Kate’s Case Revisited



Kate Fitzgerald, who was found dead on August 23, 2011

Today’s Irish Examiner reports:

“The Department of Justice is to re-examine the Garda investigation into the 2011 death of PR executive Kate Fitzgerald, after repeated claims from her family the original case was flawed.

In a coroner’s case last year, the death of the 25-year-old PR executive and former chair of the US Democratic Party Abroad in Ireland was ruled a suicide.

However, after subsequent questions from her family, it emerged a number of standard procedures used to rule out other potential causes of death were not followed.

These include a failure to take photographs of the scene before clothing and other belongings were removed; no examination of the cupboard in which Ms Fitzgerald is said to have killed herself; and the absence of a ligature allegedly used during her death.

Ms Fitzgerald’s family were also provided with an “unsolicited” copy of the initial coroner’s report into her death, which noted a bone in her neck that would normally be left untouched in a hanging but is often broken in a manual strangulation case, was fractured.

A Garda Ombudsman review of the case was concluded last year. However, while accepting there were flaws in how the death was examined, the review said it is unclear what impact if any this had on the case as “potential evidence” was not “properly maintained” and is now “irretrievably” lost.

Kate Fitzgerald death probe to be re-examined, (Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner)

Previously: Kate Fitzgerald on Broadsheet

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103 thoughts on “Kate’s Case Revisited

  1. Ronan

    Lest we forget what a pinch faced, unctuous, patronising, petty little troll he was.

    Kate bush though – total class

    1. realPolithicks

      He could be but mostly he wasn’t, but I think you ‘ll find that you posted you’re nasty little comment in the wrong place.

    1. Kill The Poor

      Or it was obviously a suicide to the trained gardai on the scene and this is just her family trying to cope with their unimaginable grief in anyway they can ?

        1. DRG

          As a friend of Kates, I’m kind of annoyed this is still going on – Suicide is an awful bloody thing, but it happens – It breaks my heart that Kate isn’t with us, but yet another investigation isn’t going to bring her back. While everyone rushes to blame the cops, I think it’s important to reiterate they were incredibly supportive and sensitive to me, and many of us who were left devastated by her passing.

          Anyway, rather than idle speculation and conspiracy theories, I hope this investigation will bring the family some closure. And while it’s the examiner’s mistake rather than broadsheets, the assertion about that particular bone being broken only during strangulation isn’t true – it breaks in 25% of hangings; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20973326

          1. Anne

            “As a friend of Kates, I’m kind of annoyed this is still going on”

            Why do you mention being a friend of hers?
            Do you think that gives your feelings on this more credence or something?

            I would have more sympathy for the family’s feelings than your annoyance.
            Have some respect.

          2. DRG

            Wow. That is incredibly nasty but I have a pretty good feeling I know who this is. My feelings – and indeed anyone’s feelings – are irrelevant; What matters is the reality of the situation. Blaming the cops – as you have done – is totally unfair. Frankly I’m privy to more information than I’d ever be comfortable discussing on the internet with strangers, but perhaps you should take your own advice and have a modicum of respect for everyone involved, family and friends.

          3. rotide

            Normally I’d say don’t mind Anne DRG, she’s one of the more lunatic fringe elements around here and can be safely ignored but her comment there was incredibly insensitive.

            Unfortunately you won’t get much better from her.

          4. Anne

            David, I really don’t care for what you find nasty..
            As I said, in my opinion the family’s feelings outweigh your annoyance.

            I’m not sure what you think I am blaming the Gardaí for, but if proper procedure wasn’t followed (as was found to be the case by the Garda Ombudsman) I think it is fair to lay criticism with the Gardaí.

          5. SDaedalus

            I completely agree with Anne – as I do usually with her comments on Broadsheet – and once again, DRG, if you were a ‘friend’ of Kate’s and are genuinely concerned, put your name to your comment, as anyone who asserts personal knowledge or interest in a post of this nature should do.

          6. The Lady Vanishes


            The implication of your statement, about Anne, that you ‘know who this is’ is pretty clear even to people like me, who have followed this case only online and have no personal knowledge of anyone involved. Often we make mistaken assumptions about people we know of only online. My impression regarding Anne is that she is a long-term internet commenter unconnected to anyone involved in this case. Perhaps you might like to reconsider your statement in light of the above. I don’t often say this to someone online, but it has a very clear, defamatory and might I say very unfair meaning.

          7. DemAbroad


            I Note that the study you have linked to only covers 20 hangings, all male. Note that only 3 of the 20 had a broken hyoid bone and note that the conclusion says that the breakage was related with older ages and incomplete hanging.

            This study has 84 cases and is much more credible.
            http://medind.nic.in/jal/t11/i4/jalt11i4p351.pdf 3.57% 84 cases.

