Sunday 21 January 2018

I wasn't taking cocaine and test will prove it, says disgraced DJ

Neil Prendeville at home in Douglas, Co Cork yesterday
Neil Prendeville at home in Douglas, Co Cork yesterday
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THE radio star who engaged in a sex act on an Aer Lingus flight has taken a toxicology test to prove that he was not using illegal drugs at the time.

The star of UTV's Cork 96FM radio station, Neil Prendeville (49), also revealed that he is now seeking counselling to deal with the maelstrom that erupted over the revelations about his behaviour on the Heathrow-Cork flight on October 19.

Gardai are now investigating complaints that the father-of-two exposed himself and then masturbated in front of passengers and crew.

He has insisted he had absolutely no recollection of events on the flight because of a combination of alcohol and pain-killers taken for a neck injury.

Mr Prendeville -- who admitted he felt suicidal in the aftermath of the media coverage of the incident -- has now returned to his Douglas home in Co Cork.

He is set for a crunch meeting with UTV and 96FM bosses this week as he fights to salvage his career from the controversy.

Yesterday, in an interview with a Cork newspaper, Mr Prendeville described the past few days as a "total nightmare".

He now hopes that a special toxicology test will help him scotch damaging rumours that he was using cocaine at the time of the incident on the Aer Lingus flight.


"People are saying I was on cocaine -- this will prove that I have never taken any drugs. I need to prove that that is not the case," he said.

The test -- the results of which could be available next week -- is capable of determining any traces of specific substances in the human system dating back over the previous three months.

"It is all very upsetting because it is not true -- I have never taken cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, nothing," he said.

Mr Prendeville is expected to be invited to attend Togher garda station over the next three weeks to make a statement.

Gardai have interviewed the two passengers seated beside him -- and hope to speak to between six and 12 passengers seated in the rows behind him.

Yesterday, Mr Prendeville said all he wanted was for his life to return to normal.

"I yearn for things to be the way they were -- the children have been very good. I hope that they will be okay and I hope that people will be kind to them," he said.

His teenage son and daughter yesterday returned to school after having spent several days with Mr Prendeville, and his wife, Paula, at a friend's house in Wicklow.

"It was a pretty good life -- and it is pretty sad to have messed all that up," he said.

The broadcaster -- who earns more than €150,000 a year from 96FM -- also revealed that he would not contest any action that might be taken against him over the in-flight incident.

Irish Independent

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