Pubdate: Thu, 07 Mar 2002
Source: Independent  (UK)
Copyright: 2002 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Author: Cahal Milmo


A Norwegian heiress who married into Monaco's royal family and led a
jet-set lifestyle with an array of celebrity friends and lovers died
alone as a hopeless drug addict, an inquest was told yesterday.

The body of Baroness Michelle Lutken de Massy, 41, was found in a flat
in Kensington, west London, on 25 November after she overdosed on a
cocktail of heroin and sleeping tablets "cooked" on a silver spoon.
Hours before her death, she promised a friend who had been looking
after her home while she underwent treatment at an addiction clinic in
Monaco that she would not "do anything silly".

Westminster coroner's court was told the former model had attended 13
different treatment centres to try to beat an addiction that began
while she was working in the Milan fashion industry, aged 17.

A statement from the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco, where she was
admitted last September, described her as suffering from a
multi-addiction to opiates, cocaine and alcohol.

PC Stephen Shakeshaft, who was called to de Massy's flat after her
body was found, told the inquest: "I saw the lifeless body of a
female. She was lying on her back with her leg outstretched to her
side. There was a puncture wound on the back of her hand."

The daughter of a wealthy Norwegian businessman, she married Baron
Christian de Massy, a nephew of Prince Rainier, head of Monaco's royal
family, while still a teenager.

The couple moved to New York where their acquaintances included the
artist Andy Warhol and the singers Grace Jones and Marvin Gaye. Among
her friends in Europe was the tennis player Bjorn Borg and she was a
regular at the Tramp and Raffles nightclubs. She once described how
she invited 80 guests to a party at a Manhattan restaurant and for
dessert served half a gram of cocaine.

But the high life also brought tragedy. She was involved in a serious
car crash in Miami that badly damaged her memory. Her relationship
with her husband deteriorated and they were divorced in 1987.

Drugs also tainted her relationships. She was the friend and mistress
for more than 20 years of Constantine Niarchos, an heir to the vast
shipping dynasty founded by Greek billionaire Stavros Niarchos.
Constantine died three years ago from a cocaine overdose at his flat
in Mayfair, 17 days after becoming the first Greek to conquer Mount

The baroness, who was also known as Anne, said in a statement at
Niarchos's inquest that the pair had snorted cocaine together on the
night of his death but his craving had been so extreme he had eaten
the drug by the spoonful.

Yesterday's inquest into de Massy's death heard that she had spent
UKP200,000 of her own fortune on cocaine.George Crump, the friend who
found her body, told the hearing she returned to her flat from Monaco,
where she had been receiving treatment for her addiction, on 24
November and he found her unconscious from an overdose on that day. He
managed to revive her, and she promised not to take more drugs, but a
day later she injected the fatal mixture.

Recording a verdict of death by misadventure, Dr Paul Knapman, the
Westminster coroner, said: "It's a tragedy that her lifestyle and its
effects have finally caused her death at the age of only 41."
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