Monday 24 July 2017

Focus on dealer calls in Katy death probe

Gardai step up investigation in wake of drug conviction

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

THE investigation into the death of Katy French following a suspected overdose is focusing on a series of mobile phone calls between the socialite pal who rushed her to hospital and a drug dealer.

Gardai are investigating calls from Kieron Ducie's mobile phone to the man who is suspected of supplying the model with the €200 cocaine deal that led to her collapse.

One call was made from Mr Ducie's phone at 11.45pm, half an hour before Ms French stopped off at the Statoil garage in Clonee, where she is believed to have collected the cocaine before calling to visit Mr Ducie's girlfriend in Kilmessan, Co Meath.

Another call to the drug dealer was made from Mr Ducie's phone the following morning, shortly after 10am, as he rushed the seriously ill model to hospital in Navan in the back of his jeep.

The telephone exchanges are being examined by gardai as part of their inquiries into the model's death on December 6, 2007, four days after she collapsed in Mr Ducie's home. Ms French suffered numerous seizures and fell into a coma at Our Lady's Hospital. She died four days later surrounded by her family.

A post-mortem found she died of irreversible brain damage and traces of cocaine were found in her system. Ms French was one of Ireland's most successful and provocative models at the time of her death, having featured in reality television shows and made headlines with outspoken interviews.

Mr Ducie, 40, who worked for his family's trucking business, and his girlfriend, Ann Corcoran, were recent additions to her social circle.

Her family asked gardai to investigate the events leading to her collapse and Mr Ducie and his girlfriend were among four people arrested and questioned. They were released without charge.

Russell Memery pleaded guilty last Thursday to a drugs charge at Trim Circuit Court. He admitted that between 11pm on December 1, 2007, and 3am on December 3, 2007, at the Statoil service station, Bracestown, Clonee, Co Meath, he conspired with persons not before the court to possess this cocaine.

This weekend, Mr Ducie said he did not know Memery and declined to comment on the case. But in the past he has claimed that he was vilified after the model collapsed in his home. He has given numerous interviews and was one of the main contributors to a book chronicling the model's last days, which he said were an effort to correct the record.

He denied that he organised drugs for Ms French, or that she took drugs in his house. He has dismissed speculation that he delayed bringing Ms French to hospital to clean up after an all-night drugs binge.

The garda investigation centred on establishing the model's last movements, what drugs she had taken, who supplied them and whether there was an undue delay in bringing the model to hospital after she collapsed early that Sunday morning.

She had celebrated her 24th birthday days before at Krystle nightclub.

On the eve of her collapse, she spent the day working on a photo shoot and spent the evening with her mother, Janet, and her sister, Jill.

She left at 11.30pm, stopped off at a Statoil garage in Clonee, Co Meath, where it is believed she picked up the deal that is thought to have caused her collapse. Throughout that time, she was in regular contact with both Mr Ducie and his girlfriend. Mr Ducie wasn't home -- he was in Lillies Bordello and later at a party in Swords. But Ms French drank champagne with Ms Corcoran into the early hours.

In a book purporting to chronicle the last days of Ms French, Mr Ducie claimed that he arrived home at 6.45am. They stayed up for another couple of hours and Ms French eventually went to bed after 9am. Fifteen minutes later, they heard a crash as she fell to the floor.

They did not delay before putting her into the jeep and rushing her to hospital. Mr Ducie said he did not dial 999 because he lived 20 minutes from the hospital and it was quicker to drive.

He claimed that during the panicked drive to the hospital he accidentally dialled a friend's number as he rushed the model to hospital, but hung up and went on to dial the emergency services. Ms French was admitted to hospital at 10.12am. She had lost consciousness and was placed on a ventilator and died four days later.

Sunday Independent

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