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Sue Carroll's Column: Hutch's legacy of evil.

MICHAEL Hutchence was the pock-marked, greasy-haired lead singer of INXS who became a throbbing sex machine pulsating with testosterone when he stepped in front of the microphone.

It was much the same off-stage.

At least according to his lover and mother of his daughter Tiger Lily.

"He was wild," says Paula Yates in C4's In Excess: The Death Of Michael Hutchence. "A dangerous boy."

What Paula hoped to get across in this documentary was that Hutchence died in pursuit of sexual gratification when he wrapped a belt around his neck and swung from a hotel door. And not, as the coroner ruled, suicide.

In attempting to rescue her lover's mortal soul, unwittingly Paula has succeeded only in wrecking it.

Far from the Byronesque romantic lover, another image of the INXS rocker emerges, that of a satanic, wilful, crazed, perverse thrill-seeker who took control of her life and comprehensively tore it apart.

Paula's been judged by some as a spoilt, silly, mixed-up girl who has no one but herself to blame for the catalogue of disasters that have befallen her.

I'm now inclined to believe that from the day she met Hutchence, she was drawn into a circle of pain and hurt from which there was no escape.

Here is a man who, in his irrepressible selfish urge to live life on the edge, deliberately put himself and those closest to him at risk, whether it was with drink, drugs or mind games.

Once, a friend reveals, he watched as a lunatic pal aimed a gun at his one-time girlfriend Kylie Minogue and shot the rose she was sniffing from under her nose.

"Michael got a certain thrill and fear from that," he recalled. Of course he did - he was playing Russian roulette and someone else was pulling the trigger. It was the ultimate evil power trip. And eventually Paula Yates would become the ultimate victim.

This woman, who had spent her entire life in the thrall of domineering men, must have been a walkover for Hutchence, the master of manipulation.

Jess Yates, the man who raised her and who she regarded as father until DNA tests proved otherwise, liked her to sit in a box by his side where she would remain until he allowed her to move. Paula adored him.

Cold, aloof Bob Geldof, whose mother died when he was seven, housed her in a Kent abbey and created his very own Madonna surrounded by babies. He pulled Paula's strings, emotionally and financially till they snapped.

But her encounter with Hutchence was the timebomb. He was the fantasy figure who we now learn seduced her within 30 minutes of their first meeting and whose Svengali-like hold, has lost none of its grip - even from beyond the grave.

He left not the legacy of love she likes to imagine, but a web of deceit and confusion from which she'll never escape. The result has been a turbulent, downward spiral, emotional breakdown, public displays of grief, child custody wrangles and rumours of suicide.

"Michael thought I was a combination of someone who wore baby-doll nighties, but at the same time had a lot of children," she says, `"and he liked the idea that he could have everything."

It was no idea - it was a reality. He had gullible eternal rock chick Paula not just teasing, pleasing and even bearing him a child but also indulging his perversions. I've no doubt Hutchence was a victim of his legendary sexual appetite and died after an experiment with auto-erotic asphyxiation went wrong. And although I can appreciate why Paula wishes to prove he didn't want to abandon her or Tiger Lily, it makes little difference in the scheme of things.

He was more wrapped up in his own self-obsessive pleasure-seeking than he ever was in her or their little girl.

Paula tearfully pleads the reason she wants the truth is for the sake of Tiger Lily: "I want her to have some vision of her father that is true. He would never ever take a cowardly way out or have left her." Some vision.

Of course, she's too young to cope with the sordid facts about her dad's death, but what kind of respect will Tiger Lily have for her parents when , in years to come, she sees a video of her mother crying on screen for a man who she proudly admits would sink to any sort of depravity and even risk his own life and her security to satisfy his sexual urges?

If their daughter is overwhelmed with any emotion, I fear it will simply be despair.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Carroll, Sue
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 18, 1999
Words:765
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