Copyright 2004 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ August 20th 2004 ]

US investigators today drew back the veil on the frenetic opulence of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, revealing a mansion filled with a breathtaking mix of classic taste and theme-park folly. The secret glimpse behind the gates of 1260sq m Tudor mansion came in a video shot when police and prosecutors searched the house last year that was shown to a court hearing child molestation charges against the superstar.

The video, showing the team of 40 investigators swooping on the house on November 18, showed Jackson's eclectic juxtaposition of dark wood panelling, elegant chandeliers and suits of armour with giant and luridly-coloured models of cartoon and movie characters. After entering the private quarters, the detectives could be seen sweeping past a striking 1.2m to 1.5m statue of the cartoon character Daffy Duck dressed in a mauve "zoot-suit" outfit.

Then they came face to face with a giant green model of the Incredible Hulk movie and television character, before passing an enormous photograph of a smiling, freckle-faced boy that appeared to cover an entire wall. The search party later made its way to Jackson's expansive games arcade, a one-story, split-level building filled with all manner of electronic and computer games and a life-sized model of movie adventure heroine Lara Croft.

Following the raid that led to Jackson being charged with crimes including child abuse, administering alcohol to a minor and charges that he conspired to kidnap and illegally imprison his alleged victim, the star said he could no longer live at Neverland as its sanctity had been violated.

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