Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Open verdict at model Irish model Katy French inquest after statements changed

By Louise Hogan

Published 17/07/2013

Katy French died just a week after her 24th birthday
Katy French died just a week after her 24th birthday
Katy French's 24th birthday party
Katy French died just a week after her 24th birthday
Katy French died in hospital four days after she slipped into a coma in December 2007
Jill French: sister of model Katy French

The coroner at the inquest into the death of Irish model Katy French has returned an open verdict after two key witnesses changed their statements.

Kieron Ducie and Ann Corcoran both told the inquest in Trim, Co Meath, that they wanted to alter the crucial timing in relation to when they became aware that the 24-year-old model was ill.

Both initially told gardai and nurses in Navan hospital that Ms French had a seizure around 8.15am on December 2, 2007.

However, yesterday they told an inquest into her death that they cannot be sure what time it was.

Ms French died on December 6, 2007 – several days after being admitted to Our Lady's Hospital in Navan.

Earlier this year the two friends of Ms French received suspended sentences for a drugs offence on the weekend she collapsed at their home.

Mr Ducie (43) and Ms Corcoran (32) pleaded guilty to procuring another man – Russell Memery – to possess cocaine for the purpose of sale or supply at an unknown location between 6pm on Saturday, December 1, 2007, and 10am the following day.

Mr Ducie received a two-and-a-half year sentence suspended on a bond of good behaviour for three years.

Ms Corcoran's sentence of two years was also suspended on a bond of good behaviour for two years.

Speaking outside the courthouse, the French family said they were pleased with the open verdict.

Giving evidence, State Pathologist Marie Cassidy earlier said the level of cocaine found in Ms French was not particularly high or excessive.

The cause of death was given as hypoxic ischemic brain injury – when the brain was starved of oxygen – due to cocaine and ephedrine, a substance she said can be mistaken for ecstasy.

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