Katya Kinski Dichen Lachman
Katya Kinski 2005-2007
Lived: 28 Ramsay Street
Born: c. 1984
Parents: Alex and Francesca Kinski
Siblings: Rachel and Zeke
Family Tree: Kinski
Occupation: Nurse at Erinsborough & District Hospital
The forthright eldest daughter of Francesca and Alex Kinski, Katya struggled to cope when, at the age of 16, her mother passed away after a long illness. In the wake of the tragedy, Katya started to lash out at those around her, eventually turning on her younger siblings, Rachel and Zeke. Alex realised at this point that, for the safety of the younger two children, Katya would have to leave. She was thrown out of the house and, in the five years that followed, she had no contact with her family.
During those five years, Katya gradually turned her life around, earning a nursing diploma and finding work at the Stanning Rehabilitation Clinic, as well as changing her name to Catherine and adopting her mother’s maiden name, Sangmu. It was whilst working at the clinic that Rachel and Zeke tracked their older sister down, having traced her through an advert in the Big Issue. Katya was stunned to see them, but agreed to listen as they explained that Alex was terminally ill, and was getting married to Erinsborough schoolteacher Susan Smith. They pleaded with Katya to attend the wedding and patch things up with Alex before it was too late, but Katya refused. Later that day, when Alex’s doctor, Karl Kennedy, arrived to collect Rachel and Zeke, Katya listened as he spoke to them about how worried Alex was. Stung by guilt, Katya went to the address that her siblings had given her, 28 Ramsay Street, and sat outside in her car. Karl then emerged from the house and convinced Katya that this could be her last chance to speak to her dad and she would always regret it if she didn’t take it.
Inside, Katya and Alex were given some time alone by the rest of the family, but she struggled to accept his apologies, eventually telling him that she could never forgive him for what he did to her. As she went to leave, Alex begged her to stay for the ceremony and she reluctantly agreed. Katya awkwardly watched as the wedding unfolded, before signing her name as a witness. That evening, Alex slept on the couch, and Katya went to sleep in the spare bedroom, asking Susan to call her if her father awoke, as she had to speak to him. Later, Alex woke briefly and said his goodbyes to Susan, before passing away, with Katya watching the entire scene from the doorway.
Following a difficult Christmas, Katya stuck around in Ramsay Street to help look after her siblings, but relations with Susan were extremely strained. Katya eventually told Susan that she blamed her for not having that final chance to forgive her dad. Susan assured her that it wasn’t a deliberate act and that Alex had passed away very quickly, but Katya still felt a huge resentment. Things only got worse when, following the funeral, the family took Zeke, who had been refusing to speak since his father’s death, to see Karl. When Rachel mentioned that Karl was Susan’s ex-husband, and not just the family doctor, Katya was confused as to why she was only just learning this, and began to wonder just how dead the feelings were between Susan and Karl. As Susan, Rachel and Zeke set off for the honeymoon, in Belarus, later that day, Katya assured Susan that she was sorry for what she’d said and she would try to get along with her new stepmother. However, as the car pulled away, the expression on Katya’s face said otherwise.
In the weeks that her siblings and stepmother were away, Katya managed to find a new flat nearer to them, as well as nursing work at Erinsborough Hospital. She was upset to learn from new colleague Karl that Susan, Rachel and Zeke had returned early from the trip and quickly headed to the house to see them. With Zeke still suffering from mutism, Katya was annoyed to learn that he would be visiting Karl for some counselling sessions and arranged to have him transferred to another specialist, believing that Karl had ulterior motives and wanted Susan back. Following one of his counselling sessions, Zeke finally spoke and admitted to Katya that he was afraid to speak ever again, as, when his mother had been dying, he’d wished it had been his father instead. He told his older sister that he was afraid that he would lose Susan next and begged her not to share his secret with anyone else. Katya agreed and quickly used the fact that Zeke had confided in her to get one over on Susan. However, after yet another argument between the two women, they both calmed down and agreed to have dinner together and try to work through their problems for the sakes of Rachel and Zeke.
