Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Mormon, the Gypsy and the Ex-Beauty Queen

(I’m back in the saddle again after doing a book signing in the US. I'm currently reporting from the Windy City of Chicago. More than breezy, it started off a tad too Arctic for my liking; luckily, the temperatures have released their grip on my bones and  sunlight is bouncing off the architecturally outstanding skyscrapers outside my 27th floor window.) 

I have been following a court case that has the American nation on the edge of its seat. This isn’t Big Brother or I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here! - this is REAL and the first time the Utah courts televise a case. This very twisted tale of daughters betrayed, a gypsy, a Mormon and an ex-beauty queen has all the makings of a Shebug story.

The shadowy trail of deceit began six years when an adulterous Mormon hooked up with Gypsy Willis who was trawling the Internet in search of` a big catch. Martin MacNeill was not only a lawyer, he was a physician. He was not decrepit, but young and good looking. The fact that he was a 'happily' married father of eight did not diminish him in her greedy eyes. 

His wife, Michele, was an ex-beauty queen. Alarms bells sounded in the family household when MacNeill insisted Michele undergo the scalpel in order to help their marriage. Post surgery, the paediatrician made sure his wife gulped down every last mix of Ambien (a sleep aid), Valium (a sedative), Percocet (a sedative painkiller) and Phenergan (an anti-nausea drug). 

The plastic surgeon who performed Michele's facelift said how MacNeill had supplied his wife with the additional heavy duty painkillers he himself had never thought necessary to prescribe to his patient, under the condition that  Dr MacNeill monitor their use.

Recuperating from her recent surgery, Michele confided in one of her daughters’ saying"If anything happens to me make sure it wasn't your dad”. Suspicion and fear hung in the air like a foul odour. 

Mrs MacNeill was found dead in the bathtub of her family's home in April of 2007. The first autopsy report stated that she died of natural causes, but after further investigation, the manner of death was changed to "undetermined." It struck the family odd that at Easter, their father would give them each $5000 for no reason and that the goo-goo eyed live-in nanny he hired immediately after his wife’s death could not cook nor did she look after the brood. The children were often left with a third party whilst their father and the nanny went off on holidays.

The bony-faced fifty-seven year old currently living in the Utah County Jail is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife. His fellow inmates claim he bragged about being able to get away with murder. Prosecutors claim MacNeill also obstructed justice in the case. They say following Michele's death, he removed his wife's pants, lied to a 911 dispatcher about performing CPR and drained the tub where Michele was found. His son’s girlfriend testified that he asked her to flush all of his wife’s medication down the toilet.

MacNeill's dishevelled blonde barrister claims her client was working on the morning of his wife's death and that his wife's dying was a result of her falling asleep in the bathtub and drowning.

Gypsy is playing her adulterous relationship with MacNeill down because she’s entered a plea bargain on felony charges for identity theft- even though the paediatrician paid for her housing, nursing school fees, and handed her credit card to indulge her shopping sprees.

It’s now up to the jury to decide whether the Mormon Sunday school teacher is telling the truth, despite the 15 texts he sent to his mistress the day he was unable save his wife; the 22 he sent her during Michele’s funeral, and the questionable cocktail of drugs he fed his wife. Perhaps his unusual jovial mood at the burial could have been due to nerves. People do react differently under stress: Gypsy's Teflon-tough Shebug hide kept her markedly cool under pressure when taking the stand. 

Did I mention that his office is a mere stone’s throw from his home and that prescription drugs take a while before they kick into the blood stream? Or that the lawyer/paediatrician was caught forging $35,000 in checks in 1977 and was put on felony probation for three years, and how a year later he served a six-month jail sentence for forgery, theft and fraud related to the check scheme? Perhaps I was also remiss is informing you that MacNeill was released from federal prison last year after serving three years on charges of identity fraud he allegedly committed with Gypsy after his wife's death?

Time to prepare a frothy cafe latte and before I settle in and immerse myself in the enfolding courtroom drama...

Monday, 21 October 2013

Wedding Invitation

From the Mother of the Groom
P.S. We have no idea WHAT He Sees in Her

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Off the Radar

No, I have not sailed off the face of the earth....I'm in the Windy City fighting off a head cold. (Great city, wonderful people!)

I plan to be connected to the Internet by tomorrow.