            This site gives a list of several studies.
            In our study out of 186 cases, the fracture of hyoid bone was present in only 1.6% cases (3/186), all on the unilateral Greater Cornu. (Fig. 1) The cases were of all males with
            their Mean age being 39.3 years.
            The studies conducted in India by Naik [6] and Patel [9] reported the incidence of fracture of hyoid bone to be nil in hanging cases,
            Meera [8] in 3.6%
            Sai Sudheer [11] in 4% cases.
            Rao [12] mentioned the hyoid bone to be intact in 90-95% cases of hanging.
            Modi [13] mentioned that due to direct lateral compression of the neck the fractures of hyoid bone are rare.
            Parikh [14] reported the fractures to be rare below forty years of age. Internationally,
            Feigin[15] also has found only 3.2% cases to be having fractures.

          8. rotide


            He did put his name to it. It’s a bit like the Krypton Factor, but you’ll get there.

          9. Lilly

            Why on earth should your feelings take precedence over those of her family? From what I recall of the case, Kate Fitzgerald wasn’t estranged from her family.

        2. DRG

          To SDaedalus and The Lady Vanishes ;

          Kindly go to hell. As you would have seen if you’d bothered to click the damn link on my post, I have identified myself , and blogged about the whole bloody thing and ensuing Irish Times debacle. I knew Kate well, and it kind of sickens me people like you are happy to spout armchair bollox about a person I cared about immensely. Had you any knowledge of this case, you’d have seen I spent a lot of time with broadsheet and the family when questions were first raised, and while I’m not at liberty to discuss it, I’m sure John Ryan of Broadsheet will vouch for that fact. I’m no longer engaging here, as it’s a waste of time and frankly upsetting but I’ve asked John to leave this up as a testament to the fact you’re a pair of assholes.

          1. SDaedalus

            Yes DKG. I know your post well. I seem to remember I commented on it at the time. In deference to your seeming continued reluctance to print your full name in your comments on this post, I’m refraining from addressing you by it.

            You seem to have two different approaches to people who disagree with you.

            The first is to accuse them of being prejudiced by association with the case, like you did with Anne. The second is to say that because they’re not associated with it, they don’t know enough to comment.

            My point is very simple. i consider the view of Kate’s family, who brought her up, far more important than yours. You appear to have been a friend of hers, and to have been somewhat smitten by her. In my humble opinion, that does not authorise you to second-guess her family’s decisions. I think you are the asshole for intervening in this, and not knowing when to shut up. I hope you’ll have the decency to do so now.

          2. The Lady Vanishes

            David, I’m very touched you’re on intimate terms with the powers-that-be behind Broadsheet, but it’s not going to stop me from expressing my honest opinion that you are a plonker. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the sense to beg Mr Ryan (whosoever that may be) to remove your silly comments.

          3. The Lady Vanishes

            That’s ‘David Robert Grimes’ by the way, as you keep saying you don’t mind your name being mentioned. I hope this comes up in search engines to oblivion.

          4. Salmon of Nollaig

            That would be David Robert Grimes who writes for the Irish Times? The same paper that edited Kate’s piece?

          5. The Lady Vanishes

            Yes. I presume there’s no problem mentioning it as he did state above he was readily identifiable.

          6. Saturday Night Newsround

            Sorry, I’m confused. Is David Robert Grimes the guy who wrote the article that was edited.

          7. The Lady Vanishes

            No. If you click on the links you will see that the article which was edited was the one written anonymously by Kate Fitzgerald. There was a follow up piece by Peter Murtagh identifying Ms Fitzgerald which was not edited. David Robert Grimes wrote a blog post about knowing Kate and featuring her original unedited article. That’s the post referred to above. You can read it here.


            He describes the Irish Times editing as “a crass and pathetic smearing of a girl who is no longer with us.” Shame on you, he says. It’s a good post. He’s very critical of the Times and he writes very movingly about his friendship with Kate.

          8. The Lady Vanishes

            Sorry for the confusion.

            Yes he does write for the Irish Times too, not on this story but on science issues.

            See the right hand side of the page on the link.

            “He occasionally writes for real newspapers such as the Irish Times and the Guardian when the mood takes him. Naturally, all opinions are his own, unless otherwise stated.”

            I’m not sure what relevance that has tbh, I think it was Salmon of Nollaig who mentioned it above.

          9. Lilly

            He writes for the IT occasionally on a freelance basis. Are you suggesting conflict of interest?

          10. Salmon of Nollaig

            No. I can’t see why the Irish Times would care what happens with the story. The mess from their point of view is well complete.

            Just making the point that for David Robert Grimes to object to Kate’s parents seeking further investigation of her death on account of his feelings is as inappropriate as it would be, for instance, for those same parents to object to his writing for the Irish Times on account of its editing of Kate’s article.

