As Michael Jackson lay dying, his personal doctor delayed calling an ambulance so that evidence of prescription drug abuse could be removed from the bedside, a court heard last night.
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Conrad Murray, who is on trial for the involuntary manslaughter of the singer, was accused of taking a break from attempting to revive him, in order to gather up several vials thought to contain Propofol, the drug which caused Jackson’s fatal cardiac arrest.
He placed the vials in a paper bag and later removed them from the room, according to Alberto Alvarez, a security guard who gave evidence on day three of proceedings at Los Angeles Superior Court.
The testimony, which lasted for several hours, is the most damning yet against Murray, who is accused of accepting an inflated salary of $150,000 a month to recklessly feed his client’s addiction to dangerous medications.
Alvarez told how he arrived in Jackson’s bedroom on the morning of June 25th 2009 to find Murray making what appeared to be a haphazard attempt to revive him. The singer was on a soft mattress, with his mouth and eyes open and his palms facing upwards. The doctor was pushing intermittently on his chest with his left hand.
“Does anyone know CPR?” Murray, who claimed to be a professional cardiologist, asked at one point. He said his patient had suffered “a bad reaction.”
Eventually, Jackson was moved to a harder floor, which is the correct location for a recussitation attempt. But Murray continued to use just a single hand to administer pressure on his chest, in apparent contravention of medical protocol.
Then he instructed Alvarez to remove several vials and bottles from the bedside, along with a bag which administered an IV drip. “Here, put these in a bag,” Murray allegedly said. Only after the bag was full and in his possession did he ask for emergency services to be called to the property.
With tears in his eyes, Alvarez listened to a tape recording of the call he made to emergency services. “We need an ambulance as soon as possible,” he told the operator, saying a 50-year-old man had lost consciousness. “He’s not responding to anything.”
When it became apparent that Jackson had died, the bodyguard recalled noticing that the singer’s children Paris and Prince Michael were in the doorway. Murray shouted “don’t let them see their dad that way.” Then “Paris screamed out, ‘Daddy!’”
Alvarez said that he quickly ushered the children out of the room, reassuring them that: “everything will be OK.”
He initially presumed that Murray had been gathering the drugs for possible use on the ensuing trip to hospital. But it later emerged that the Doctor had simply hidden them. A police search of the property later found the bag in the cabinet of another bedroom. It contained eleven bottles of Propofol, one of which was empty.
Last night’s evidence adds weight to the Prosecution’s argument that Dr Murray was more concerned with covering up evidence of drug abuse than with attempting to save Jackson’s life. Later, the court was due to hear from the two paramedics who arrived on the scene soon afterwards.
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