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Gerry Ryan inquest hears cocaine a likely factor in his death

Presenter described as being under ‘immense stress’ by partner Melanie Verwoerd, who denies that cocaine was an issue in his life.

File photo dated 30 June, 2009, of Gerry Ryan.
File photo dated 30 June, 2009, of Gerry Ryan.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Updated: 13:55

THE INQUEST INTO THE death of RTÉ presenter Gerry Ryan has recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

Earlier today, a coroner told the inquest that traces of cocaine found in his system were likely to have triggered the cardiac arrhythmia which led to his death, RTÉ reports.

Dr Eamon Leann, who carried out the post-mortem following Ryan’s death, said that the traces detected were low and suggested recent use of cocaine.

Ryan’s heart was normal, Leann said. He added that cocaine was a drug which would not have to be taken in high doses to have a serious impact.

Evidence

Earlier, Ryan’s partner Melanie Verwoerd said cocaine was never an issue and that one of the rules of their relationship was that drugs were not acceptable. She said that in their two years together, she was assured he had not used anything.

Verwoerd said Ryan, 53, had been under immense stress from his work and personal life in the period leading up to his death, the Examiner reports.

She said he had been under financial pressure in settling the terms of his separation from his wife and was under pressure at work. She said she was extremely worried about him and he told her that he’d spoken to his GP and the stress was due to events going on in his life.

His GP also gave evidence today and said he had prescribed medication for Ryan because he was suffering from severe stress and anxiety.

Verwoerd told the coroner’s court that when she found Ryan’s body in his Upper Leeson Street apartment, it was clear he had been dead for some time.

The presenter’s estranged wife Morah Ryan also gave evidence, saying she had identified his body at the morgue, according to RTÉ’s News at One.

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An inquest must be held in all sudden, unexplained deaths, the Irish Independent reports. Coroner Dr Brian Farrell will have to establish whether Ryan died due to natural causes.

Gerry Ryan’s morning show was a ratings winner for RTE Radio for its 22 years on air until his death on April 30. His forays into television had been less successful, but in recent years his Ryan Confidential interview show had gained in popularity:

Additional reporting by Susan Ryan

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