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Friday 22 August 2014

Model's family: 'We can't forgive them for failing Katy when she was in trouble'

Louise Hogan and Breda Heffernan

Published 20/02/2013 | 04:00

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Parents Janet and John French and Katy's sister Jill leaving Trim District Court yesterday for the sentencing of Kieron Ducie and Ann Corcoran Picture Colin Keegan, Collins, Dublin.
Janet and John French, parents and Jill, sister of Katie French pictured leaving Trim District Court yesterday for the sentencing of Kieron Ducie and Ann Corcoran Picture Colin Keegan, Collins, Dublin.

THE family of tragic model Katy French say a host of unanswered questions remain about her death.

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And they claim they "cannot" and "will not forgive" the two people whose house she was in when she collapsed.

After a five-year wait, Katy's parents John and Janet French, and her sister Jill, revealed they were "saddened" and "really angry" after more serious charges following the loss of life of the glamourous blonde socialite were dropped.

Her mother Janet said they "question" and feel unable to "forgive" Kieron Ducie and Ann Corcoran for their failure to call an ambulance after they admitted finding the 24-year-old model in difficulties at their home.

"We are left now without a full picture of what happened and many questions still need to be answered," said Ms French.

Explanation

Among the many questions left unanswered for her parents include an almost two-hour time gap in the period between when the model was discovered "rigid" and "bouncing" on the floor and was brought to hospital in Ducie's car.

They say it is still not known why Ducie didn't first check with the emergency services to find out how long it would take for an ambulance to arrive, before driving her to hospital.

And they said there had been no explanation as to why Ducie and Corcoran repeatedly changed their stories about what had happened.

Further details of what transpired in the hours before Ms French was brought in the back of a car to the A&E ward in Navan emerged in court as two former acquaintances – Ducie (43) and his former partner Corcoran (32) – of the model were yesterday sentenced for helping to procure cocaine that weekend.

Ducie and Corcoran were both spared jail as they appeared before Trim Circuit Court, where they previously pleaded guilty to procuring another man, Russell Memery, to possess cocaine for the purpose of sale or supply between 6pm on Saturday, December 1, 2007, and 10am the following day.

Memery, with an address at Yellow Clay Manor, Navan, was previously given a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence after pleading guilty to having conspired to possess cocaine for the purpose of sale or supply.

Lorry driver Ducie, who now lives at the house in Kilmessan with his partner Elaine Buggle and two young children, stood as he was handed a two-and-a-half year jail term and accountancy firm secretary Corcoran received a two-year sentence, both suspended on bonds of good behaviour.

Ms French died in hospital on December 6, 2007, four days after she was brought from their house in Lambertstown Manor, Kilmessan, Co Meath, to the A&E in an unresponsive state.

A post-mortem examination by State Pathologist Marie Cassidy revealed she suffered brain damage brought about by ingestion of cocaine.

A second charge, that the pair intentionally or recklessly engaged in conduct which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to Ms French, was recently dropped.

Outside the court, her family said they had been left angry the charge did not proceed and did not feel justice had been served.

Delivering the suspended sentences, Judge Michael O'Shea said it would be inhuman of him not to comment on the case, stressing that the young model had "her whole life ahead" of her and it was a tragic "cross" for her family to carry.

The court heard evidence Ms French had texted Ducie seeking to call to their home, and also for him to arrange cocaine. She paid another man – Memery – €200 for the cocaine after midnight at a garage forecourt.

Thump

Ms French was put to bed at around 8am when Ducie arrived home from nightclubbing in Dublin after she had stayed up all night with Corcoran. They then heard a loud thump and discovered Ms on the floor, with her "eyes bulging", at around 8.30am.

But the court heard emergency services were not called until 10.05am and Ms French arrived at Navan hospital in the back of Ducie's car at 10.12am.

Mobile phone evidence revealed Ducie called Memery before 10am and then continued to call him until 1pm as medics worked on Ms French.

Counsel for Corcoran, Patrick Marrinan SC, said it had been suggested that consumption of cocaine was not unknown for Ms French.

It was stressed Corcoran had only acted as a "conduit of information"; whilst counsel for Ducie pointed out the contact seeking drugs had come from the model, who was an adult.

Irish Independent

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