Unfortunately, the dinner ended badly when Katya suddenly worked out that Karl had broken his Hippocratic oath by telling Susan about Alex’s illness. Armed with this new information, Katya began to once again wonder if Susan’s ex-husband had genuinely moved on, before announcing that she had decided to go for custody of her younger brother and sister. During mediation, Katya brought up many incidents from Karl’s past, including an incident in which a student, Janae Timmins, had accused him of taking things further than just counselling, and that Susan had been acting principal at the time. Realising that some of Katya’s mud-slinging was bound to stick in family court, Susan asked her lawyer - and friend - Toadie to complete a background check on her enemy, hoping that she’d find something to fight back with. When the information came back, Toadie attempted to save Katya by blacking it out, but Susan forced him to tell her everything. When Susan found out exactly what Katya had been up to during her years away from her family, she spoke to Katya about it and claimed that, although she was impressed with the way she had since rebuilt her life, she wasn’t sure whether she would use the information in court. The situation got more complicated when Rachel electrocuted herself and Zeke was finally forced to speak as he called for an ambulance. When Susan spotted the three of them together in the hospital room, laughing and bonding as a family, she started to wonder if she was doing the right thing by fighting for custody.
Several days later, Paula Beeman was sent to assess the situation before it went to the family court. She interviewed Susan and Katya, as well as Rachel and Zeke, about their feelings on the situation and, when given the opportunity to mention Katya’s past, Susan opted not to. Later, when being interviewed by Paula, Katya blurted out that she’d done some bad things in her past, not realising that Susan hadn’t said anything. A grateful Katya thanked Susan and decided that she would tell Rachel and Zeke herself. But Susan quickly realised that it would be of no benefit to anyone if the kids found out the truth about their elder sister and managed to stop Katya just in time. The two women then sat down for a proper chat, and Susan decided that Katya should be given custody of her siblings. Katya was delighted to be given the chance to make up for the past and agreed to Susan’s terms that she should still be a meaningful part of their lives. The kids then spent one final evening with Susan at number 28 before packing up their things and moving to Katya’s flat.
After a shaky start, things settled down for the Kinski siblings, though Katya became increasingly uncomfortable with Rachel’s friendship with uni student Stingray Timmins, four years her senior. However, realising that she was driving her sister away by being too strict, Katya relaxed her rules, which only made matters worse. Susan was alarmed when the kids turned up late for school one morning, having slept in after spending all night watching DVDs. And the situation got worse when Zeke ended up in hospital with alcohol poisoning after innocently drinking from a bottle that Stingray had accidentally left behind. Susan’s concerns grew and she began to wonder whether Katya was cut out to be a full-time guardian to her siblings. Things came to a head when Zeke’s behaviour at school deteriorated, but it turned out that he was simply defending his girlfriend, Bree, from bullies and it had nothing to do with his home life. However, after seeing how upset Susan was, and realising that she wasn’t happy living alone, the kids decided that it would be best for everyone if all three of them moved back to Ramsay Street and Susan was delighted to have a family to fuss over once again.
Romance was also on the cards for Katya, when Paul Robinson’s son, Cameron, arrived in Erinsborough and started work as a hospital orderly. Although the attraction was strong, what Katya didn’t realise was that she was actually getting close to Cameron’s identical twin, Robert, who had put his brother in a coma and come to town to get revenge on his father. Little realising that he was constantly plotting behind her back, Katya grew close to Robert and the pair enjoyed a couple of dates, though struggled to take things any further. Robert, still pretending to be Cameron, finally opened up to her and explained that, although he had something of a reputation as a ladies’ man, he was actually quite inexperienced. Katya admitted that she was the same, and they agreed to take things slowly, though every time she got close to him, he would mysteriously clam up and ask her to leave. At the hospital, Robert visited his comatose twin and told him that he hadn’t banked on falling in love when he came to Erinsborough, and that Katya was getting in the way, so she would have to be disposed of. He suggested a picnic in a remote spot and Katya was happy that their relationship was finally moving along, little realising that he intended to push her off a cliff. Once there, however, fate intervened and, as she admired the view, Katya slipped and was left clinging on to a branch. Robert was forced to make a snap decision and pulled her to safety.
Katya was in for a nasty shock when, soon after, Paul started doing business with a man named Sean Dempster. He and Katya immediately recognised each other from her mysterious past and she was forced to open up to Robert about her chequered history. He immediately accepted what she was saying and, seeing another opportunity to hurt his father, not to mention a chance to make Katya happy, he went to see Sean and killed him. Katya was pleased, if not a little confused, by Sean’s sudden disappearance but thought little of it. Meanwhile, Katya got some part-time work at a nearby hospice, but, when Robert found out that it was St Luke’s – the hospice where Cameron was lying in a coma – he realised that he had to stop her. After offering to drive her to the hospice, he swerved the car en route, causing an accident to be narrowly avoided, and quickly suggested that they return home, as Katya had bumped her head. Meanwhile, Paul's girlfriend, Izzy Hoyland became another victim of Robert when he engineered it so that it looked like she’d been cheating on Paul – with him – and Paul threw her out of the house. Izzy gave Katya food for thought, warning her not to trust “Cameron” and, when she mentioned this to him, he said that he wanted to tell her everything, but couldn’t, and shocked her by ending their relationship.
