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Shopkeeper so badly beaten ‘paramedics thought he was shot’

By Adrian Rutherford

A man found murdered in an alleyway on Easter Sunday morning was so badly beaten that paramedics thought he had been shot in the head.

Details of Shaun Fitzpatrick’s injuries emerged as two Lithuanian men went on trial accused of the murder.

The shopkeeper’s body was found in an alleyway off the Donaghmore Road in Dungannon on March 23, 2008.

Ramunas Balseris (26) and Andrius Dunauskas (23) both blame each other for the “brutal assault”, Dungannon Crown Court was told.

Balseris and Dunauskas sat motionless in the dock as an interpreter translated proceedings. The jury heard that Mr Fitzpatrick (32) had been drinking at Donaghy’s Bar at William Street in the town at around the same time as the accused.

A witness recalled an altercation where Dunauskas attempted to throw “an air punch” at the deceased, but had been pulled back by two friends.

Mr Fitzpatrick left the bar shortly after 2am.

During interview, Balseris, of Altmore Drive in Dungannon, claimed that while walking home together, Dunauskas had spotted Mr Fitzpatrick ahead.

Balseris told police that Dunauskas, of Lisnahull Road, had said Mr Fitzpatrick was gay, and that “he (Dunauskas) didn’t like gays”.

Dunauskas then allegedly lashed out at the deceased, before repeatedly kicking him. Balseris told police that he took no part in the attack, and had tried to stop it, before leaving. But Dunauskas alleges that Balseris “wanted a fight”.

Dunauskas also admitted punching Mr Fitzpatrick, but claims Balseris kicked the deceased in the head.

Prosecuting QC Stephen Fowler said: “Mr Fitzpatrick was repeatedly and unmercifully beaten around the head.

“His head was so covered in blood that paramedics checked in case he had been shot in the head.”

The case continues.

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Shaun Fitzpatrick was killed as he walked to his flat in the Lisnahull area of Dungannon during the early hours of Easter Sunday in 2008.

The 32-year-old, who worked at the Spar supermarket at Quarry Lane in Dungannon, was described by friends as “a gentle giant”.

Hours before his death, Mr Fitzpatrick had been at Donaghy’s Bar on William Street, where he chatted and danced with friends.

A priest at his funeral described Mr Fitzpatrick as “popular, well-respected and inoffensive. He was a man of peace and goodwill.”

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