herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Jackson lay dying as doctor tried to hide drug bottles, claims star's aide

CHAOS: Children 'cried as they saw desperate rescue bid in bedroom'

Michael Jackson's doctor halted resuscitation on the dying pop star and delayed calling paramedics so he could collect drug vials at the scene, according to documents that shed new light on the singer's chaotic final moments.

The explosive allegation that cardiologist Dr Conrad Murray may have tried to hide evidence is likely to be a focus as prosecutors move ahead with their involuntary manslaughter case against him.

The account was given to investigators by Alberto Alvarez, Jackson's logistics director, who was summoned to the stricken star's side as he was dying on June 25.

His statement and those from two other Jackson employees paint a grisly scene in Jackson's bedroom.

Mr Alvarez told investigators that he rushed to Jackson's room and saw the star lying in his bed, an IV attached to his leg.

Jackson's mouth and eyes were open and there was no sign of life. Murray worked frantically, at one point performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while Mr Alvarez took over CPR.

Two of the star's children, Prince and Paris, came in the room and cried as they saw Murray trying to save their father. A nanny was called to usher them away and they were taken to wait outside in a vehicle.

The documents also detail an odd encounter with Murray after Jackson was declared dead at a nearby hospital.

Murray insisted he needed to return to the mansion to get cream that Jackson had "so the world wouldn't find out about it," according to the statements.

Murray's lawyer, Ed Chernoff, rejected the notion his client tried to hide drugs. He also noted Mr Alvarez was interviewed twice by police and gave different accounts of what happened in Jackson's bedroom. During the first interview, Mr Alvarez made no mention of being told to tidy away medicine vials.

"He didn't say any of those things, then two months later, all of a sudden, the doc is throwing bottles into the bag," Mr Chernoff said.

Mr Alvarez and the others who gave the statements, Jackson's personal assistant Michael Amir Williams and driver/bodyguard Faheem Muhammad, could be key witnesses should Murray go to trial.

Jackson (50) hired Murray to be his personal physician as he prepared for a series of comeback performances in London.

The Los Angeles coroner ruled Jackson's death a homicide caused by an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and two other sedatives given to get the insomniac to sleep.

The California Attorney General's office asked a court to suspend Murray's licence pending the outcome of criminal proceedings against him.

hnews@herald.ie

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