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Sunday 21 September 2014

Family leave inquest with 'questions unanswered'

Published 17/07/2013 | 05:00

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THE heartbroken family of tragic model Katy French say they have been left with many unanswered questions and that "gaps" remain in the evidence of the last people to see her alive.

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Her mother Janet, father John and sister Jill believe they still have not been told exactly what happened in the hours before she was taken to A&E in Navan after collapsing at a house in Lambertstown Manor, Kilmessan, Co Meath.

"There are still a lot of unanswered questions, particularly about what happened before Katy was brought to the hospital," said Janet French, after the coroner returned an open verdict on the model's death, which was caused by oxygen starvation to her brain due to cocaine and ephedrine.

Kieron Ducie (43), who has a number of convictions, including for assault, refused to comment as he left the courthouse in Trim, after he and his then girlfriend, Ann Corcoran (32), had both told the inquest they wanted to alter the crucial timing in relation to when they became aware that the 24-year-old model was ill.

Janet French was highly critical of their evidence, describing "many gaps" in their accounts.

Earlier this year, former couple Ducie and Corcoran were handed (respectively) two-and-a-half and two-year suspended sentences for arranging with another man to supply cocaine on the weekend that Ms French collapsed at their home.

A second charge of endangerment for allegedly failing to obtain medical assistance in a timely fashion was dropped.

The late model's father, John, said he called the gardai after A&E consultant John McDonnell had informed him that the stories being told to staff by Ducie kept changing and that Katy had arrived at the hospital blue and effectively dead.

In particular, he had concerns over what he perceived as a "delay" in bringing her in.

Ducie admitted he was intoxicated and had consumed 1.5 litres of vodka in the hours before he brought Ms French to Our Lady's Hospital, Navan, in a collapsed and unconscious state, just after 10am on December 2, 2007.

Both Ducie and Corcoran denied there was a 90-minute time gap between when they found the model collapsed on a bedroom floor and when she arrived at A&E in his jeep.

Both of them told the coroner John Lacy that they had got the times wrong in their initial statements to gardai at the time.

Ducie yesterday said it took them around 10 to 15 minutes to get her to hospital and that they brought her immediately after she had collapsed.

"There was nothing wrong with her before that. She went to bed," he stated. Staff in the A&E were told she had been drinking a cocktail of champagne, vodka and Red Bull and had not been seen taking drugs.

Ms French died in hospital on December 6, 2007.

Irish Independent

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