Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Partner's pain at drug-linked death

Gerry Ryan's partner Melanie Verwoerd leaves the inquest into his death at Dublin Coroner's Court

The partner of the late broadcaster Gerry Ryan has spoken of her heartache at discovering his death was linked to cocaine after he promised to stay away from drugs.

Melanie Verwoerd said a difficult day had been made all the harder by the revelations that trace elements of cocaine were found in the 53-year-old's system.

The Unicef Ireland chief told his inquest that cocaine was never an issue in their two-year relationship. And she said she warned the broadcaster the relationship would be over if he became involved with drugs.

"I made it clear I would be out the door," she said. "As far as I'm concerned Gerry kept that promise to me until the night of his death."

The RTE 2FM broadcaster began his two-year relationship with Ms Verwoerd after splitting from wife Morah, with whom he had five children - Lottie, Rex, Bonnie, Elliott and Babs.

A grief-stricken Ms Verwoerd cried in Dublin City Coroner's Court as she heard toxicology tests found Mr Ryan had traces of cocaine in his system, which showed recent use, and moderate levels of alcohol.

After the inquest a statement from Ms Verwoerd said she could never find the words to describe the pain of listening to the post-mortem report.

"This pain was made all the harder by the result of the autopsy and toxicology report, which came as a huge shock to me," she wrote.

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

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