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THE final desperate hours of rock star Michael Hutchence were revealed on Sunday by the two detectives who investigated his death.
Before he hanged himself in his hotel room in Sydney in November 1997, Hutchence had been rummaging through a bin, desperate to find drugs, they said.
In the same bin, they found the lyrics of the last song he wrote, which have never been published.
They also told of the despair of his girlfriend, Paula Yates, and her very public insistence that Hutchence had died accidentally during a sex game.
Former detective-inspectors Mark Smith and Michael Gerondis spoke out publicly for the first time amid controversy in Australia over a two-part TV film about Hutchence’s band, INXS, shown over the weekend and criticised as inaccurate by his family.
The 37-year-old singer killed himself at the height of a bitter custody row over Yates’s children with her husband Bob Geldof.
The two Australian detectives told how they found evidence of a troubled man on the path to self-destruction. Hutchence’s fingers were dark with nicotine stains and he had an old cigarette burn so deep that it exposed the bone, they said.
The officers said there were signs that Hutchence had been trying to find drugs before he died. The singer had even rifled through a bin. “He was trying to get some cocaine but he did not get it so he was going through the bin,” said Gerondis.
It was at 11.50am the next day that a hotel maid found the singer, who had hanged himself with a belt attached to the door.
“The maid could not get in because he was behind the door and as she pushed the door the belt snapped and he fell,” said Gerondis.
Coroner Derrick Hand later ruled that Hutchence had committed suicide in a depressed state of mind while affected by drugs – a mind that was also tormented by the battle over custody of Yates’s children. The legal fight meant that Hutchence’s own daughter with her, 16-month-old Tiger Lily, was not going to be able to visit him in Australia that Christmas.
Yates never accepted the ruling that Hutchence had committed suicide, claiming in a TV interview that he had died during an auto-erotic sex game.
Such was her determination to make her point about this to police that when she arrived in Australia following his death she shouted at the detectives in a restaurant while giving graphic details of the sex games she and Hutchence played. “He would strangle me during sex,” she told them.
“She was shouting at us, everyone was listening in, and I thought, ‘How embarrassing is this?’,”Gerondis said.
Smith said Yates went “berserk”, drinking a bottle of vodka at a luxury flat she had checked into.
“It was a circus getting her in and out,” said Gerondis.
“We could not talk to her for a while because she was so upset.”
Smith said nothing would convince Yates that Hutchence had taken his own life.
“She was just adamant that she wanted her child growing up believing that it was an accidental death by auto-eroticism, instead of the fact that he killed himself because he wanted to see his child,” he said.
The two police officers said they were convinced that it was an argument with Geldof on the phone that day that had resulted in him plunging into depression.
Gerondis said the row and the involvement of drugs meant that “nothing was working” for Hutchence that night. He rang his agent and said: “I’ve had enough.”
The singer’s devastated family asked police to hand over personal items collected from the hotel room, including the partially written song. But it all went to the executor of Hutchence’s will, Hong Kong accountant Colin Diamond, and it is not known what happened to the song. Hutchence’s family received no money from his estate.
Yates died of a heroin overdose in 2000. Geldof has brought up Tiger Lily along with their other three daughters. – Daily Mail