Friday 30 January 2015

Katy was beaten up by a male friend, says mum

Breda Heffernan and Louise Hogan

Published 17/07/2013 | 05:00

Katie French's Family, Mother Janet, Dad John and sister Jill pictured after the inquest in to the death of Katie French ,at Trim Court House yesterday
Model Katy French, who died in December 2007
Kieron Ducie arriving at Trim Court House for the inquest into the death of model Katy French
Ann Corcoran pictured as she arrived at Trim Court House before the start of the inquest into the death of Model Katie French
Katy French pictured for Sunday Independent
Katy French and with her former fiance Marcus Sweeney

TRAGIC model Katy French was being beaten up by a male friend, her mother claimed to gardai.

Janet French said Katy spent three days in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin after she had allegedly been beaten across the head several times and kicked in the back and stomach.

Her worried mother later brought Katy to a garda station to make a report. However, the model "didn't want to press charges". No charges were ever brought.

The new information came as the coroner yesterday recorded an open verdict at the inquest in to Katy French's death.

The shocking revelations are contained in Mrs French's statement to gardai, which was made in the wake of her daughter's death in December 2007. She also claimed that there had been other incidents of violence against Katy. However, no one was ever charged in relation to these either.

A series of statements made to gardai following the death of the model reveal the seedy underworld at the heart of Celtic Tiger Ireland, where cocaine use was seemingly widespread.

Katie French a life in pictures
Katie French a life in pictures
In this childhood snap, Katy shows an early affinity for the camera.
Katy French has always been comfortable in front of the camera, as this exclusive picture of her at roughly 10 years old shows.
A star is born: In her first photocall in 2002, Katy's confident nature is apparent as she exposes her bra and flashes her trademark smile.
In they heyday of Irish modelling, a then up-and-coming Katy French is joined by fellow top models Martha Christe and Natasha Byram promoting the National Lottery.
Katy was never shy about showing off her enviable body and unsurprisingly, became the most in-demand bikini photocall model in Ireland at the time. Here, she promotes the then-new Purty Kitchen.
In 2004, she exposes her midriff in a tennis outfit alongside now-model boss Andrea Roche. The two became close friends after working together on the modelling scene for several years.
In March 2005, the blonde bombshell was chosen to model jewellery (worth 20,000) designed by Ali Hewson for charity.
Katie shows her lighter side at a photocall
Katy became close friends with top Irish model and former Miss World Rosanna Davison, and the pair were often spotted together in Krystle nightclub.
In 2007, Katy and Andrea Roche socialised outside of working hours as they attended a friend's wedding in Kenmare, Co. Kerry.
Katie French at the launch of ' Pets are for life not just for Christmas'
Katy French, with Daithi O'Shea and others participating in a survival challange for the People in Need Telethon '07, RTE Studios, Dublin, Ireland
Katie with Scottish Actor Robert Carlyle at the World Premiere of his latest movie "The Mighty Celt" at The Savoy Cinema on the opening night of the Dublin International Film Festival, Dublin, Ireland February 11 2005.
Katy was engaged to businessman Marcus Sweeney which was later broken off before her tragic death.
In August 2007, she was spotted trying on engagement rings in Boodles on Grafton Street.
Katy French at Lillies Bordello, Dublin in 2007
Irish Model Katy French arrivng to be a guest on The Podge Rodge Show, RTE Studios, Dublin, Ireland - 07.04.07.
Well versed in red carpet etiquette at this stage in her career, Katy turned heads in her patterned silk dress at the 2007 TV Now Awards.
Irish Model Katy French promotes that Thursday 13th of September is International Chocolate Day. Chocolate lover Katy is covered in chocolate, thousands of Lindt Lindor love hearts in Cocoon Bar, Hibernian Way, Dublin, Ireland - 11.09.07.
Katy French at the wrap party for the movie "King Arthur" at The Vaults, Dublin, Ireland November 9 2003 with Andrea Roche
Katy poses on the beach in 2003
Katy on one of her early modelling jobs
Katy arrives at Krystle nightclub for her birthday party
Katy on a modelling job for ice skating in Booterstown
Her profile continued to soar on television as well, with an acclaimed appearance on RTE's Podge and Rodge.
Perhaps the most iconic image of Katy - she wears a gold sequinned dress as she celebrated her 24th birthday at Krystle nightclub, just days before she died.
Famed for her incredible figure, it was only fitting that Katy was the model chosen to recreate that infamous tennis poster for the Star on Sunday.
Organisers of her last ever fashion shoot released images of her modelling wedding dresses.
Her close pal and model boss Andrea Roche is pictured visiting Katy in hospital in Navan in 2007, while she was in critical condition following a cocaine overdose.
Models Jenny Lee Masterson, Joanne Denver, Aoife Cogan and Karen Fitzpatrick attend Katy's funeral at St. Patrick's Church, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow.
Katy's closest family members gather at her grave to mark the 2nd anniversary of her death.
A plaque honouring the late model and socialite at St. Patrick's Church.
Kieron Ducie was charged in connection with her death.
Katy's mother Janet and sister Jill French leave the late model's inquest.
Ann Corcoran pictured as she arrived at Trim Court House before the start of the inquest into the death of Model Katie French.
Katie French's family, dad John, mother Janet, and sister Jill pictured after the inquest in to the death of Katie French at Trim Court House

