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The story of Bob Geldof, Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates

It was a bright but chilly September morning in 1995 when Maidstone Magistrates' Court provided the setting for the latest chapter in one of the most notorious celebrity love triangles of modern times.

Paparazzi gathered outside the entrance, while intrigued by-standers stood wondering what the commotion was about.

Michael Hutchence was the front man for rock sensation INXS
Michael Hutchence was the front man for rock sensation INXS

Reporters side-stepped the growing numbers in a bid to get inside the court for a ring-side seat.

The arrival of the chief protagonist was signalled by the frenzied clicking of camera shutters and the predictable pushing and shoving as photographers jockeyed for the best shot.

Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of Australian rock giants INXS, entered the small courtroom and sat facing the bench, with his back to an assortment of press and fans.

He looked every inch the rock star in court; slim and well groomed, wearing tinted-glasses and impeccably dressed in a dark, expensive-looking suit. He exuded a presence only those capable of holding sell-out stadiums in the palm of their hand can.

At the time, his band was one of the world's biggest. The album Kick, released in 1987, had catapulted them into the stratosphere, racing up the charts not only in their homeland of Australia but in the UK and the lucrative US market too.

Michael Hutchence's life is examined in the Mystify film
Michael Hutchence's life is examined in the Mystify film

Hits like New Sensation, Need You Tonight and Never Tear Us Apart continue to be radio regulars today.

The case itself didn't last long.

He was facing charges of assaulting a photographer in a life which was becoming not only increasingly complicated, but acting like cat nip to the tabloids at their most intrusive and unregulated.

He was fined £400 and told to pay the photographer, and a reporter whose watch was damaged as he hauled the singer off his victim, £1,800 in compensation.

As he waited for his car to arrive at the front of the court house he stood, quietly inside the entrance as the press pack gathered. As a young reporter who had sat just yards from him in court, I spotted him and asked for a comment. He politely declined, promising a statement later that day.

Bob Geldof had vowed not to re-marry after the death of Paula Yates, but tied the knot again in 2015 to long-time love Jeanne Marine
Bob Geldof had vowed not to re-marry after the death of Paula Yates, but tied the knot again in 2015 to long-time love Jeanne Marine

Striking up a cigarette as he exited and faced the gathered photographers, one snapper fell over backwards in the scrum. Hutchence gave him a hand up before reaching his car and disappearing. If he’d been full of fury on the day of the incident, he certainly wasn’t that day.

No one there that day could have imagined the personal carnage which lay before him - even less that a little over two years later he would be dead.

His court appearance related to a night he had spent at the Chilston Park Hotel in nearby Lenham. His partner for what he had hoped would be a romantic evening was Paula Yates.

She was a high profile TV star - famed for presenting the likes of The Tube and Channel 4's hugely successful Big Breakfast.

More significantly, she was also the wife of Bob Geldof, the Boomtown Rats singer whose pop chart fame had been comfortably eclipsed by being the driving force behind 1984's Band Aid single, Do They Know It's Christmas, and the following year's 'global jukebox' - Live Aid. All of which raised millions of pounds for the starving in Africa.

Paula Yates and Tiger Lily
Paula Yates and Tiger Lily

He and his wife had split their time between their home in Chelsea and a sprawling retreat on the outskirts of Faversham which they bought in 1983.

It was a home no stranger to celebrities.

The pair had wed in Las Vegas in 1986, they had been together for 20 years, and shortly after had the marriage blessed at the church which neighboured their home in Davington.

The guest list was a who's who of the 1980s biggest stars, including the likes of David Bowie, George Michael, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet.

It prompted the police to comment: "Frankly, there would be less of a problem with security if this was a presidential tour wrapped-up with a royal visit."

Tragic Peaches Geldof pictured as a child with mum Paula Yates in her last post on Twitter before her death
Tragic Peaches Geldof pictured as a child with mum Paula Yates in her last post on Twitter before her death

The pair's combined fame saw them and their children become part of the tabloid landscape.

But Yates had left Geldof in the February of 1995 to be with Hutchence. Geldof was left stunned and heartbroken. The nation, who had embraced Geldof for all his fundraising efforts, took a dim view of Yates' decision. It fuelled a tabloid feeding frenzy which would take its toll on all involved.