            People are free in this country, thank goodness, to act as they like, and they shouldn’t be bullied by others to stop doing so on account of ‘the facts being unclear but the tragedy so raw’ (Michael Smith, begging the question – are the facts unclear because they can never be clear or simply because they haven’t been examined!) or because ‘it’s time to move on” (Conor) or because “Kate wasn’t well” (Benny) or because “Many of those involved don’t want to be dragged through another round of questioning” (David Robert Grimes). Kate’s parents should be let do their own thing in their own way and not pressured to stop because the story has ‘run its course’.

          11. Salmon of Nollaig

            Had you any knowledge of this case, you’d have seen I spent a lot of time with broadsheet and the family when questions were first raised, and while I’m not at liberty to discuss it, I’m sure John Ryan of Broadsheet will vouch for that fact. I’m no longer engaging here, as it’s a waste of time and frankly upsetting but I’ve asked John to leave this up as a testament to the fact you’re a pair of assholes.

            I admire your skill at navigating seamlessly between the Irish Times, the Fitzgerald family and Broadsheet Towers during what must have been a very sensitive time for all concerned.

          12. Lilly

            Sorry Salmon, I cross-posted with you. That was @Saturday Night. I can’t see what difference it makes if DRG contributes to the IT and wondered if he was suggesting some agenda.

        1. benny

          The question of the broken hyoid bone has been gone over and over. It doesn’t indicate foul play.

          BS, what exactly are you trying to accomplish here? Was there a case of Garda incompetence? Probably. Interviews with Kate’s friends dragged on for months after her death, with interviews being conducted by a number of Gardaí. Additional rounds of interviews were conducted at the instigation of Kate’s family. Questions about missing phones and a passport were raised (resulting in a bizarre theory of her having some kind of “secret life”), and accusations directed at some of her friends that they had stolen items from her house, although the Garda who had collected these items had mislaid them.

          If you’re trying to highlight Garda incompetence, then fine. Raise awareness of suicide? Sure. If this is an effort to have another go at funding the circumstances of her death, then that’s really not welcome. It’s conspiracy theory bullshit. Plenty of the people involved in this have been on that particular merry-go-round of interviews with the Gardaí and emails from the family for long enough, and aren’t looking for another go.

          Kate wasn’t well. For the love of God, will you let our friend rest in peace and let us remember her as she was.

          1. Malta

            To be fair to BS, they’re just highlighting the Examiner’s story, and in light of all their previous coverage of Kate, it’d be weird of they didn’t mention this latest development.

            That said, I understand where you’re coming from and I sympathise.

          2. SDaedalus

            I am sorry, but I cannot understand how anyone can sympathise with a purported ‘friend’ of a young woman whose family wish to pursue the patently inadequate investigation of her death in circumstances where that ‘friend’ does not even sign their full name. The number of unidentified ‘friends’ commenting on this post is of concern, particularly when Kate’s mother, in contrast, has had the courage and integrity to comment in her own name. Very bad form.

            It cannot in any jurisdiction be satisfactory, in the case of a purported suicide, to lose the instrument of suicide or indeed to fail to take photos of the scene.

          3. The Lady Vanishes

            A quick read of the inquest report, and various posts written around the time of Kate’s death, makes identification of the purported ‘friends’ only too easy. Why so worried, guys?

          4. DRG


            This kind of fecking comment annoys me – firstly, don’t say sorry if you’re not. Secondly, I’ll assume you’re referring to me as the other ‘unidentified’ friend, given I’m the only other person on this thread who has mentioned my relationship with Kate – had you bothered to click the link on my post to my website, you would have that I have indeed identified myself and even blogged about the whole debacle; I also kept in touch with the family, friends and the Guards through the initial and subsequent investigation.

            Sally and Tom have my respect, and I have tried to keep an open mind but since the subsequent investigation I respectfully disagree with them that foul play was involved – while I’m not really at liberty to go into details here, I’d have some serious questions about how the examiner reported the details and the veracity of those details. Here’s hoping that another investigation will bring some closure but after the last one it’s kind of understandable of many of those involved don’t want to be dragged through another round of questioning about the death of a person they cared a lot about. I’m personally more than happy to help another investigation if it at all is useful, but I know many of Kate’s other friends still find it immensely difficult to relive and aren’t exactly keen about another round of this 3 years after the fact.

          5. SDaedalus

            Well why not put your name on the comment then so? I notice you haven’t changed it. Why all this ‘you can find out about me if you click on my link’ sort of thing. You previously commented under your full name on previous posts, I think. Why not on this one?

            What offends me also about your comment – I’m sorry, but by choosing to comment, you have in effect ‘put yourself out there’ for open season – is that you seem awfully proprietary about Kate. Surely, as Anne pointed out, the key people here are her family: a mother and father who brought her up, a brother who grew up with her. I think it’s incredibly presumptuous of you to challenge their decision to ask Minister Fitzgerald to pursue the matter further. What harm does it cause to anyone who has nothing to hide?

