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Saturday 18 November 2017

Gardai insist they have no grounds for criminal probe

Tom Brady and  Anne-Marie Walsh

THE identity of the criminal who supplied the cocaine which helped trigger broadcaster Gerry Ryan's death may never be known.

Gardai again insisted last night there were no grounds for opening a criminal investigation into Mr Ryan's death.

Officers said that if they had information or evidence that warranted an investigation immediately after his death, it would have been initiated and they would have sought an adjournment of the inquest pending its conclusion.

But the absence of a suspect for supplying the cocaine, or a specific complaint about his death, meant that any inquiry then or now would not be meaningful, they said.

In the hours after his death at his apartment in Leeson Street, Dublin, on April 30 last, gardai made routine inquiries as part of a file to be sent to Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian Farrell for an inquest.

These included a search of the apartment to establish if there had been any sign of a forced entry or any evidence that might have indicated suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

But no evidence was found.

Gardai took statements from Mr Ryan's girlfriend, Melanie Verwoerd, and a number of his close friends in an attempt to establish his movements during his final hours.

An examination of Mr Ryan's phone records was also carried out and these did not produce any unusual names.

The toxicology tests ordered by the pathologist confirmed traces of cocaine as well as a number of other substances including alcohol in his body.

But nothing emerged from the inquiries to indicate whether Mr Ryan had purchased the drug directly from a supplier or had been given it by a friend.

A former close RTE colleague of Mr Ryan, Gareth O'Callaghan, last night said gardai should launch an investigation into the dealers who supplied the drugs that contributed to his death.

"He didn't just stumble on a supplier over a weekend in a nightclub in Dublin. These were trustworthy suppliers and he would have been brought into a very inner sanctum."

Meanwhile, a leading consultant described cocaine as the "single greatest threat to the Irish State".

Chris Luke, consultant in emergency medicine at Cork University Hospital, said gangland murders, sudden celebrity deaths, numerous deaths reported to coroners' courts and the economic crisis were all driven by cocaine.

Irish Independent

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