Katya was upset and confused by what had happened, but it wasn’t long before the truth about Robert and Cameron came out. After setting up a bomb in his sister, Elle’s car, Robert visited his comatose brother, only to find that he’d woken up. Robert took his brother’s place in the bed, as the real Cameron headed to Erinsborough, where he was wrongly arrested for attempting to kill Elle, not to mention the string of other crimes that Robert had committed. Katya was left stunned by the news, but started to remember the incident at the cliff and the car crash and wondered if her boyfriend had been trying to get rid of her too. As she came to terms with the news, Toadie offered her plenty of support and the pair even kissed after he cheered her up with a picnic, but she told him that it could go no further, as she enjoyed their friendship too much.
Katya, meanwhile, grew more and more suspicious about the situation with Robert and Cameron. Robert had miraculously “awoken” from his coma, as Cameron languished in jail. When Robert then went to visit Katya with a bunch of tulips – her favourite flower – the meeting unnerved her. Despite several attempts, Katya failed to convince Paul, Elle or the triplets’ mother, Gail. However, when she then bumped into Robert again, this time at the pub, and he accidentally pushed her over, she began to have flashbacks to the accident at the cliff, as he helped her up. As Robert left for a camping trip with Paul, Katya became adamant that the wrong twin was in jail and something had to be done. This time, with Gail also having doubts about Robert’s odd behaviour, she convinced the Robinsons and Gail, Elle and Izzy headed up to the camp-site, which they found abandoned. A surprised Robert then turned up, having left his father to die in an old mineshaft, and, realising he’d been rumbled, ran off into the bush. Back in Ramsay Street, Katya and Toadie received word of what happened, and that Paul had been found alive. With Robert still on the loose, however, Toadie agreed to move into number 28, to make sure that someone was with Katya at all times.
The plan failed, however, when Toadie’s car broke down and they were forced to take taxis. As Robert listened from the bushes, he hatched a plan and kidnapped Katya whilst pretending to drive her to work. It wasn’t long before her concerned family heard that she hadn’t arrived at work that morning and a police search got underway. Meanwhile, a deluded Robert had tied up Katya and taken her to a campervan, where he told her that they would be able to start a new life together. Katya was aware that, before she’d been kidnapped, Paul and Gail had hatched a plan with the local police to get Robert to come out in the open, by pretending they were remarrying, knowing that Rob would hate the idea. So, when he went to get them some food, Katya asked him to buy a copy of the Erinsborough News, then made sure Robert saw the wedding announcement in the paper. She easily convinced him that he could trust her and that he had to stop the wedding but, as they headed back to Erinsborough, Robert caught Katya asking for help from a service station assistant and drugged her, before tying her up again. As Katya started to wake up, she saw Robert leaving the campervan with a gun, but was unable to do anything, as she passed out again.
When Katya was finally found by Susan and Toadie, after he spotted one of her pieces of clothing in the window of the van, she was in a terrible state, but relieved to learn that Robert had been captured at the wedding. As she attempted to rebuild her life, Katya started to feel smothered by the attention she was getting from Toadie but, as she pushed him away one day at Lassiter’s, she ran straight into the path of Max Hoyland’s car. Max, who had been talking on his mobile phone at the time, felt terrible, despite Katya having only minor injuries and visited her at the hospital, where she had stopped talking to anyone and had been taken to the psychiatric ward for tests. It soon became clear that Max was the only man that Katya would allow anywhere near her and he encouraged her to move on with her life, by signing her up to some Tibetan language classes, even agreeing to attend with her. Before long, the pair were going on a Buddhist retreat, hoping to learn more of the language but realising, too late, that it was more about meditating and eating vegan food. They decided to stay and give it a try and Katya soon found herself immersed in thoughts of an illicit affair with Max as she meditated. She realised that she was falling in love with him and mistakenly believed that he felt the same way. That evening, Max and Katya were shocked to realise that they’d been given a room with a double bed, and Katya was embarrassed as Max stripped down to his underwear and said they’d have to make the best of it. Things got more difficult for her as Max hurt his back and she was forced to give him a massage.