          6. SDaedalus

            And I mean, really ‘Kate’s friends find it difficult to relive’.

            How precious is that? It comes across as an incredibly spoilt comment. Do you find it difficult to relive it? And if so, why? You had no difficulty talking about it on detail on your blog, complete with photos. I read the piece. Are you speaking for yourself, or for others? And if so, on what basis do you regard yourself as qualified to speak for other friends?

            At best you are out of your depth and at worst you have a complete detachment from reality.

          7. bob

            @SDaedalus I’m inclined to agree with Dave who is not and has in now way been anonymous. You’re completely out of order on this. While you might not agree with him, he is entitled to his own perspective even if it doesn’t align with the family’s.

            Even when he has called you out on things you remain belligerent, rude and obnoxious. But you’re still “following” the story, so I guess that’s okay….

          8. SDaedalus

            Of course he’s entitled to his own perspective. But to come on as Kate’s ‘friend’ whining at her family to shut up, because it upsets her friends, that’s way out of line. David’s comment would have been best expressed as an email to the Mr Ryan he refers to above, rather than on a public forum. His comments are a train wreck, and highly embarrassing. Consider the pain they must be causing to her family. What is even more extraordinary is that he – and you – don’t have the sense or the compassion to realise this.

          9. bob

            Maybe that’s how you interpret it, but I didn’t see him whine or tell the family to shut up. He expressed annoyance that it was coming up again, and as it will personally affect him that could be seen as reasonable. Whether it should be in public… meh… possibly not, but isn’t everything these days. Either way I don’t see why he should be pilloried for it in particular, especially in the highly personal way you are going after him.

            All that is academic, you have been extremely rude and made many accusations that don’t stand up. I know no-one involved, but I’m sure Dave is extremely compassionate towards the family. I’m also compassionate towards her friends who are just as entitled to have feelings and emotions surrounding this sad story. You seem to have no regard for them. So be it. That is the right of every keyboard warrior.

          10. SDaedalus

            Ah now. A chap who stomps around the comments section pontificating to grieving parents, bragging about being best buddies with the moderators and declaring other commenters ‘assholes’ must expect the odd constructive criticism, surely?

          11. Salmon of Nollaig

            You have no personal knowledge of the case, but you think he’s extremely compassionate towards the family? Based on the comments above? If that’s compassion, I hope I never see the lack of it.

          12. Tragic Kingdom

            “The number of unidentified ‘friends’ commenting on this post is of concern, particularly when Kate’s mother, in contrast, has had the courage and integrity to comment in her own name. Very bad form.” by @SDaedalus

          13. Salmon of Nollaig

            Hardly unreasonable that if someone claims to be a ‘friend’ or have special information not in the public domain they should be asked to identify themselves, so that their comments can be put in context?

  2. Haroo von Haroo

    So she was murdered is that what they are saying. The thing that annoyed me most about this case was the way that Kate’s pretty face was used to sell newspapers. I will be accused of trolling but I’m not. The use of her image detracted from the issue. After the loss of life there is the other issue of how certain pr’s and agents seem to have a stranglehold on the Irish media with pr stories appearing in multiple titles on a daily basis. Finally a family and an agent told a nation that their child died accidentally when he took his own life.

  3. Michael Smith

    If Kate Fitzgerald did not commit suicide is it not obvious that it was unfair to imply – as has been done – that her employer, even if it was the unloved Communications Clinic, was in any way implicated in her tragic death, through alleged insensitive handling of mental-health issues? And was it not predictable that the Communications Clinic would be aggrieved, and the Irish Times in trouble, if any article making any such implication were published? So sad for Kate’s family but is important to be fair, even to the CC and the IT, especially when the facts are unclear yet the tragedy is so raw.

    1. Conor

      Being fair is not Broadsheet’s MO, Michael.

      They prefer innuendo, half-accusations and, of course, “anyone?”

      I feel sorry for her parents but it’s time to move on. The most that’s going to happen here is that some Garda gets a rap on the knuckles for improper crime scene protocol, most likely driven by some sort of misguided compassion for the family.

      1. SDaedalus


        Your own comment is a perfect example of innuendo and half-accusations. You are in fact the very thing you are purporting to complain about.

        As regards the question of whether or not it is ‘time to move on’, your opinion is not more important than anyone else. Many of us are still following this story.


        With respect I think the Communications Clinic have done very well out of the initial ‘death by suicide’ characterisation. A murder enquiry involving a member of staff who had, shortly before her death, written an anonymous piece about office bullying, would surely have been far more detrimental. Might I also add that this situation would never have blown up in the fact of the Communications Clinic, or indeed the irish Times, had they handled the situation properly from the beginning.

