I've talked to people .i have this idea to get myself kitnapped; WIDOW BREAKS 44-YEAR SILENCE OVER HOSTAGE HEIST; EXCLUSIVE.
IT was a crime which stunned the globe. Not so much the kidnapping of the grandson of the richest man in the world such wealth will always attract the wrong kind of attention.
No, it was incredulity at J Paul Getty's refusal to pay the ransom when 16-year-old John Paul Getty III was abducted by the Roman Mafia in 1973.
In the end he was held for five months and only returned after much negotiation about reducing the $17million ransom and the encouragement of a cutoff ear from the criminals.
Now no less than Danny Boyle, the mastermind of that spectacular London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, is causing controversy with a TV drama about the saga, which started this week.
In BBC2's Trust he suggests victim John Paul Getty III, known as Little Paul, came up with the plan for the kidnap in the first place.
This week Little Paul's wife has confirmed for the first time he did discuss such an idea with her in advance of the crime. Gisela Getty said he speculated about his own kidnap, aiming to use the profits to create an arts colony paradise in Marrakech, where LSD would flood the water supply.
Gisela, now 69, admits: "We wanted to do something better with the money than they did - to make a better world, but it got us into very deep waters."
The money "wasn't to make us rich. It was really to bring our vision into the material world".
This "vision" consisted of 10 "crazy ideas a day" cooked up by Little Paul, Gisela and her twin sister, Jutta Winkelmann.
In their hippy world of nightclubs and political demonstrations, Little Paul shared a bed with both of the radical German sisters, known as the "It girls" of Rome, in his "Dungeon" - a squalid basement with no windows.
The daughters of a Nazi SS officer, the twins were already famous in their native Germany when they moved to Rome in early 1973. At 23, they were seven years his senior, and the trio envisioned a left-wing utopia.
In TV's Trust, a different story is suggested that Little Paul owed money because he had run up drug bills with the Mafia, with him saying in one scene: "You can take me and get the money from my grandfather." But Gisela maintains that he abandoned his plan, saying: "I think he was taken against his will, against his wishes."
For four decades Gisela, mother of the actor Balthazar Getty with Little Paul as well as Anna from a previous marriage, has not broken the Getty family's code of silence.
But the death of Jutta from cancer last year and the release of fictional dramas of the story have made her speak out.
The first was Ridley Scott's 2017 film All the Money in the World - for which disgraced Kevin Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer, 88, as the miserly John Paul Getty.
In interviews since the release of the 10-episode Trust in America earlier this year, Gisela says: "One day Paul said, 'I have talked to people. I have this idea to let myself be kidnapped and then get a place in Morocco. I am his favourite grandson. It is all going to be a matter of a week or so.'" Gisela says no one, Little Paul included, really took the idea seriously. That was until the Mafia got involved.
Little Paul was friendly with the gangsters who kidnapped him, Gisela says, selling paintings in exchange for drugs. But then Gisela and Jutta's lives came under threat. They were told by a Mafia boss called Ciambellone he wanted to invest in a film they were making, but he lured them into a trap. The twins were kept for two days by cocaine-fuelled captors.
During their ordeal, they were tied up, threatened with rape and strangulation and forced to watch pornography. Ciambellone stabbed himself because Jutta refused to be his mistress.
"There was blood all over the floor," says Gisela, who later had r. e l an affair with Dennis Hopper. The twins managed to break free and insisted Little Paul cut all ties with his Mafia "friends".
Weeks later, he vanished.
Little Paul had been thrown into the back of a van and put in a cave more than 300 miles south of Rome. The Mafia killed his pet bird and played Russian roulette against his head when ransom note was rejected by his grandfather, who despite being worth $2billion had payphones for guests at his Surrey mansion. "I have 14 grandchildren," he said. "If I pay a penny I'll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren."
He suspected the plot was about Little Paul trying to extort money fro GISELA G him. Meanwhile, the victim's father was desperately trying to get the ransom together.
Then, in November 1973, a torn, bloody ear was sent to a newspaper. A letter read: "This is Paul's first ear. If within 10 days the family still believes that this is a joke mounted by him, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits."
He developed pneumonia after what was left of his injured ear became infected. His grandad eventually stumped up the cash but only as much as was tax deductible, lending a further $1million to his son Big Paul, John Paul's father - as long as he repaid it plus 4% interest.
Gisela says Little Paul, a "lovely naive boy", never fully recovered from the "tragic experience" which left him physically and emotionally scarred.
The ear in the post "was so terrifying, beyond words", she says. "It was the cruellest and most unimaginable thing."
Nine men were arrested for the crime and two were convicted - but Little Paul was shunned by Getty and fell out with Big Paul in the wake of the kidnapping, and descended into heroin and alcohol addiction.
He wed Gisela, already pregnant with Balthazar, nine months after his release but the marriage finally broke down.
A stroke in 1981 left him quadriplegic, partially blind and unable to speak. He died seven years ago, aged 54.
Was Gisela's late husband the kidnap mastermind? "I think Paul abandoned the idea, but was so involved he could not get out."
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BEAUTY Gisela in 1977
TV DRAMALittle Paul and the twins in Trust
Italian police search a farmhouse THE HUNT
THE CASH Police count out ransom money
Little Paul in wheelchair 2003 THE LEGACY
THE ORDEAL John Paul Getty III had an ear cut off