Facing up to 15 years in prison on an assortment of drug and weapons charges, 20015 Australian Idol victor Kate DeAraugo will plead guilty to charges of drug driving, possession of ice, possession of a knife and a tomahawk, and breach of bail, The Herald Sun reports.
The charges came after two separate arrests in the space of five days, with one involving a “traffickable” quantity of ice, although a drug trafficking charge has been dropped following DeAraugo’s guilty plea.
The first alleged incident occurred in Shepparton on June 10, when DeAraugo was found with 430 milligrams of ice, and the second occurred on June 15, this time in a “traffickable quantity”.
Leaving the courtroom today, DeAraugo told The Herald Sun “Of course, I’m sorry”, and will remain on bail until her next appearance before Bendigo’s Magistrates Court on November 15.
Music manager Tony Southwell, who hired DeAraugo as a backing singer earlier this year, expressed shock and sadness over her situation following her arrest.
“It’s very, very sad because she’s a beautiful young woman with an incredible gift,” Southwell said. “She’s had a really tough time, but I thought she was over all that stuff. This is awful.”
“She was never late for a rehearsal or a show, and conducted herself in the most professional manner,’ he added. ‘We brought her in to sing, and that’s what she did, incredibly. There were no issues at all, no sign of drugs or alcohol or anything.”
The singer has been open about her struggles with addiction and mental health following her Australian Idol exposure, having faced court on drug driving charges back in 2015. The win in 2005 saw her single ‘Maybe Tonight’ hit #1 on the ARIA charts and her debut album A Place I’ve Never Been peak at #10.
She found ongoing success with fellow contestants Ricki-Lee Coulter, Paulini, and 2005 runner-up Emily Williams, who toured the country as Young Divas and released two albums together, notching up a platinum single with their cover of Donna Summer’s ‘This Time I Know It’s For Real’, which hit #2 on the chart.
Sadly, DeAraugo isn’t the only member of the band to have gotten themselves in trouble with the law, with Paulini – who is currently starring in the theatre production The Bodyguard in the lead role – pleading guilty to charges of bribing a Government Official and facing up to seven years in prison.
Kate DeAraugo’s winning moment of Australian Idol 2005