        I am assuming that you are Michael Smith of Village Magazine. In recent issues of this magazine you have commendably held various sectors of society to account. It is somewhat disappointing to me, as a reader of your publication, that you appear reluctant to apply the the same principles of accountability to the Irish Times and the Communications Clinic. It is indeed important to be fair, and fairness begins and ends with critical scrutiny of those both far and close from home.

        1. Conor

          Hi SDaedalus,

          Thanks for being civil in your response; but where is my innuendo or half-accusation?

          I’m very clear (or at least I want to be) in what I’m accusing Broadsheet of; in the three years this has been going on, they have made no attempt to present the case in any sort of balanced light. They arrived at their conclusion on day one and haven’t veered an inch from it since. It’s been one long crusade against the Irish Times, the Communications Clinic, the Gardai, the state pathologist and the coroner. I’m sure I’ll be accused of being part of the conspiracy now too.

          If there is a story there, by all means Broadsheet should pursue it, but they have gone about it in a totally irresponsible way. If BS have some information on what happened, then let them give it the DoJ now. If they’re just using this as a stick to beat “the system” with, as they are so fond of doing, then I don’t think they’re helping Kate Fitzgerald’s family at all. Maybe the BS staff had a personal connection to Kate, I don’t know, but again, if they did, any sort of journalistic standard would require them to be up front about that. Maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned and I expect too much from the internet.

          I’ll do you the courtesy of checking back to see if you reply but otherwise this will be my last visit to Broadsheet, which is a shame because I used to enjoy it before it became what it is now.

          (Also, I don’t think I claimed anywhere that my opinion was more important than anyone else’s, and I honestly don’t think so.)

          Good luck.

          1. SDaedalus

            Conor, even your reply is replete with innuendos: “maybe the Broadsheet staff had a personal connection to Kate”. I appreciate that this may not be intentional, I am just pointing it out to show how easy it is to sometimes read more into what people have written, and their motivations, than one might think at first.

            I have followed the Kate Fitzgerald story from the beginning and I think you are being unfair to Broadsheet on this. There are a lot of different agendas at work here (as evident from the comments section!) but I think that Broadsheet has done its best to navigate through these agendas fairly, even if somewhat in the dark in places.

            I am not connected to anyone in the Kate Fitzgerald story and have no information other than what is in the public domain, but there appears to have been failings both on the part of the Irish Times in the way they dealt with this matter and also on the part of the Gardai in terms of the investigation of Kate’s death. As regards TCC, leaving the bullying issue – on which I do not know enough to reach a conclusion – aside, the way in which they handled the sensitive question of the article shows a certain lack of compassion, to say the least, and achieved nothing other than a PR disaster for themselves. I certainly would not use them for PR purposes after what has happened. I also have concerns about TCC generally arising out of the Prone/Savage Mission to Prey conflict of interest, which Broadsheet also – and very commendably in my view – featured. This is clearly a very interesting story – and one which many people would like to know more about. Possibly what really happened or didn’t happened can never be proved – but at least if the garda investigation is reviewed steps can be taken to prevent this sort of tragic uncertainty happening again.

            It is very easy to look for hidden agendas and I could probably invent a few in your comments too quite easily but I will take you as genuine – perhaps you should think about giving the same courtesy to Broadsheet?

          2. Chompsky

            Conor, Kate was a Broadsheet commenter (when they were as rare as hen’s teeth) but we never met her.

  4. Salmon of Nollaig

    Michael, bullying at work is bullying at work even if someone doesn’t kill themselves because of it. If an employer – particularly a high-profile one – is involved in bullying, or is providing inadequate support to someone suffering from mental health issues, this is a legitimate ground of criticism. Put another way, someone doesn’t have to die as a result of bullying for it to be unacceptable.

    Might I add another point too – and that is that the conduct of said employer after Kate’s death – in objecting to her posthumously published article in a way that, incidentally, can only be described as a massive PR fail – is something that causes me, personally, even more concern than the alleged bullying.

    Having regard to these considerations – do you really stand over your apparent position that TCC has been unfairly treated?

  5. The Lady Vanishes

    Duh Michael, so it’s okay to posthumously edit the last words of a murder victim but not if she is a suicide victim?

  6. Sally Fitzgerald

    It is unfortunate that some people who seem to have nothing better to do persist in making boneheaded, cruel comments that just demonstrate they know nothing about this case, and are incapable of thinking critically. My family and I are moving on with our lives, after 3 years of hell. But we refuse to accept the irresponsible behaviour of an incompetent police force, as well as a bogus inquest verdict based upon specious grounds. We thank you for your good wishes.

    1. maryB

      Sally, I met Kate many times in DCU and understand all of this must be very hard on you and your family. I hope you soon find peace after all of this heartache

  7. Tragic Kingdom

    Here we go again. This is not an investigation into the Irish Times or Ms Fitzgerald’s employers, boneheads.

