Coroner: Hutchence’s Death A Suicide — (Herald Sun)

Original article no longer available

02/07/1998 3:00 AM, LAUNCH

Bruce Haring

(2/7/98) – Michael Hutchence’s judgment was impaired by cocaine, alcohol and the anti-depressant Prozac, leading the INXS singer to commit suicide. That was the finding of Australian coroner Derrick Hand, who released his findings Friday in the November 22nd death of the 37-year old Hutchence.

“I am satisfied that the deceased intended and did take his own life,” Hand said. His investigation said Hutchence, found naked in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, had “apparently hanged himself with his own belt and the buckle broke away and his body was found kneeling on the floor and facing the door.”

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Michael Hutchence death explained: the Coroner’s account in his own words

Herald Sun, Melbourne

Michael Hutchence performing during an INXS concert in Switzerland in 1994. Source: AP

THEIR music is back on the charts and a telemovie is about to hit our screens.   But what really happened to INXS frontman Michael Hutchence?

The coroner who presided over the inquest into the charismatic singer’s strange 1997 death explains.

“I RECEIVED a completed police brief into the death of Michael Kelland Hutchence on November 22, 1997, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Double Bay.    Michael Hutchence dined with his father Kelland Hutchence the night before he died.

He was in good spirits but appeared very worried about the outcome of a custody suit in London.  Michael Hutchence was found dead at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Double Bay, Sydney. Source: News Limited

Mr Hutchence Sr could offer no explanation as to why his son would take his own life.   Kym Wilson and Andrew Rayment were with Hutchence in his hotel room from some time after 11 that night and left about 5am.

Hutchence was found naked behind the door to his room, 524. Source: News Limited

According to Ms Wilson, Hutchence appeared to want them to remain with him to offer support if the result of his custody hearing was unfavourable.   His mood was “elevated however pensive when discussing court proceedings”.

All three persons consumed alcohol, including vodka, beer and champagne together with cocktails during this time. Whilst Ms Wilson and Mr Rayment were in the room, Martha Troup, Hutchence’s personal manager, rang from New York.

Sir Robert Geldof received two telephone calls from Hutchence, the first about 5.30am.   It was of a short duration and Geldof asked him to call back.   Paula Yates provided a statement regarding the background to the custody dispute between her and Sir Robert Geldof.

She stated that she rang Hutchence at some time prior to 5.38am and he told her he was going to beg Geldof to let her children come out to Australia.  The balcony outside Hutchence’s hotel room. Source: News Limited

 She had told Hutchence the custody matter had not been finalised and was adjourned until December 17 and she would not be bringing the children out.   Ms Yates stated that the deceased sounded “desperate”.

The second call from Hutchence was then received by Geldof. This was of some length.  Geldof refers to the deceased’s demeanour as being “hectoring and abusive and threatening” in nature.

INXS members (from left) Tim Farriss, Garry Gary Beers, Michael Hutchence, Jon Farriss, Andrew Farriss and Kirk Pengilly. Source: News Limited

Hutchence performs at a concert in London just months before his death. Source: AP

 He refers to Hutchence as “begging” to allow him to let the children come to Australia.  Hutchence did not sound depressed during the conversation.  A friend of both Geldof and Paula Yates, Belinda Brewin, confirms the substance of the conversation between the two.

An INXS publicity shot from 1988. Source: News Limited

 A statement obtained from Gail Coward, the occupant of the room directly next to Hutchence, alludes to her hearing a loud male voice and expletives emitting from his room about 5am.

I am satisfied she was hearing the phone conversation between Hutchence and Geldof.  Later at 9.38am, Ms Troup received via voicemail a call from Hutchence in which he said: “Martha, Michael here, I f—ing had enough.”

She rang the hotel immediately and the telephone rang out.  A further call was received at 9.50am on Ms Troup’s answering machine.  Hutchence sounded as if he was affected by something and was slow and deep.

This call worried Ms Troup and she spoke to John Martin, the tour manager for INXS.  Mr Martin refers to a note received from the deceased stating that he was “not going to rehearsals today”.

Singer Michael Hutchence was in a depressed state the morning he died, the Coroner found. Source: News Limited

 The rehearsal was to be the last one before the start of the tour and was quite important.

Michelle Bennett, a former de facto of Hutchence, received two calls from him that morning.

The first was on an answering machine and Hutchence sounded “drunk”. During the second call at 9.54am, Hutchence began to cry and, according to Ms Bennett, sounded “very upset”.

She was concerned about his demeanour and told him she would come immediately.

However, she was not able to rouse him by knocking loudly on his door, nor by ringing him.

She wrote a note and left it at reception.

Ms Bennett stated that Hutchence never expressed previous inclinations regarding suicide.

Hutchence was found at 11.50am, naked behind the door to his room.

Hutchence with his then girlfriend Kylie Minogue, in 1989. Source: News Limited

 He had apparently hanged himself with his own belt and the buckle broke away and his body was found kneeling on the floor and facing the door.

A statement obtained from Hutchence’s mother, Patricia Glassop, confirms her opinion that he was in a depressed state.

In December 1995, Hutchence was first prescribed Prozac by Dr J. Borham, a London medical practitioner, to treat a depressive problem.

He was last prescribed Prozac on November 1, 1997 (three weeks before his death).

London psychiatrist Mark Collins was consulted by Hutchence on October 17, 1997, in regard to a minor depression being experienced by him. Dr Collins said there was no hint of suicidal thinking by Hutchence.

An analysis report of Hutchence’s blood indicates the presence of alcohol, cocaine, Prozac and prescription drugs.

It has been suggested the death resulted from an act of auto eroticism.

Hutchence and Paula Yates with their baby Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily. Source: News Limited

 However, there is no forensic or other evidence to substantiate this suggestion.

I therefore discount that manner of death.

On consideration of the entirety of the evidence I am satisfied Hutchence was in a severe depressed state on the morning of November 22, 1997.

Hutchence’s blood showed traces of alcohol, cocaine, Prozac and prescription drugs. Source: News Limited

 This was due to a number of factors, including the relationship with Paula Yates and the pressure of the ongoing dispute with Sir Robert Geldof, combined with the effects of the substances that he had ingested at that time.

I am satisfied the cause of death was “hanging”.  I am also satisfied there was no other person involved in causing the death.  Nothing will be gained by holding a formal inquest.

The identity of the deceased, the date and place of death and the manner and cause of death are clearly set out and the time and expense of holding an inquest is not warranted and will be dispensed with.   May I offer to the family of Michael Hutchence my sincere condolences on their sad loss.


NSW State Coroner”