Tuesday 21 November 2017

Gerry's partner Melanie 'totally traumatised' by inquest verdict

Anne-Marie Walsh

GERRY Ryan's grieving partner Melanie Verwoerd was "totally traumatised" following the shock inquest revelation that his death was triggered by cocaine.

The sad details of the broadcaster's final hours heard at his inquest last week took their toll on the UNICEF director at the weekend.

Her spokesperson yesterday said she was traumatised, "not in a fit state to talk", and "needed space".

Ms Verwoerd was visibly shaken when it emerged that Mr Ryan had used cocaine before his death, at Dublin Coroner's Court. In a statement afterwards, she told how she and Mr Ryan, who was 53 when he died, had an understanding that drugs were out of the question from the start of their relationship.

"Gerry knew how strongly I felt against drugs and had made me a promise at the beginning of our relationship that he would not use any drugs," she said.

"As far as I know that is a promise he kept for two years and until the night of his death."

In her previous role as South African Ambassador to Ireland, Ms Verwoerd often spoke of the scourge of drug use in her native country.

She said that drug smugglers had given her country a bad name.

Speaking in 2002, she said that she was deeply concerned about the extent of 'dagga' (cannabis) smuggling by South Africans into Ireland, after a string of drug busts.

"We're extremely worried," she said.

"South Africans are being lured with the promise of cheap, quick and easy money.

"Gardai have appealed to us and we are working with them. But there's very little we can do."

She said South Africans had called her embassy for help, but consular officials could not interfere in the country's judicial process.

Irish Independent

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