French family "saddened and really angry"
on 19/02/2013 17:18:29
Two acquaintances of the 24 year-old have been given suspended sentences for drug offences on the weekend she collapsed.
Forty-three-year-old Kieron Ducie of Lambertstown Manor, Kilmessan, Co Meath, and 32-year-old Ann Corcoran of Tolka Road, Clonliffe Road pleaded guilty to procuring another man to possess drugs in December, 2007.
Speaking outside Trim Circuit Criminal Court, the French family said they had been silent for five years to protect the criminal process, but felt that justice had not been done.
Katy's mother Janet said they had been left with more questions than answers.
"Kieron Ducie and Ann Corcoran's plea of guilty is the first time they've ackowledged their involvement," she said. "We are saddened and we're really angry."
"For five years we have been silent," said Mr French outside Trim Circuit Court. "For five years we watched Katy being slandered, torn apart, being used as the flagship for drug taking.
"She wasn't on a binge drink. That came out in the court and I think now is the time to let her rest."
Katy's sister Jill said the family still did not understand how she died.
"There were only traces of a minute amount of cocaine (in Katy's body) - 0.8 milligrams to be precise," she said.
"This means that Katy has 0.1% of the amount considered to be fatal, yet somehow this resulted in her death."
Katy died in hospital on December 6 2007, four days after she had a fit at the former couple's house in Lambertstown Manor, Kilmessan, Co Meath.
The Swiss-born model suffered brain damage days after celebrating her birthday. Tests revealed half a glass of wine and 0.8mg of cocaine in her system along with traces of antibiotics for a kidney infection, cough medicine and contraceptives, according to her family.
The court heard there was a 90-minute gap between when Ducie and Corcoran said they found the model - face down on a bedroom floor, fitting, with her head back and arms and legs outstretched - and arriving at a nearby hospital, where staff were told she had been drinking but not seen taking drugs.
Ducie, 43, who lives in the property with his new partner and two children and Corcoran, 32, who lives with her parents on Clonliffe Road, Dublin, later pleaded guilty to procuring another man - Russell Memery - to possess cocaine which was sold to the socialite at a garage forecourt.
A second charge, that the pair intentionally or recklessly engaged in conduct which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to Ms French, was recently dropped.
The court was told Ducie texted Ms French at 10pm on Saturday, December 1, asking if she was going out and she replied an hour later saying she wanted to visit Corcoran, who was home alone, and asking if he could arrange to get her some cocaine.
Superintendent Michael Devine, of Navan Garda Station, said Ducie contacted Memery and then Corcoran, who arranged for Memery to meet Ms French at a Statoil service station at Clonee where she bought 200 euro worth of cocaine shortly after midnight.
In garda interviews the pair said Ducie had been out socialising until 6am while Ms French sat up drinking Champagne and vodka and chatting with Corcoran until 8am, when they all went to bed.
According to the former couple, they heard a bang at about 8.30am from the downstairs room where Ms French was found having a fit.
But the court heard emergency services were not called until 10.05am and Ms French arrived at Navan hospital in the back of Ducie's jeep at 10.12am.
Mobile phone evidence revealed Ducie called Memery before 10am and several times that morning while medics worked to save the model's life.
In May 2010 Memery, who had been living at Yellow Clay Manor in Navan, was given a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence after admitting to conspiring with others to possess cocaine for sale or supply on the weekend Ms French took ill.
Inhuman not to comment on tragedy
Judge Michael O'Shea said it would be inhuman of him not to comment on the tragic case adding: "Her family will carry this cross for the rest of their life."
Corcoran, a secretary in an accountancy firm, is engaged and put her wedding plans on hold until after the case which "has been hanging over her", her lawyer Patrick Marrinan, senior counsel, said.
Corcoran had no previous conviction while Ducie, a lorry driver in his father's scrap business, has minor road traffic and public order offences which were all committed since 2007, as well as a conviction for assaulting his partner Elaine Buggle when she was pregnant.
Born in Switzerland, Ms French and her family moved to Ireland when she was a young girl and settled in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.
Outside the court, Ms French's sister Jill added: "She was a part of every single one of us. So we have all been living without a part of ourselves and without her."