| 10°C Dublin

Doctor 'distracted' by calls to 3 women on day Jackson died

DR Conrad Murray's complicated love life became entangled with the life and death of his patient Michael Jackson, prosecutors have suggested.

They called a parade of women witnesses yesterday who received phone calls from him as Jackson was near death.

The evidence was designed to show that the doctor was trying to juggle his medical practice, personal life and superstar patient all at the same time and was so distracted he failed to give Jackson proper care.



drugs

Murray's phone records from the day Jackson died were displayed in court as a backdrop for the testimony of those at the other end of the phone calls.

Three of them were current and former girlfriends and one was the manager of Murray's Houston office.

Nicole Alvarez, who lives with Murray and is the mother of his young son, was a key witness. She said she received a phone call from Murray as he rode in an ambulance beside Jackson's lifeless body on June 25, 2009.

"I remember him telling me that he was on the way to the hospital in an ambulance with Mr Jackson and not to be alarmed," Ms Alvarez said.

Three more calls to her were recorded that day.

Another woman who was speaking on the phone with Murray said the call was interrupted and the physician was no longer paying attention to her.

Sade Anding said she heard voices, coughing and mumbling on Murray's end of the line. She said it sounded like his cell phone was in his pocket.

Ms Anding said Murray called her at 11.51am. About five or six minutes into their call she noticed Murray was no longer paying attention.

In court yesterday, Ms Alvarez was depicted as an unwitting conduit for Murray's purchases of the powerful anaesthetic propofol which Jackson craved as a sleep aid.

Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter, accused of giving the star an overdose of the drug and failing to respond properly when he found him not breathing.

Murray denies the charge, and his attorneys claim Jackson took the fatal dose himself.

Ms Alvarez recounted how she received many shipments of boxes for Murray in April, May and June 2009 but did not open them and had no idea of their contents. The pharmacist who shipped them to her apartment from Las Vegas testified that he thought he was shipping to Murray's medical office.

FedEx and pharmacy receipts displayed by Deputy District Attorney Deborah Brazil showed that they contained large amounts of propofol, sedatives and a skin whitening cream used to treat the skin disease vitiligo from which Jackson suffered.

Tim Lopez, the Las Vegas pharmacist who filled orders from Murray, testified that over four months he purchased 255 vials of propofol, 20 vials of the sedative lorazepam, 60 vials of midazolam and several tubes of lidocaine which was intended to numb injection areas. He also purchased saline solution in IV bags.

Murray told police after Jackson's death that he was giving the singer propofol as a sleep aid.



exciting

Ms Alvarez recalled the doctor telling her that he was Jackson's private physician. The 29-year-old actress said she found it exciting.

"It was Michael Jackson!" she exulted when she recounted meeting the star. She said Murray surprised her, telling her he was taking her to meet someone and then they arrived at Jackson's home.

"I was speechless," Ms Alvarez said. "I couldn't believe I was meeting Michael Jackson."

She said she and Murray met Jackson several other times. "Michael was very interested in my baby," she said. "He wanted to schedule a visit so he could see my son."

Ms Alvarez said she brought the little boy to Jackson's home twice for visits.

hnews@herald.ie