The hotel stay was destined for trouble from the start. As they sat in the restaurant tabloid journalists sat on tables opposite. By the time the couple checked out the following morning, Hutchence's patience had disappeared and he used brute force to show it, securing a court date in exchange.

It would, however, be the mere tip of an iceberg.

By the time Geldof and Yates had formally divorced the following year, Paula was pregnant with Hutchence's daughter - Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily - who was born in the July of 1996.

Sir Bob Geldof has a decorated career that is stained by disaster. Picture: Paul Dennis
Sir Bob Geldof has a decorated career that is stained by disaster. Picture: Paul Dennis

Soon after her birth, however, a nanny at Yates' home, looking after the three children she had with Geldof - Pixie, Fifi and Peaches while the new parents and Tiger Lily, as her name was shortened to, were away - found a stash of drugs hidden in sweet tubs. The headlines rolled in as the couple said the drugs were planted and their home bugged.

Whatever the truth, it sparked a messy custody battle between Yates and Geldof.

It would lead to Hutchence, while on tour in Australia with INXS, being left devastated when it appeared his daughter, whom he doted on, would not be able to travel to see him as a consequence. Yates was barred from taking any of her children abroad as a result of the on-going legal tangle.

Sat in an Australian hotel room he had a heated phone row with Geldof asking for him to relent. Geldof would tell police Hutchence was "abusive and threatening".

Hutchence's life had been under pressure on all fronts - perhaps most significantly following a serious brain injury he suffered after being pushed over by a taxi driver in 1992. He fell and struck his head. The injury not only left him without a sense of taste or smell, but, according to those closest to him, saw his personality change dramatically, often becoming moody, aggressive and depressed. It was an injury to which he never publicly admitted to during his lifetime

The coffin of Peaches Geldof at the church in Davington Picture: Tony Flashman
The coffin of Peaches Geldof at the church in Davington Picture: Tony Flashman

On the morning of November 22, 1997, he was found dead in his room having committed suicide by hanging. Blood tests also revealed he had taken a cocktail of prescription and recreational drugs plus alcohol. He was just 37.

A devastated Paula Yates struggled to come to terms with her loss and was further devastated when the man she thought was her father, TV star Jess Yates, was found not to be her biological dad. It was, in fact, TV presenter Hughie Green who her mother had a relationship with. The double-blow, all lapped up with glee in the national press, tipped her over the edge.

She attempted suicide the following year. Although saved, it saw her lose her custody battle for her three children - all of whom were put in the care of Geldof.

Paula's decline would continue until September 17 2000 when she took an accidental heroin overdose at her London home. Her passing, at the age of 41, left little Tiger Lily an orphan at the age of four. Paula's funeral took place in the Davington church she had married in. During the service U2 frontman Bono sang a song, accompanied by Paula's The Tube co-host Jools Holland on piano.

Geldof applied for, and got, custody of Tiger Lily so she could stay with her sisters. She changed her name to Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof and became part of the Geldof family.

St Mary Magdalene Church in Davington - the scene of weddings and funerals for the Geldof family
St Mary Magdalene Church in Davington - the scene of weddings and funerals for the Geldof family

She celebrated graduating from university last summer - joined by her sisters.

However, the tragedies did not end with Paula's passing.

Peaches Geldof, who had developed her own fame, also died from what was believed to be an accidental heroin overdose at her home in Wrotham in April 2014. Just the day before she had posted a photo of her in her mother’s arms as a child on Instagram. She was just 25.

Her funeral also took place at the Davington church.

For the family it was a series of devastating, heart-wrenching blows which would change them forever.

From what had started as a love affair, it left the two main protagonists dead and millions of fans devastated.

Bob Geldof has since gone on to marry his long time partner, the French actress Jeanne Marine. They retain their home in Kent.

A critically-acclaimed insight into the life of Michael Hutchence was aired by the BBC over Christmas called Mystify: Michael Hutchence, which features some of the scenes as he exited the Maidstone court. It remains available on the BBC's iPlayer service until Monday, January 27.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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