The next morning, during a breakfast of buckwheat porridge, Max and Katya decided to make a run for it. Max’s idea to take the scenic route home ended in disaster when they got lost, then broke down, and Katya angrily confronted him, suggesting that he had planned it all so that they could be alone together. She stormed off towards the nearest town and managed to hitch a ride back to Erinsborough and Max, upon his eventual return, went to see her to find out what was wrong. She blurted out that they were falling in love with each other, an accusation that Max strongly denied, leaving Katya humiliated. In the weeks that followed, word quickly got back to Steph about what had happened, when Susan accidentally let it slip, and Katya found herself the subject of much gossip. When she received a letter from Robert, telling her that they’d be together soon, she immediately turned to Max for help. He was in the midst of trying to save his marriage, but assured Katya that she would be safe as Robert was still locked up. Later that day, as Katya walked to her Tibetan class at the Eden Hills Civic Centre, Robert’s twin, Cameron, who had been released from jail following his brother’s capture, stopped and offered her a lift. She accepted, unaware that back in Ramsay Street, Max and Paul had heard from the prison that Robert had escaped. Max raced to find Katya and, when he spoke to her and realised who she was with, told her to run. A confused Cameron chased her, as she’d forgotten her bag, and Max, in a split second decision, skidded to a halt, knocking down Cam in the process.
At the hospital, everyone was distressed to realise that Robert had actually just been hiding from the guards and was still safely locked up, meaning that the twin lying in intensive care was Cameron. Although Katya backed up Max’s story that it wasn’t pre-meditated, she found herself ostracised, with Toadie and Steph both turning on her, and Steph angrily warning her to leave town. Katya took Steph’s words to heart and packed her bags, but Susan and Zeke convinced her to stay, with Susan telling her that, if she ran away from the situation without resolving anything, she’d never be able to set foot in Erinsborough again. But, when Cameron died from his injuries, it looked like Katya’s effect on the Hoyland family would be felt for a long time to come.
The following week, Max’s son, medical student Boyd Hoyland, found himself in trouble when he caught his new lecturer, Dr Sally Herbert, with stolen morphine, which she later planted on him. During a random locker search, as part of the hospital’s increased security measures, Boyd quickly hid the drugs in Katya’s locker, deciding that she had it coming to her anyway. But, after Katya was suspended and looked likely to lose her job, Boyd’s wife, Janae, confessed everything to Katya and Susan. Katya then caught Dr Herbert in a drugged-up state, about to treat a patient and reported her. Although Katya’s past as a drug addict was revealed in the process, Dr Herbert finally admitted that she had a problem. Katya’s past was about to be revealed to her younger siblings, too, when Zeke found a centrefold of his sister in a copy of Ambrosia magazine in number 28’s loft. Although he tried to hide it in his bag, his footy mates got hold of it, and before long copies were all over the hospital. After Zeke angrily confronted his sister, Katya was forced to explain to him and Rachel that she had once had a serious drug problem and had done many things to fund it, including posing for the centrefold, which had been the wake-up call that led her into rehab.
At the same time, Katya was growing close to neighbour Ned Parker, as they bonded over a shared secret love of the Backstreet Boys and he taught her to ride a bike, something her father had never felt the need to do. Romance quickly blossomed, but Katya was frustrated when Carmella Cammeniti, a former nun who Ned had once had a crush on, moved in across the street. Katya decided to play on this, dressing as a nun to seduce Ned and her plan worked. Despite Carmella’s half-hearted attempts to win Ned back, even dressing up as a nurse for him, he stayed with Katya and the pair had some brief happiness before Katya’s life was turned upside-down again by the arrival of Guy Sykes. Guy had known Katya during her time as Catherine Sangmu and her drug addiction and, having learnt about her fresh start, he decided to make some money from her. Initially claiming that he had a kidney problem and needed $10,000 for an operation, he blackmailed Katya with a DVD containing footage of her committing numerous crimes to fund her habit. Realising that she had little choice, Katya returned to her old habit of stealing cars in order to pay him off, but found that she actually still got quite a rush from the experience. Guy, meanwhile, continued to pester Katya for more money, threatening to send the footage to Zeke and Rachel, and she stole another car. After giving Guy the money, he met her in the Scarlet Bar, where Ned bumped into them and Guy claimed to be an old friend of Katya’s from nursing college. Realising how close she was getting to having her criminal past catch up with her, Katya agreed when Guy asked her for another $20,000, but she managed to resist when he gave her some drugs as an incentive to continue helping him.
