Author(s): Chris Hutchins
When wealthy and well-connected Peter Ikin died in a cheap Paris hotel room in November 2008, the circumstances were suspicious from the outset. Just 32 days earlier the retired music industry executive, a close friend of Sir Elton John, Rod Stewart and Madonna, had entered into a civil partnership with a young French gigolo named Alexandre Despallieres. Despallieres claimed to be a billionaire businessman with homes in London, Paris and Beverly Hills. As the grieving partner, he had Ikin's body hurriedly cremated, and proceeded to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds that were advanced to him as the beneficiary of Ikin's will. He maintained the pretence of his wealth by buying expensive cars and renting an English castle for the summer of 2009. John Reid, Elton John's former manager, was certain that Ikin had been murdered, and his will forged. His persistence in uncovering the truth led to the arrest of Despallieres and two accomplices, who were charged with murder, forgery and fraud on a grand scale. With the help of Ikin's closest friends, Chris Hutchins investigates the mysterious circumstances of his murder. His research has led to the chilling possibility, voiced by Despallieres' own brothers, that this real life Talented Mr Ripley may also be responsible for the murders of his parents. Meanwhile Despallieres, recaptured after a desperate escape attempt, awaits trial in France.
Chris Hutchins is a journalist who has written compelling investigative biographies of characters as diverse as Elvis, Princess Diana and Vladimir Putin.