Friday, 20 June 2014

Paula, Michael & Bob

"Yeah, It was getting weird for a while there... Your phones get tapped..."
- Michael Hutchence on "The Papparazzi"

"Time to change the tape, boys!"
- Standard phrase employed by Diana, Princess of Wales whenever "clicks" could be heard over her private phone line

"I know the difference between when the phone is out of order and when there's people listening - all I can say is, there's a lorra "repairs" going on in the cellar... They were following me - in a car; but not hiding it, y'see, they wanted me to know I was being followed..."
- John Winston Ono Lennon, 1972

"The verdict is unlawful killing, grossly negligent driving of the following vehicles and of the Mercedes."

"Yeah, they're livin' large! They're at The Regent, I found out! They're in a better hotel than me!"
- Michael Hutchence on "The Papparazzi" stalking him, Paula and Tiger in Sydney

"I thought he must have left some kind of clue somewhere...."
- Michael's Brother

"I don't think he killed himself"
- Michael's Brother

"I just don't think he killed himself"
- Paula

"You said that Michael killed himself and that Paula killed herself - they didn't; they just didn't."
- Bob

"Perhaps you should try and figure it out for yourself!" Diamond snapped. "Michael and Paula were out of the country and during that time only a few people had any real access to the place: Bob Geldof, Anita Debney, the nanny who used to work for Bob for twelve or so years, and a woman called Gerry Agar, who had developed a grudge against both Paula and Michael. 

The police were called days after the nanny claimed she'd found two Smarty packets with opium in them.  Geldof immediately had a new custody application before the courts, 'in light of recent events.' The local police and prosecutors had the media on their case. There was enormous pressure on them, but even they had to admit something was a bit fishy. [The court] dropped all charges, remember, and Michael was issued with a certificate of non-prosecution by the Crown."

When asked if Hutchence "got off" fairly, Diamond snapped again: "Got off, GOT OFF?? I think the question should be who tried to get him on. You figure it out!" 

COMPERE: And finally the lurid life of Paula Yates has taken another tabloid twist with her decision to reveal graphic details about the poly-filler progenitive sex life of her partner, Michael Hutchins. (It's not often you get a chance to use that word!).

Ms Yates says she's bidding to overturn the New South Wales' coroner's ruling that the INXS star committed suicide. Ms Yates, who was previously married to Sir Bob Geldof, wants the coroner, Derek Hand, to overturn his findings and deliver an open verdict. She's told Britain's Channel 4 television network that she believes Hutchins accidentally killed himself while trying to perform a so called auto-erotic sex act.

Mark Tamhane reports.

UNIDENTIFIED: On the 22nd of November, 1997, Michael Hutchins, the lead singer of INXS, was found dead in a hotel bedroom in Sydney. The coroner of New South Wales said it was suicide. The coroner reached his verdict after studying a brief prepared by local police. Channel 4 has seen that brief and it contains evidence that points to a very different verdict.

MARK TAMHANE: As far as Britain's Channel 4 is concerned, Michael Hutchins was not a sad and tragic figure who took his own life in a Sydney hotel room because he was being ripped apart by a devastating custody battle between his lover Paula Yates and her former husband, Bob Geldof.

Instead, the makers of INXS, the death of Michael Hutchins seem convinced the singer accidentally killed himself while trying to perform auto-erotic asphyxia, a dangerous form of masturbation where the perpetrator deliberately restricts his or her oxygen supply supposedly in a bid to heighten the pleasure of the act.

As evidence, the programme interviews Professor Steven Hucker, a world authority on auto-erotic asphyxia who claims that the New South Wales police and state coroner Derek Hand missed vital clues which all point to accidental death rather than suicide.

There's the mysterious presence of a ring-bolt screw among the possessions discovered in Hutchins' room. Presumably an object from which one could hang a rope or belt, or to attempt auto-erotic asphyxia. But Channel 4's trump card is the testimony of Paula Yates, Hutchins' lover at the time of his death and the mother of his daughter, Heavenly Hirany Tiger Lily.

PAULA YATES: I told you, he's a dangerous boy. He's dangerous. Wild. He could have done anything at any time. The one thing he wouldn't have done is just left us.

MARK TAMHANE: The stories about Michael Hutchins' voracious sexual appetite and the way he's said to have continually lived his life on the edge dominate the programme. A friend, Nick Egan, relates a story about how Hutchins allegedly had sex with former girlfriend Kylie Monogue in a Qantas jet.

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke is said to have been sitting a few seat rows forward in the same cabin. He's alleged to have turned around and winked at the couple at a particularly crucial moment.

It's all been great copy for Britain's tabloid newspapers especially as Monogue, who now lives in England, has refused to deny the story.

Paula Yates also claims that Hutchins has talked to her about attempting auto-erotic asphyxiation. She talks candidly about their sex life. She claims she's only spoken out to try to get coroner Derek Hand to change his verdict for the sake of Hutchins' daughter.

PAULA YATES: People should think of her. She's who... what drives me on this, what makes me talk about it. I want her to have some vision of her father that is true, and that he would never ever have taken a cowardly way out or left her.

Because people do do these things, lots of people do these things. It's no big deal. It went wrong, but it's no big deal what he did and I just want it stop being made grubby.

MARK TAMHANE: The sad thing the Channel 4 programme highlights is the way speculation about how Michael Hutchins died is still causing rifts between his nearest and dearest. Paula Yates is apparently convinced that Hutchins didn't mean to kill himself. His brother, Rhett, appears open to the possibility that Michael might have died in a tragic accident. 

But Michael's father Kel is convinced that talk of auto-erotic asphyxiation is rubbish. As far as he's concerned, his son took his own life during a sudden, inexplicable bout of despair.

This is Mark Tamhane in London for PM.

COMPERE: And that's all in the programme for tonight.

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