Whilst stealing another car, Katya was spotted by Ned, who didn't recognise her in the dark and she promptly knocked him out and drove off, only realising later that she had stolen Karl's new car. A police chase then ensued and Katya was forced to dump the car and run off. After seeing Ned's bruises, her guilt got the better of her and she confessed to him, though he laughed, refusing to believe the story and thinking she was just trying to cheer him up. With Guy spending more and more time hanging around Rachel, Katya decided that she'd have to get rid of him once and for all. After lying that she'd obtained the $20,000, she arranged a meeting in a secluded spot, taking along a gun, but when Guy realised what she was up to, a tussle broke out and Katya ended up being the one shot and fell into a coma. As Katya lay unconscious, her family were stunned to realise that she was at the centre of a police investigation into a car stealing ring and they had plenty of evidence to back this up. Guy, meanwhile, was determined to get the money that he still thought existed and, after failing to find it, he decided that he'd have to wake up Katya with the help of a defibrilator. When Zeke caught him, Guy turned to threaten him, just as Katya stirred and, using what little energy she had, grabbed one of the paddles and shocked Guy on the back. Katya and Zeke then tried to escape but due to her poor health, only made it to the carpark. Guy, meanwhile, had disappeared by the time the police arrived. Things only got worse as Katya recovered in hospital, with Ned turning his back on her before she went into police custody. Although Karl insisted that she could no longer live at number 28, since her presence in the house had already put so many lives in danger, he and Susan did pay her bail, and, for Christmas, gave her a bond to find her own flat.
Just as things were starting to look up for Katya, she made the mistake of going to number 32, where Ned had been staying, to wish him a happy Christmas. There, as she awkwardly chatted to Steph, Guy burst in, waving a gun and demanding his money. Zeke was close behind, looking for his sister, while Toadie, who'd been in the shower, also got caught up in the situation, which ended with Toadie being shot in the back. Realising the implications, Katya decided that she'd already put her friends and family in too much danger and disappeared, skipping bail in the process. Rather than report her disappearance, Susan, Karl and Zeke decided to track her down before she was due to sign in at the police station. Only hours before her deadline, Zeke found her at Walker State Forest, in a cabin where their father had taken them when they were younger. Also camping there were Janelle Timmins and new boyfriend Senior Sergeant Allan Steiger, who got to hear about what was going on, and Katya was arrested. Back in the remand centre, she was informed by lawter Rosetta Cammeniti that she could probably avoid jail if she gave evidence against her criminal accomplices. Katya refused, as she felt that they could easily take revenge on her family, and decided to take her punishment. But a couple of weeks later, Katya was beaten up and, believing that it had been on the orders of Guy, she changed her mind and decided to give evidence. At the same time, Ned visited her and they passionately made up in her hospital room, and the good news kept coming as she went to court and received a suspended sentence.
There was then just one final hurdle to overcome, as Katya had to give evidence at Max's trial. Before the trial, Katya heard from Zeke, who was spending a few weeks training with the team, that the Adelaide Crows were looking for a new medical assistant. Realising that it was the fresh start she needed, Katya applied for the job. But another dark cloud was looming, when she realised that Ned was developing a serious gambling problem and had been stealing from the till at the Scarlet Bar. Following the trial, at which Robert had made a surprise appearance and proved to be dangerous enough for Max to fear for Katya's life, she told Ned about her plans and asked him to join her in Adelaide. He agreed, and the pair packed up to leave, with Katya thanking Susan for everything and promising to email Rachel everyday. Only a few metres down the road, their car suffered a flat tyre and, as Ned fixed it, Katya went to buy a newspaper and some drinks. When Ned found her, he watched as she removed the form guide from the newspaper and told her to relax as he could cope without a bet for a few days. However, when he then looked at the guide, he realised that a horse that Katya had talked him out of betting on the previous day, had won and he'd missed out on a $45,000 windfall. Deciding that his luck was in and that he was just running away from his problems, he went back to Ramsay Street, leaving Katya to make a new life for herself in Adelaide, alone.
• Dichen Lachman originally auditioned for the role of Elle Robinson and although she didn't fit that role, the part of Katya was then created for her
• Following her departure, it was mentioned that Katya was in a relationship with Adelaide Crows player Paul McClain, himself a former resident of Ramsay Street
• Click here to read our interview with Dichen
Episode 4871: Katya's Arrival
Episode 5143: Katya's Departure
Biography by Steve