Troubled singer Kate DeAraugo - who until recently seemed to be getting her life back on track - could be facing up to 15 years in jail on drug charges.
Family and friends were left devastated after the former Australian Idol, platinum-selling solo artist and Young Divas singer was allegedly busted with the drug ice and a cache of weapons by police in Shepparton, Victoria.
'It's very, very sad because she's a beautiful young woman with an incredible gift,' says music manager Tony Southwell, who gave her a job as a backing singer earlier this year. 'She's had a really tough time, but I thought she was over all that stuff. This is awful.'
According to a report in The Shepparton News, Kate - who has confessed to battling depression, drug and weight issues in the past - was allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine, known as 'ice', twice in five days.
Police allege the Bendigo singer was first busted with 430 milligrams of ice in Shepparton on June 10. Just five days later on June 15, she was allegedly caught with a trafficable quantity of the drug, a large knife and a tomahawk - without lawful excuse.
The news came as a bombshell to friend and former employer Tony, who successfully hired Kate for a 20-gig tour of NSW, Queensland and Victoria with the James Southwell Band back in January and February.
'She was never late for a rehearsal or a show, and conducted herself in the most professional manner,' he says. '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.'
Kate narrowly beat Emily Williams to win Australian Idol in 2005. Her debut single Maybe Tonight went platinum and she later toured with platinum-selling Young Divas.
Kate is set to face court on October 4.
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea.