Ikin’s lover admits forging will, denies kill plot

Ikin’s lover admits forging will, denies kill plot

THE man accused of murdering the Australian rock music executive Peter Ikin has spoken for the first time since being released from a French jail, denying that he plotted the murder of his lover to get his hands on his $15 million estate – but admitting that he forged his will.

Mr Ikin, a former Warner Music executive, who counted Elton John, Rod Stewart and Billy Joel among his friends, died mysteriously in a Paris hotel room in November 2008, just weeks after marrying Alexandre Despallieres, 20 years his junior.

Mr Despallieres, who had told Mr Ikin, 62, he was dying of a brain tumour, was arrested 18 months later for forging a ”secret” – and photocopied – will. In an interview with Businessweek published last week, Mr Despallieres admitted he had forged the will with his friend, Jeremy Bilien, but that it was a bad forgery.

”If he [Jeremy] wanted to make a will he could have at least made a proper will,” Mr Despallieres said in the article published on Friday.

”This will looked like nothing. It did not look professional.”

Mr Despallieres was released on bail last year after nine months in a Paris jail, and while French authorities remained confident at the time that a case would still be brought against him, no date has been set for a trial.

The Businessweek journalist Brad Stone told the Herald that during the interview, Mr Despallieres insisted he had been cleared of Mr Ikin’s death.

”According to his lawyer, he was released on a procedural technicality,” Stone said.

Asked by Businessweek what happened to Mr Ikin, the 44-year-old – who has aged since his time in a Paris jail – replied: ”He died because, there were two reasons.

”For a long time, he used too much stuff like cocaine. And he had an infection, something he caught in the hotel because of the air-conditioning. Something very bad.”

Mr Despallieres claimed he took Mr Ikin to the hospital three times, and each time he was released. ”He knew he was going to die. I don’t know what happens in the brain. It was very painful to me. And then all those accusations,” Mr Despallieres said.

(An analysis of a blood sample taken from Mr Ikin was carried out months after he died, which showed lethal doses of paracetamol, raising suspicions about the circumstances of his death.)

Mr Despallieres said he had Mr Ikin cremated in France with the full knowledge of Mr Ikin’s friends because logistical challenges made it too difficult to transport his body to Australia.

Mr Despallieres also said in the article that he did not care about money or wealth, despite going on a spending spree weeks after Mr Ikin had died, buying three Porsches and expensive jewellery.

He said he sank into a depression after Mr Ikin’s death. ”I had nothing left in my life. My life was broken. When Peter passed away, and 10 years ago I had lost my parents, that was too much for me,” he said. Then, he said, he ”did something stupid”.

Mr Bilien and another witness to the forged will had asked Mr Despallieres to buy them Porsches, and Mr Despallieres claimed he was too disheartened to resist. So he bought three. ”My state of mind was, ‘Who cares?’ I wanted to die.”

Mr Despallieres, whose whereabouts are unknown, claimed he was going to be the subject of a Hollywood film.

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