    That Ms Fitzegerald’s family refuse to accept the verdict is neither here nor there to the facts of the case. Sally Fitzgerald’s comments about the police and the inquest should be forwarded to the investigation and to the Dublin County Coroner.

    Are the facts of the inquest in dispute too? No. It’s the police investigation that’s being reviewed, not the inquest.


    PR executive Kate took her own life, inquest jury finds

    1. realPolithicks

      I wasn’t going to comment on this article as frankly I don’t know very much about it, however I have to reply to a couple of your comments. First of all, why should Sally Fitzgerald’s comments about the Police and inquest be “forwarded to the investigation and to the Dublin County Coroner.”? Is she not entitled to express her opinion? Then you state “Are the facts of the inquest in dispute too? No. It’s the police investigation that’s being reviewed, not the inquest.” Given that the inquest is based on the “Garda investigation” I would have though it very relevant that the “Garda investigation” is being reviewed. It’s been shown that several recent Garda investigations have been incompetent at best and possibly even criminally fraudulent (the Ian Bailey case comes to mind) so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility the this case was screwed up also.

      1. Jackdaw

        The Ian Bailey case is over twenty years so I don’t know what your definition of recent is.

      2. Tragic Kingdom

        If the Fitzgerald family chooses to conduct a campaign like this on social media (and their sole outlet for this campaign appears to be BS) then those who disagree with their claims, and those who want to wish to question why this is being pursued further, have as much an entitlement to do so, too.

        1. Salmon of Nollaig

          But that statement of yours isn’t correct and in fact is wilfully misleading.

          In fact, any doubts expressed by the family about suicide have been expressed by them in the mainstream media (the Sunday Independent and the Examiner) rather than in Broadsheet. Broadsheet has merely referenced these stories. if you go back and read the posts, you’ll see that any non-referential Broadsheet coverage of the family’s views ceased at precisely the time suicide started to be disputed. It’s really quite clear from looking at the past posts.

          From examining coverage of this case, there has in effect been two campaigns by the Fitzgerald family.

          The first, regarding the editing of Kate’s article, was run exclusively in social media – presumably because the newspapers would not cover it. Broadsheet was very much involved in this.

          The second campaign, relating to the family’s doubts concerning the cause of death, has, on the other hand, been primarily run by them in the mainstream media, with Broadsheet – and other social media – simply reporting on this coverage.

          It’s important to mention this as it is something which appears to be ignored every time there is a Broadsheet post on Kate ‘here’s Broadsheet again with its agenda’, that sort of thing. I think this is somewhat unfair to Broadsheet as I have a lot of respect for the efforts made by it – and social media generally – in relation to the disgraceful editing of Kate’s article.

          That aside, you are of course entitled to express your view and other people are entitled to disagree with it. Kate’s friends were also entitled to express their view that the parents should stop with their quest – and other people in return are entitled to express theirs that the reasons given by those friends for so doing were, at best, just a little precious.

        1. Salmon of Nollaig

          Google the inquest reports, smarty pants. You’re not charming enough for anyone to do your work for you.

  8. Prof. Frank Sullivan

    Here’s a quick guide for those who might want to investigate this on their own.
    Thanks to Mr. Grimes, we can see above that a thorough study has concluded that only 25% of suicidal hangings are likely to have a broken hyoid bone, but that these are only likely at older ages (highest even being 93) You may do the arithmetic required to estimate what percentage that would be for a young person in their mid twenties.
    You then can continue to review studies on the likelihood of hyoid bones breaking from throttling (compression of the neck by human hands).
    After realizing that its more likely it was throttling you might think “There must have been other solid evidence found by the Gardai, or how else would they have been so certain of suicide in the inquest?” A good question indeed!
    You would then find out that no pictures were taken of the scene, no examination was conducted on the shelf that she apparently hanged herself from. The ligature that was apparently used has changed colour, length and type over the course of the investigation. Windows and doors were never correctly checked for signs of intrusion. Phone, email and computer records were not checked for clues to her whereabouts or plans for that evening.
    You might then wonder if the Gardai/coroner came to this conclusion, they must have a very clear record of correctly identifying cause of death in the past. You would of course find numerous cases of families pleading for more thorough investigations and general misconduct from the Gardai in even the most clean cut of cases.
    There were many friends that claimed this to be 100% suicide. Can this alone be used as concrete evidence? You would hope that they have 0 ulterior motives, and want only the truth. Sadly though, many of Kate’s friends were deeply depressed and for very understandable reasons they could not continue to pursue the truth of the case. Many friends were shocked at the possibility of suicide in their circle, so it’s plausible that many clung to the nearest argument, to therefore end their pain.

