Pair guilty of Dungannon murder

Published Thursday, 11 March 2010
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Two Lithuanian men have been jailed for life after being convicted of murdering supermarket boss Shaun Fitzpatrick during a "homophobic hate attack" two years ago.

It took the Dungannon Crown Court jury of nine men and three women just one hour and ten minutes at the end of the three week trial to unanimously convict Andrius Dunauskas, 23, and Ramunas Balseris, aged 26.

While they showed no emotion, Mr Fitzpatrick's sister Stacy McNally wept at the guilty verdicts and was comforted by her father Bill.

'Nightmare'

Outside the court, the family said they pray that "these evil men never walk the streets of Northern Ireland again, because our Shaun won't".

Mr Fitzpatrick's sister said that life for them "changed forever" on 23 March 2008, the day the 32-year-old Spar manager was "brutally murdered".

Mr Fitzpatrick, who made no secret of being gay, was so badly beaten, with 52 separate injuries, it was initially thought he may have been shot when found in an alleyway off Dungannon's Donaghmore Road.

Tracy described her brother as "a loving son, a great brother, wonderful uncle, fun loving, hard working, soft hearted, kind and inoffensive", and said that when he died "part of us died with him".

Thanking all those who supported them through "this nightmare," the family declared that the jury had reached "the right verdict".

Trial judge Mr Justice Hart told Dunauskas, of Lisnahull Road, Balseris of Altmore Drive, in the Co Tyrone town that the law permitted only one sentence for murder, and that was life imprisonment, although next month he will determine the minimum sentence they must serve of that life term.

Mr Justice Hart also thanked the jury for their deliberations in the case, which he added must have been "an unpleasant experience" for them at times.

By their verdicts the jury rejected the blame-game played by both Dunauskas and Balseris in accusing each other of the "brutal and sustained assault" which led to Mr Fitzpatrick's death.

Instead they accepted the prosecution case that the murder was carried out by both men for one reason and one reason only, "that Shaun Fitzpatrick was gay", and that he was the victim of "a homosexual hate attack".

Speaking after the pair were convicted Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Superintendent David McConville paid tribute to Shaun's family.

"Having lost a much loved son and brother they have shown remarkable dignity throughout this harrowing ordeal. I thank them for their support and confidence in the police investigation", Mr McConville said.

"Shaun was a well liked young man, and died as a result of an horrific attack while walking home from a night out."

"Anyone who attacks vulnerable individuals, will be rigorously pursued by police, and brought to justice."

© UTV News
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4 Comments
Tommy Atkins in London, England wrote (1,497 days ago):
No Seamus ! Make them serve their time where the crime was commited. Why give them the chance of being close to and receive visits from their families in their own country. Their victim (RIP) can no longer see his family
Seamus M in Belfast wrote (1,497 days ago):
I would hope that when these pair are eventually released that they are deported back to their own country and barred from entering the UK again. This island has experienced enough hatred without importing it.
Tommy Atkins in London, England wrote (1,497 days ago):
Perhaps like other N Ireland murderers he will be released under licence.
pete in cookstown wrote (1,498 days ago):
they will probably only get a couple of years unfortunately
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