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Katy French
Date of birth October 31, 1983(1983-10-31)
Place of birth Basel, Switzerland
Date of death 6 December 2007 (aged 24)
Navan, County Meath

Katy Ellen French (31 October 1983 – 6 December 2007) was an Irish socialite, model, writer, t.v.personality and charity worker. Daughter of Janet and John French, sister of Jill French. She was born in Basel, Switzerland. She moved with her family to Ireland at two years of age, briefly living in the Sandyford area before settling in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow and later to Stillorgan, Co.Dublin. According to the BBC, "in the space of less than two years, she had become one of Ireland's best-known models and socialites."[1] She collapsed at a friend's house on 2 December 2007 and died on 6 December.[2] A post mortem examination determined that she had suffered brain damage.[3] A police investigation into her death is ongoing.[2] Four people were detained for questioning by police on 20 and 21 February 2008.[4]

Contents

Career

French attended Alexandra College in Milltown, Dublin from the age of seven. While still in school she worked part time as a hostess at the Dublin branch of the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain. She studied psychology and marketing before working for the Assets Modelling Agency and later writing articles for several Dublin magazines and newspapers.[5] She represented Sony Ericsson and Suzuki among many other brands, becoming more famous in 2007 as a result of her fiancé, restaurateur Marcus Sweeney, ending their relationship in a very public fashion after French was photographed for a lingerie shoot for the Sunday Independent in his restaurant in January of that year.[6] As a result of this publicity, her image appeared more regularly in daily Irish tabloid newspapers and she made numerous television appearances on shows such as RTÉ's The Podge and Rodge Show in April 2007 and Tubridy Tonight a week before her death. French was known for deliberately courting controversy to promote her career. She claimed that when going to appear on Celebrities Go Wild for the People in Need Telethon that she would bring her vibrator with her. On Tubridy Tonight she spoke of her appearance on Celebrities Go Wild as well as her relationship break up with Sweeney. Mention was also made of her birthday party which she was to celebrate the following week, having missed her birthday due to Celebrities Go Wild. Host Ryan Tubridy was invited to the event. Footage too was shown of the charity single "Down in the Bog" which was to be released as a Christmas single.[5] She worked for several Irish charities including Crumlin Children's Hospital and GOAL GOAL in Calcutta, India.[7] She wrote a column for Social & Personal magazine.[8]

In an interview with Hot Press's Jason O'Toole,[9] she revealed that she would consider having an abortion if she became pregnant during the peak of her career, a controversial claim in Ireland where abortion is effectively illegal, and that she loved fur despite being a "massive animal lover". She also aired her religious beliefs (she was a member of the Church of England but also practised Catholicism) and spoke highly of Islam and her Muslim friends saying, "When you read the Koran, you realise that Islam is a beautiful religion".[10] In the same interview she was asked if she had ever used cocaine and denied ever having done so. Yet in November 2007, French told an Irish tabloid that she had used cocaine in the past,[11] but had since stopped using it.[12] The week before she died, she celebrated her 24th birthday with celebrity and media friends.[2]

Death

Katy French died on the evening of 6 December 2007 in Our Lady's Hospital, Navan in Co. Meath,[13][14] having collapsed at a house in Kilmessan, County Meath in the early hours of Sunday 2 December. Her death was highly publicized by the media who indicated that it was brought on by the use of drugs, however no post mortem or toxicology results have ever been leaked into the public domain. The family of Katy French have maintained their silence on these matters and have suffered major abuse at the hands of the media and have fought accusations where they could through the press ombudsman, winning 21 out of 26 cases. French had admitted using cocaine, although she claimed she hadn't used it in a few years. Very little is actually known about the circumstances of her death and investigations are on-going. She was buried in her hometown of Enniskerry, County Wicklow on 10 December. The Taoiseach's aide de camp Captain Michael Tracey attended her funeral.[2]

It is thought that the autopsy had shown that she had suffered brain damage Four people were detained for questioning by police in connection with the investigation on the 21 February 2008.

References

  1. ^ Post-mortem is due on Irish model - BBC News. 7 December 2007
  2. ^ a b c d Logue, Patrick (2008-02-20). "Three arrested in Katy French investigation". Irish Independent. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0220/breaking28.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-20.  
  3. ^ "Three arrests in French investigation". RTÉ. 2008-02-20. http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0220/frenchk.html. Retrieved 2008-02-20.  
  4. ^ "Two released in Katy French inquiry". RTÉ. 2008-02-21. http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0221/frenchk.html. Retrieved 2008-02-21.  
  5. ^ a b "Model Katy French dies 5 days after collapsing at party". Belfast Telegraph. 2007-12-06. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/breaking-news/ireland/article3231137.ece. Retrieved 2007-12-06.  
  6. ^ "What Marcus Sweeney and Katy French did next ...". Sunday Independent. 2007-02-25. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/what-marcus-sweeney-and-katy-french-did-next-122460.html.  
  7. ^ Tributes paid to Katy French - RTÉ News - December 07, 2007
  8. ^ Mambuck, Maeva (2007-12-21). "Model Katy French Remains Controversial After Death". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Story?id=4034585&page=1. Retrieved 2008-02-20.  
  9. ^ "This year's model". Hot Press. 2007-10-26. http://www.hotpress.com/archive/4203233.html.  
  10. ^ "Blessing of troubled teenage years" - Irish Independent WEEKEND REVIEW - Sat. 8 Dec 2007, p.5
  11. ^ "Andrea fills in the gaps over Katy's final hours". Irish Independent. 2007-12-10. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/andrea-fills-in-the-gaps-over-katys-final-hours-1242148.html. Retrieved 2007-12-11.  
  12. ^ Brady, Tom (2008-02-11). "Three face arrest in tragic Katy death probe". Irish Independent. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/three-face-arrest-in-tragic-katy-death-probe-1286873.html. Retrieved 2008-02-20.  
  13. ^ "Model Katy French dies in hospital". RTÉ. 2007-12-06. http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/1206/frenchk.html. Retrieved 2007-12-06.  
  14. ^ "Top Irish model dies in hospital". BBC. 2007-12-06. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7130574.stm. Retrieved 2007-12-06.  

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