Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Gay man’s brutal killer slits wrists in court cellblock

A Lithuanian immigrant tried to cut his own wrists after being taken down from the dock after being jailed for 20 years for the horrific homophobic murder of Shaun Fitzpatrick.

Andrius Dunauskas had just been sentenced along with fellow killer Ramunas Balseris when he jumped to his feet in the dock of Belfast Crown Court, shouting and pointing his finger at Mr Justice Hart.

Prison staff had to wrestle the 23-year-old former martial arts trainee to the ground after he refused to be handcuffed, before dragging him off to the cells.

While in the cells he cut himself with a razor blade and was taken to hospital for treatment before being taken back to Maghaberry prison.

The Prison Service said he had been fully searched before leaving prison.

The Dungannon Crown Court judge, sitting in Belfast, had just told he and Balseris (26) he would recommended their deportation after they'd served at least 20 years of their life sentences.

The pair, Dunauskas of Lisnahull Road and Balseris of Altmore Drive, Dungannon, were convicted in March of murdering the supermarket boss, beaten so badly paramedics thought he'd been shot in the head.

They ambushed the “inoffensive” shop manager simply because he was gay, initially felling him with a high karate kick to the head, before dragging him up an alleyway and subjecting him to “vicious and prolonged attack”.

Later both blamed each other for the murder in the the early hours of March 23, 2008.

Mr Justice Hart said he would not “distinguish between them”, and while Dunauskas may have been the main attacker, the fact Balseris had stood by smoking, was “chilling evidence of his callous disregard for their victim”.

He also told them there were no substantial mitigating factors given “the ferocity of the attack and the number of injuries” which established they intended not just to inflict GBH, but “to kill”.

Mr Justice Hart said the effect on 32-year-old Mr Fitzpatrick's family was also a “significant aggravating factor”, as was the fact he had been “in a vulnerable position when attacked”.

“He was outnumbered two to one by two well-built, powerful young men” who carried out what was “clearly a pre-meditated attack” which took place “at two distinct locations”.

Mr Fitzpatrick's body was found after a drunken Dunauskas flagged down a passing motorist on the pretext of seeking help for an injured friend.

However, Balseris, who gave himself up to police the following day, claimed when they saw Fitzpatrick, Dunauskas said he was gay and that he didn't like gays.

He then lashed out at him with a martial arts-type kick.

Their trial also heard Mr Fitzpatrick was “so covered in blood, injured and badly beaten that the paramedics checked in case he had been shot in the head”.

A post-mortum later revealed he had “52 sites of injury” to his head, neck upper chest and body, and some patterned bruising probably from stamping with the sole of a shoe.

He had a broken nose and two broken teeth, the bones in the neck were fractured and there were fractures in his voice box; there was also bruising to his upper chest, fractured ribs, and injuries to the back of the head.

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