher John Kenny had been planning on leaving the country.

A special court sitting heard that Florin Fitzpatrick (37), a separated father-of-two, had been planning to move to Italy at the end of the month.

Fitzpatrick had lived in the country for the past 10 years but his relationship with his Irish partner broke down five years ago.

Fitzpatrick, formerly of The Green, College Road in Galway, has been charged with withholding information in connection to the garda investigation into the death of Mr Kenny, a teacher and part-time publican.



PASSPORT

As he was led from the court an emotional crowd shouted abuse, calling him 'scumbag'.

Det Sgt Tom Molloy of Salthill Garda Station told the court that when charged, Fitzpatrick replied: "No."

He was denied bail at Galway District Court after gardai said that they believed he was a flight risk. "I believe he would not remain in the country to face charges," said Det Sgt Tom Molloy.

He added that Fitzpatrick had two passports which gardai knew of, an Irish passport and an expired Romanian passport, both now held by gardai. "We do not believe he has any ties to this country," he added.

"He's separated from his partner and while he has two children, we understand he is separated from them."

The court also heard that Fitzpatrick no longer had a place to live in the city.

He was informed by gardai that while in custody his rented room had been cleared out and his clothes were removed.

"The comment he made to me was that he didn't believe he had a home," said Det Sgt Molloy.

Fitzpatrick had also lost his job as a security guard at Galway bus station, where he had worked for the past seven years, as a result of his arrest, the court heard. It also emerged that Fitzpatrick had been planning to leave the country.

Det Sgt Molloy gave evidence that Fitzpatrick's girlfriend believed he was leaving Ireland at the end of the month.

"His girlfriend's statement informed us that his intention was to move to Italy perhaps towards the latter stages of this month," he said.

Fitzpatrick is currently facing one charge but gardai objected to bail stating the seriousness of the charge and that further more serious charges may follow.

The Romanian is charged with withholding information from gardai between September 25 and October 1 last, which he knew or believed might be of assistance in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any other person, in relation to the unlawful death of Mr Kenny, at his pub at Main Street, Oughterard.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

The court heard that Fitzpatrick had no previous convictions or bench warrants against him.



LANDLORD

His defence counsel Valerie Corcoran said Fitzpatrick has two children with his former partner and he continues to pay maintenance. She added that gardai had seized Fitzpatrick's phone and he had been unable to make contact with his landlord.

She suggested that Fitzpatrick losing his rented accommodation was a "result of recurrent attendance of gardai at this address" in the days before his arrest.

Judge Mary Fahy refused bail stating that with no residence and no employment he did not have enough ties to the country.

"I'm not sure how often he sees his children, I'm not sure if it's enough to keep him in the country. I do think that he is a flight risk," she added.

She remanded the accused in custody to appear before Harristown District Court next Friday, October 7.

hnews@herald.ie