    At the end of this, can we say beyond a reasonable doubt that this was suicide or murder? I believe the family believes they can say neither, and that should be made formally known. Other families should not have to go through this, and this case should stand as an example of a huge mistake in our Irish legal and justice system.

    1. Llareggub

      “State Pathologist Marie Cassidy said during the inquest said there was no evidence to suggest Ms Fitzgerald had taken an overdose and all drugs were within normal therapeutic limits.
      She concluded that Ms Fitzgerald died by hanging and did not find any evidence of bruises or marks to suggest third party involvement.”

      Sindo 16/09/2012


      I just wonder if someone is murdered by throttling, could it be done without leaving bruises or marks. If this were possible then the person who carried out an alleged murder by throttling would need to have some expert knowledge of the human body in order to make it look like suicide.

      I should state that I have an open mind about this case and I believe a lot of the evidence does not add up. I also think that because suicide is so common in Ireland, there is a carelessness in dealing with these deaths that at a glance appear to be suicide.

  9. Anne

    Prof Frank,
    I’m just confused by this part of your comment there..
    “Sadly though, many of Kate’s friends were deeply depressed and for very understandable reasons they could not continue to pursue the truth of the case. Many friends were shocked at the possibility of suicide in their circle, so it’s plausible that many clung to the nearest argument, to therefore end their pain”

    Shocked at the possibility of suicide? But could not continue to pursue the truth?
    Did you mean to say suicide there?

  10. Salmon of Nollaig


    My impression was that he was saying that they were so shocked even by suicide that the even more scary concept of murder/manslaughter by suicide would be beyond their ability to cope with, poor darlings.

    1. Anne

      Poor darlings is right.
      All of my sympathies go to the family.

      I found myself saying sorry for your loss to a friend on a previous post on Kate, and it didn’t feel right.
      You’d feel like you’re trying to be manipulated into agreeing that there should be no further investigation into the case, due to some ‘friends’, and their supposed closeness and their just wanting this to go away.
      On reflection I felt like there was (and is) a gross insensitivity to the family going on, that I don’t understand the reason for.

      1. Lilly

        Maybe they feel the family are doing the ole Irish thing of refusing to accept a verdict of suicide at all costs.

        Is there even a remote possibility that Kate was murdered? If so, how could any real friend object to the truth being established definitively.

        1. Salmon of Nollaig

          There is a proprietary air to some of the comments made by Kate’s friends on Broadsheet, as if she belonged to them, rather than to her family. This girl was a young woman, rather than an object, and belonged only to herself. No one can possibly speak for her and say how she would have felt about the events following her death. What can be said, however, is that her family should be allowed to express a view as to how the investigation of her death has been handled. Seeking to discourage them from doing so seems selfish, at the very least. I appreciate that the thought of the death of a friend may be distressing, but what I for one would find even more distressing is the thought of concerns on the part of that friend’s family being silenced. I fail to see what harm further examination can do, given that there is no evidence that Kate’s friends were in any way treated badly in the earlier investigation – in fact, by the admission of one of them above, quite the contrary. As regards the guards concerned, it follows from the nature of their job that they must be subject to scrutiny. If they have acted properly, then they have nothing to fear. It seems to me that any pressure employed by the family in this case has been open, honest pressure through official channels, reasons for it being stated. There have however been counter-pressures, the reasons for which are entirely unclear and which require justification. To date, I have not seen any compelling justification and am perplexed by the weight of this pressure.

          1. Salmon of Nollaig

            I should also add that I am even more perplexed by the sources from whom this pressure is coming. As stated by Lily, surely a friend, even if without the energy and resources to do it themselves, wouldn’t object to scrutiny of the circumstances in which their friend met their death, quite the contrary. And I am entirely mystified as to why the eminent Michael Smith, editor of Village, a magazine that heralds itself as at the heart of investigative journalism in Ireland, would intervene in this thread in the terms of his comment above. I notice that Mr Smith has not replied to S Daeadalus’s response to his comment. It would be interesting to read his response. The extraordinary thing about this story is that it seems to result in everyone acting out of character.

          2. Salmon of Nollaig

            But this isn’t a story covered or not covered in Village. This is the editor of Village commenting on a story published elsewhere. I should be fair to Mr Smith and say that he is not specifically saying that the investigation should not go ahead, simply that, in his view, TCC and the IT have been treated unfairly. My point is simply that this story always seems to provoke a negative response against the parents.

          3. Salmon of Nollaig

            Actually if you read the post and comments threat, as opposed to spattering it with random idiocies, you’d see that the view expressed by the family was in response to the negative comments, and did not precede them.

            But I think you know that very well already, don’t you?

  11. Salmon of Nollaig

    But, you know, even if a family refuses to accept a verdict of suicide at all costs, that’s, you know, their own business.

