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Shock discovery Former model accused of failing to notify authorities as partner lay decomposing in flat

The 35-year-old today claims she was in hospital when her boyfriend passed away and had no idea he was lifeless in their Bayview Terrace home for weeks.

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Catherine Young says she will fight the charges

Catherine Young says she will fight the charges

Couple: Catherine Young with Barry Devlin

Couple: Catherine Young with Barry Devlin

Catherine had previously worked as a fitness model

Catherine had previously worked as a fitness model

Daryl Paul poses at Christmas

Daryl Paul poses at Christmas

Strict bail: Catherine Young speaks to our reporter

Strict bail: Catherine Young speaks to our reporter

Young with Daryl Paul

Young with Daryl Paul

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Catherine Young says she will fight the charges

THIS is the former fitness and beauty model accused of preventing the lawful burial of her partner whose badly decomposed body was found inside their flat.

Catherine Young (35) says she will fight the serious charges after detectives told a court they believed she knew her partner Barry Devlin had died inside their Derry home, and failed to notify the authorities.

She is also accused of stealing and using the “popular” father of two’s bank card as his decomposing body lay on the bed they had shared together.

The 35-year-old today claims she was in hospital when her boyfriend passed away and had no idea he was lifeless in their Bayview Terrace home for weeks.

“You can prove the truth, you can’t prove a lie – I didn’t know Barry had died,” she told the Sunday World this week.

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Catherine had previously worked as a fitness model

Catherine had previously worked as a fitness model

Catherine had previously worked as a fitness model

“I was in hospital and had no contact with him, I thought he was getting dried out in Newry.”

The body of Mr Devlin – pictured here with Ms Young in October – was discovered by police officers in his Derry flat on November 23. He’d last been seen alive on October 30, Derry Magistrates Court heard.

A detective constable told the court at a sitting in November that police were contacted “by a young girl in England” who said that Ms Young, whom she knew, had posted on Facebook her intention to harm herself.

A check of the police system showed the defendant once had an address at Bayview Terrace.

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Couple: Catherine Young with Barry Devlin

Couple: Catherine Young with Barry Devlin

Couple: Catherine Young with Barry Devlin

Officers went there and found Mr Devlin’s body on his bed.

“It was severely decomposed and he had been dead for several weeks at this stage,” the officer said. The officer added that police do not believe there was anything suspicious about the death.

The police checked the CCTV cameras which showed footage of the defendant reaching into and taking post from a communal post area outside Mr Devlin’s flat, the court heard.

Later on the same day, it is claimed the defendant was involved in a road traffic incident.

The car she had allegedly stolen from Ballymoney was found in the Sainsbury’s car park at Strand Road.

The detective said that, when the defendant was arrested, they found on her Mr Devlin’s recently issued bank card which had been used at an ATM in the Diamond earlier on Sunday.

She said there was no forensic, DNA nor CCTV evidence to show that the defendant had entered Mr Devlin’s flat, but she said Mr Devlin’s body was “easily seen through the flat window”.

The court also heard the defendant had discharged herself from the hospital on the Tuesday or Wednesday prior to her arrest. She claimed she had “been laying on her mother’s grave”.

The detective said the whereabouts of the defendant for three to four days after she left hospital were unknown until she arrived in Derry. The police officer told District Judge Oonagh Mullan that the defendant contacted the Housing Executive who arranged emergency accommodation for her in a bed and breakfast but the address was withdrawn from her by the landlady following a dispute between her and Ms Young.

She is further charged with, prior to arriving in Derry, entering as a trespasser on premises at Fort View in Ballymoney and stealing the occupant’s car keys and his car and driving it without insurance.

Applying for bail, defence barrister Damien Halloran told the District Judge that the defendant told the police she had borrowed the car from the owner in Ballymoney and that the car was later found “outside a property associated with him” in Derry.

He said there was no evidence putting the defendant inside the deceased’s flat “to enable her to conclude Barry Devlin was dead”.

Mr Halloran said the defendant had significant mental health issues for which she had been detained both in Northern Ireland and in Scotland.

He said she had no relevant record and there was a dearth of evidence that she knew Mr Devlin was dead.

He said the forensic investigation alone would involve examining over 6,000 text messages on the defendant’s mobile phone.

The judge released the defendant on her own bail of £750 to adhere to strict bail conditions including a curfew.

The 35 year-old – who is now living in emergency accommodation in Belfast – was also electronically tagged.

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Strict bail: Catherine Young speaks to our reporter

Strict bail: Catherine Young speaks to our reporter

Strict bail: Catherine Young speaks to our reporter

Pictures from the accused’s social media account show the pair together in October, just weeks before Mr Devlin is suspected of passing away.

Six weeks later, Ms Young wrote underneath one of the images: “Anyone seen this edjit (sic) he’s been missing three weeks lol”.

A friend responded: “It’s so sad this guy was dead for those missing weeks. My heart breaks for his family and two children”.

Ms Young replied: “How do you think I feel me laying in intensive care?? Then finding out he was dead whilst in police custody after being hit with a flipping car and knocked unconscious”.

Speaking outside her south Belfast flat this week, Ms Young said she hoped to clear her name.

She also defended spending her first Christmas without her partner, alongside a man facing charges in relation to the theft of a laptop belonging to late teenager Noah Donohoe.

On Christmas Day, Ms Young posted images of her enjoying dinner with 33-year-old Daryl Paul.

The north Belfast man was returned to custody on Thursday after a court heard he had breached his bail conditions for the fourth time in a week.

Images of the pair were circulated on social media just hours after Paul told a newspaper he wanted to “apologise” to the mother of the St Malachy’s College pupil, whose body was discovered in a north Belfast storm drain in June.

The pictures showed Paul with his top off, flexing his muscles beside a bag of presents and Ms Young beside him.

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Daryl Paul poses at Christmas

Daryl Paul poses at Christmas

Daryl Paul poses at Christmas

She said: “I did not know who Daryl Paul was... we met in the accommodation.

“I don’t watch the news or TV and I didn’t know he was accused of taking that wain’s laptop. I know nothing about Noah’s case.”

She added: “I’ll plead guilty to the things I am guilty of, but I am not pleading guilty to knowing he [Mr Devlin] was there because I didn’t find out he was dead until I was in custody... I didn’t know,” she said.

“Sure I don’t even know where he is buried, I still don’t believe he is dead because I’ve had no closure.

“I wasn’t allowed to go to the funeral because I was in jail."

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