Your patience is much appreciated :-)

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Friends, Food & Phenomenal Fun

The NSPCC Literary Lunch was pretty much filled to capacity. The attendees streamed in, one looking more glamorous than the next. (I wouldn't be surprised if the paparazzi weren't hiding in the wings covertly zooming in on the ladies.) I didn't know what attracted me more: the array of silk dresses in flame red and daring chartreuse, or the wonderful, artful pieces of jewellery they had chosen for such an auspicious occasion. Their bonhomie lit up the venue like pretty Oscar nominees on the red carpet. I felt honoured to talk about my book, Shebug Dissecting the Gold Digger, now in print, in front of such an extraordinary assembly.

As for the food at the Almeida Restaurant & Bar? Let's just say I was not about to share my tasty lamb after I let the Peruvian princess who insisted on ordering the vegetarian option try a delicious morsel--I'm generous, but not that generous. The pudding was purrfect: treacle tart, which I savoured shamelessly. Now how did the chef know it’s one of my favourites? The mind does boggle...

Robert Crampton, star journalist from The Times dished out the best morsels of celebrity gossip one wicked spoonful at a time. His easy-going manner was contagious; his timing was masterful and his wit razor-sharp.  His weekly column, Beta Male, makes me laugh every time. Guaranteed. Not an easy task.

Irene is a key player in organizing the NSPCC Literary Lectures. Not only is she built like a gazelle, she somehow multi-tasked without breaking a sweat. She glided about under pressure like a swan, dressed in the inkiest of black. 

This woman oozes chic and has killer cheekbones. She also is a Cordon Blue chef.

Aren’t we grateful she’s not a Shebug?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Trinny's Fashion Faux Pas

The biggest fashion faux pas in decades committed twice within the past fortnight has London paparazzi on high alert. If you believe it has anything to do with a model hitting the rocks exiting her limo in commando, or a wardrobe malfunction that flips the television censorship certification to ‘18 and over’, think again…It has everything to do with a premier fashion guru hitting the town with an odious accessory that women-in-their-right minds would rather see hanging by his toenails.

Her name is Trinny Woodall. She is known in the UK as part of a duo ‘Trinny & Susannah’. The two are television fashion presenters who specialize at turning Ms Frumpies into Ms Fabbies. Susannah used to date Princess Margaret’s son, Viscount Linley. She is married with children, is chirpy, chilled and settled. Her counterpart, however, is single mother and by the looks of it, is helping the multi-millionaire on the rebound lick his wounds.

Trinny possesses glossy looks and an enviable figure. At forty-seven, she smacks of cool and can carry off anything. Well, almost…

The questionable accessory on her arm is none other than Charles Saatchi. He, too, formed part of a famous twosome: Saatchi & Saatchi, a leading advertising agency. Charles branched into the art world. His Midas touch has granted instant celebritydom for many a YBA, or Young British Artist, the likes of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

The seventy-year-old magnate owns the spectacular and sunny Saatchi Gallery a stone’s throw from my house. Until about a year ago, when Starbucks stopped making the kind of coffee he likes, I saw him regularly standing quietly in the queue dressed in his trademark black suit and a white shirt. His style might be anything but exciting, but it sure qualifies as his ‘trademark look’.

Charles Saatchi’s second wife is the certified British Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson. The shocking split and speedy divorce went achingly public: no one suspected that trouble brewed in paradise. To the outside the couple had it all: Nigella’s stellar culinary career and Charles, happily amassing his art collection. The only sparks around the couple came from their neighbours over their planning approval to dig out a floor or two under their huge Chester Square home. 

The photos snapped at Scott’s restaurant of Saatchi grabbing Nigella by the throat spilled the beans. Women’s hackles across the country rose, men stood posed to intervene, fists clenched.

Bodacious Nigella made an immediate and discrete exit for Los Angeles to further her career across the pond; the seventy-year-old threw public wobblies and threatened to kill himself. But the injured party refused to be drawn in.

Three and a half months later, the press exposed Mr Saatchi enjoying another romantic tĂȘte-a-tĂȘte with Trinny at the same restaurant he clamped his fingers around his ex-wife’s neck.

The Fashion Police are labelling Trinny a Shebug. I would rather give her the benefit of the doubt. After all, for somebody who has gone through re-hab and has suffered from low self-esteem issues, is the  Shebug catnip Charles Saatchi package worth losing her head over?

Only time will tell...