    It seems to me that the gardai investigation could have been better handled. It’s nice that, as DRG stated above, the guards were compassionate to Kate’s friends, but surely this wouldn’t also preclude taking a photographs, retaining the murder weapon and making sure her phone messages and emails were preserved? I would have thought all these things (along with courtesy to people involved) would be sine qua nons of every apparent-death-by-suicide. The family, in my view, should be commended for their courage in pursuing what seems to me to be a quite reasonable complaint about Garda practices in this case, rather than chastised for ‘making trouble’.

    1. Lilly

      I don’t agree that a family refusing to accept a verdict of suicide at all costs is their own business. (And I’m not suggesting that’s what’s happening here.) It’s a societal issue. Every time a family refuses to accept the truth or sweeps it under the carpet, their decision affects the future allocation of vital resources that might save a suicidal person further down the road. Policy will never change as long as we persist in denial.

      1. Salmon of Nollaig

        I do think it is their own business insofar as everyone has the right to draw their own conclusions, reasonable or unreasonable, from facts – so long as they do not seek to prevent other people from doing the same.

        As regards the question of sweeping suicide under the carpet, I think that a key factor in minimising this occurrence is proper garda investigation of the scene of death. This seems to have failed to happen here. Drawing attention, from whatever motive, to the lack of garda investigation of suicides may actually work against such sweeping under the carpet in future by removing or minimising doubt as to whether or not a death is suicide or otherwise.

        1. Lilly

          Yes, I agree. My understanding is that procedures are already in place – eg Siobhan McLoughlin murder staged by husband to look like suicide – but they weren’t followed in Kate’s case. Apparently Gardai concerned had knuckles rapped but if an investigation is necessary so that procedures are set in stone, why would anyone object. What does it take to get people to do the job for which they are paid in this country of ours?

          1. Tragic Kingdom

            there are exceptionally high rates of suicide in Ireland: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/ireland-has-exceptionally-high-rates-of-suicide-1.1732791

            How many end up on the Late Late show? Show some perspective here. Inquests don’t apportion blame. They’re not a prosection. They’re there to find out the cause of death. The sad case of one Priory Hall tenant being a case in point.

            Frankly, those are are saying this was NOT suicide should declare what they think the case was. And saying that to declare their view would be prejudicial to any subsequent finding is frankly disengenuous and dishonest of them.

          2. Salmon of Nollaig

            Are you annoyed because Kate Fitzgerald’s death featured on the Late Late Show, and if so, why? Do you feel coverage of her death detracts from other suicides?

            Did you read the article featured in the post? It didn’t contain any criticism of the inquest. The complaint related to the earlier garda investigation, which the parents say should have been more thorough. I don’t see any statement that this was not suicide, simply an implication that the lack of thoroughness of the investigation makes it difficult for the parents to be satisfied of that fact, indeed satisfied of anything at all.

          3. Buzz

            @Tragic Kingdom, To quote Sally Fitzgerald above: “We refuse to accept the irresponsible behaviour of an incompetent police force, as well as a bogus inquest verdict based upon specious grounds.”

            Can you not take her point that a shoddy Garda investigation could affect the reliability of the inquest verdict – or do you believe that the work of the Garda here is beyond reproach?

  12. Salmon of Nollaig

    Now that was a genuinely unintentional error. I mean the ligature or if you prefer the instrument of the believed suicide.

  13. Janet

    Lilly, why do you think that any parents who may be in denial about a suicide of their child would “effect the future allocation of vital resources” that could possibly save lives? I’m not sure how you are connecting the two. Furthermore, there are many suicides in this country, many of which have been determined by true facts and real evidence, and others that have not. When cause of death is in question, all families should expect a good, thorough, investigation and determination as to the cause of death of their loved ones AND the right to contest determination made by the “authorities” when the family is not presented with concrete proof, even if they are in denial. Don’t all families have this right? If not, we live in a very sad society.

  14. Janet

    Salmon of Nollaig,
    Why would you bring up the subject of Kate’s death featured on the Late, Late Show that occurred three years ago? The fact is that the people who make decisions at the show wanted to feature this story and they had every right to. It’s in the past. It happened, so what? Your question if this could have detracted from other suicides is pointless. Would you like the show to feature all suicides? Not possible.

    On another note, you stated that the article in the Post did not contain any criticism of the inquest. Therefore, you jumped to the conclusion that there were no criticisms of the inquest. You are mistaken. Quite a few people who attended the inquest have lots of criticisms about the way in which the inquest was conducted. Perhaps the Post was not aware of this, I don’t know. I attended the inquest and I can tell you I was appalled as to how it was conducted. It was like a three ring circus. Unbelievable. Anyway, it’s probably not a good idea to assume that newspaper articles, or any media for that matter, always contain all information on every story. That’s expecting a lot.

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