They also show how Katy was in the grips of a cocaine addiction as she struggled with a turbulent personal life – details of which were played out in the full glare of the national media.

Katy's former fiance, restaurateur Marcus Sweeney, told gardai that when they started dating in 2005 she already had a cocaine problem and that it was around this time that he too started taking the drug.

Mr Sweeney told how he began sourcing cocaine for Katy and that the model was using it throughout the week and was a "two day on, one day off" user, whereas he used it as a "social drug" at weekends.

"Katy had no limit when it came to coke, she never wanted to stop, always wanted more," he said, adding that she suffered from palpitations and panic attacks as a result of drug use.

He recalled a night around Christmas 2006 in a room at the Westbury Hotel in Dublin when Katy was "coked out" and she attacked him.

As the model's drug habit worsened, he stopped buying it for her and by the time their relationship ended in February 2007, he had "slowed up" on using cocaine and was concentrating on his business.

He told how their relationship ended when he walked into his restaurant and found Katy lying on a table in the middle of a lingerie shoot.

"After having promised me she wouldn't do this anymore, I had enough. She broke my heart. I was in love with her, but she was intermingling with other men and I had enough."

He described his former fiancee as "hard work" and said that after their break-up, they got back together several times.

However, he ended the relationship for good around two weeks before her 24th birthday party at Krystle nightclub on November 29, 2007.

"I still loved her and would have got back permanently. Katy was seeing Jimmy Mansfield and she was playing me off Jimmy," he added.

Mr Sweeney said he believed "everything came on top" of Katy – the ending of their relationship and her disappointment at her birthday party, which she thought was a disaster – and that on the night she died Katy snorted cocaine "to a point of suicide".

In his statement to gardai, businessman Mr Mansfield said he was in an "off and on" relationship with Katy following her break-up with Mr Sweeney.

However, he did not want to be seen in public with the model, fearing the publicity. Katy wanted a commitment from him, but he was reluctant.

"I never went out publicly with Katy because of the papers and the likelihood that they would begin to associate us together and I didn't want that publicity," he said.

Mrs French told gardai it was around two years before her daughter's death that Katy broke down crying and confided in her that she had been using cocaine and that it was ruining her life.

COCAINE

Katy went to see an addiction counsellor and her mother believed she was drug-free. She believed Katy suffered a relapse because she was feeling down.

"I know...she was down about the press coverage of her (24th birthday) party."

Recording an open verdict at the inquest into her death yesterday, Coroner for Co Meath, John Lacy, issued a stark warning over cocaine use, describing it as a "very dangerous drug".

State Pathologist Marie Cassidy told the inquest Ms French had a "sip" of alcohol in her bloodstream and that a small amount of cocaine was also present.

He said someone who had given up cocaine but then relapsed and used a small amount could suffer "very tragic consequences".

Irish Independent

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