Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Stephen Gately's husband found body says family

Stephen Gately

Singer Stephen Gately's husband was the person who found his body early on Saturday afternoon, the tragic Boyzone star's family insisted last night.

Bulgarian Georgi Dochev — a friend of Stephen's (33) and his partner, Andrew Cowles (32) — claimed yesterday he found Stephen dead in the Dubliner's apartment in Majorca.

The three men had been drinking together in the Majorcan capital of Palma in the hours before Stephen died.

After giving police a statement, Mr Dochev (25) said: “I found Stephen dead and I woke his husband. Stephen was white and very cold.”

But Mr Gately's solicitor and family friend, Gerald Kean, last night insisted Mr Cowles was the one who found his husband's body.

The remaining members of Boyzone, led by Ronan Keating, will bring the body of their friend on its final journey back to Dublin in the coming days.

Although the four band members arrived back in Ireland last night, it emerged they were expected to return to Majorca to bring Mr Gately's body back to his family.

The band is now to link up with manager Louis Walsh, who is staying at his apartment in Dublin city centre.

The death continued to spark a media frenzy yesterday, with Mr Kean refuting some of the more lurid speculation about Stephen's death.

He dismissed reports that Stephen had been on an eight-hour drinking session the night before and that police were looking for Mr Dochev in connection with the death.

“He stayed overnight, he was there when the police arrived and they are not looking for him,” Mr Kean said.

“We are not satisfied that it was an eight-hour drinking binge.

“We don't understand where that's coming from at all.”

Mr Kean added he had been speaking to Mr Cowles last night, who told him that Mr Dochev stayed in the spare room of the apartment, and not in the couple's bedroom.

“You will have to ask the husband what has happened,” said Mr Dochev, who is from Sofia.

“It has been very traumatic. I don't want to say anything more.

“I am still nervous and really upset. I almost have not slept since this happened.”

Mr Dochev, who lives in a modest flat on the outskirts of Palma, said he had now given police a full account of events leading up to Stephen's death. He said that Mr Cowles had also spoken fully to detectives.

The Gately family are expected to find out the exact cause of the 33-year-old's death today.

He is believed to have choked after vomiting in his sleep.

The Spanish central government's top representative in the Balearic Islands said yesterday that the exact cause of death should be established quickly following the post-mortem examination.

Ramon Socias, in the first official comment since the tragic accident, said Stephen did not die as a result of violence.

The Gately family are not expected to travel to Majorca and will stay in their home near Sheriff Street in Dublin's north inner city to arrange Stephen’s funeral.

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