FOR a woman whose every second day was marked by photocalls and chronicled obsessively by the social diarists, the lack of detail about Katy French’s movements in the 48 hours that followed her 24th birthday party is quite remarkable.
The priority of the Garda investigation into her subsequent death will be to establish where she was – and whom she was with.
Katy arrived at her party at 10pm in a Rolls Royce loaned to her by multi-millionaire car dealer Lee Cullen’s firm Exclusive Cars, which is part of LC Autolink Ltd. By around 2.30am, the party was effectively over – although Katy was still in the club at least until 3am. She didn’t drink any alcohol at the party, telling journalists that she had some kidney complaint and that she was on antibiotics. Despite her kidney problem – and the cold her boss would later say had been affecting her – she remained in very high sprits throughout her time in the club. After the party, journalist Brendan O’Connor – who had become increasingly close to the model in recent months and who had been very noticably by her side at her party the night before – says she was singing Leonard Cohen songs, in particular Tower of Song.
She is then known to have continued the party in a suite at the Westbury Hotel, off Grafton Street with friends.
After rising on Friday and making her way out into Grafton Street, her exact movements are unclear. At some stage in the afternoon, she spoke on the phone to journalist Ken Sweeney. O’Connor says he spent ‘most of Friday’ with the model, and that she cooked him a lunch of spagetti and tea and buscuits at her Citywest appartment, when he says he turned up to interview her about her life story. Of her appearance during the interview, O’Connor said she looked ‘looked so sweet and innocent . . . like a happy little kid.’ and ‘immaculate’. After the interview, he also says Katy then drove him to his home in Dublin. O’Connor and Katy – according to him – chatted in her car and played Leonard Cohen songs for some time before he said good-bye to her.
It is not known if O’Connor discussed the coverage of her birthday by a journalist from the Evening Herald – a tabloid owned by his bosses at Independent News & Media. The p3 article – headlined ‘Uh-oh Katy, is that dreaded cellulite we can see?’ carried with it a close up of the underside of her left thigh as she sat in the Rolls that dropped her off at her party. The article remarked on the caliber of her guests – which had included just two models from her own agency, Assets – Sarah Kavanagh and Michelle McGrath. ‘Rather than the A-List glitterati anticipated, those who joined in the fun were more local-list’, it said. Adding that ‘despite the less than A-list turnout’, Katy ‘had a blast’.
That Katy eventually ended up in Robbie Fox’s nightclub Renards that night has been discounted by a number of sources, including her boss at the Dublin-based Assets agency. That said, she had been expected to attend ‘an event’ in Dublin’s city centre that night and it is believed to have been an event at Renards.
Mags Humphries has insisted: ‘She was not in any nightclubs over the weekend. There have been claims she was on a three-day coke binge but I do not believe she was. She had a cold. She was a bit under the weather.’
Last night, a Dublin club source claimed she was in Navan’s Palace nightclub from around 11.30pm on Friday till about 2am on Saturday. This has also been strenuously denied. She is also believed to have gone for a drink in Meath. Despite the fact that Gardai investigating her last movements appear convinced she was in Meath for much of the last 72 hours of her life, varying accounts suggest otherwise.
Saturday 3pm – Dundrum Shopping Centre.
At some stage in the day, she drove to Dundrum. According to O’Connor, who was in regular contact with her during the days leading up to her collapse, says Katy had been playing Leonard Cohen songs in the car for friend and fellow model, Andrea Roche. O’Connor says: ‘Funny thing, driving to Dundrum that Saturday between filming and messing, Katy was playing Leonard Cohen songs for Andrea.’
Despite repeated claims that she was upset about an article that had appeared in the Irish Daily Mail, O’Conner would later say: ‘On Saturday, despite the article, and despite being angry about man troubles, Katy was in great form.’ And he added: ‘Katy and Andrea had both been gushing about what a great day it had been. They had had such a laugh. They sounded like two kids running around messing.’Roche says the pair had met to work ’a pilot TV programme’ about modeling. Despite remarks by the passerby, Roche insists Katy was ‘in great form’ and ‘very optimistic’. A member of the public would, however, says he saw Katy propped against a bench, talking on her mobile, in a ‘dishevelled state’ in Dundrum Shopping Centre at around 3pm. He said: ‘She caught my eye not because she was stunning but because she looked awful. I had to look twice before I knew who she was. She looked like she should have been in hospital. She looked ill.’Saturday 6pm – she returns home to her mother’s house.
Late Saturday afternoon, and around the time she was either on her way to or had just arrived at her mother’s house, she had a phone conversation with PR boss Tara O’Connor, the organiser of her party. Miss O’Connor says she ‘was absolutely great’ and sounded ‘normal’. A few hours later, she is believed to have called Kieron Ducie and his partner, Ann Corcoran, and asked if she could call to their house in Kilmessan, Co. Meath. During the evening, she texted O’Connor and – he says – told him ‘she was in the mood to do something, maybe go for a drink’. At the time, he had just appeared as a guest on RTE presenter Ryan Tubridy’s Tubridy Tonight chatshow. She had seen him and had texted him to tell him how good she had thought he had been.
Saturday 11pm – said to have left mother’s house.
Sunday 1am- 1.30am – possible arrival time in Kilmessan.
However, she does not appear to have arrived in the Kilmessan house – where a number of people are believed to have been present – until past midnight, possibly around 1-1.30am. Kieron Ducie himself is known to have left Cocoon – where he is a regular – at around 1.30am. Some reports suggest he didn’t arrive home until about four hours later.
Sunday 3.15am – reports of first collapse.
Early reports suggested that an ‘erratic’ Katy had first collapsed at around 3.15am and was taken to hospital by ambulance shortly afterwards. However, Gardai have so far being told that she drank champagne and sat chatting to Corcoran until Ducie came back She had apparently wanted to drive back to Dublin but was persuaded to stay the night and have some sleep in an upstairs room first. What is confusing most people is that while she appears to have later fallen out of a bed onto the floor of an upstairs room, she does not appear to have been taken to hospital straight away.
Sunday 10am – arrives in hospital in a jeep. Sunday noon – due to attend Sunday lunch.
According to Andrea Roche, Katy had told her on Saturday she was ‘looking forward’ to ‘making’ a family lunch to celebrate her Aunt’s birthday.