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MONDAY 4 MARCH 2024

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NOW THE TRUTH CAN BE TOLD

Maxwell slipped to his death on a banana skin

CAP’N BOB: Mirror boss Robert Maxwell with  his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine in the background

By BARRY GARDNER, former Daily Star reporter

Seeing the current dire circumstances at the Mirror reminds me of another occasion when the paper was in troubled waters.


Buccaneering Robert Maxwell, who controlled the Mirror Group, had taken a tumble off the back of his £15million yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, while it bobbed around the Canary Islands in 1991.


Along with a gaggle of other hacks I was dispatched to discover the details of Maxwell’s demise – which I did and can now reveal the true circumstances behind his death.


While the Press gang meandered around interviewing anyone and everyone various rumours began to build that 68-year-old Maxwell had committed suicide or had even been targeted by Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. But the truth was stranger still.


Slowly members of the pack drifted away until just me and the indefatigable Ian Hepburn from The Sun remained. Perhaps our Red Top bosses wanted to keep the story running as a way of sniggering at one of their rivals.


Whatever the reason Ian and I filed titbits and continued to enjoy a bit of non-English warmth.


Just as interest was completely waning we discovered we could get hold of a pathology report which was being held at the local police station. So, off we went, collected the file of papers and enlisted the aid of a very expensive translator – from memory his name was Antonio and he ran the bar at our hotel.


To be honest expectations weren’t high as Maxwell’s death had been forensically sliced apart in innumerable newspaper reports. So, we relaxed with a drink as Antonio gave us the dry, bare bones. And initially it was fairly turgid.


But then, just as Ian began to nod- off we encountered tabloid treasure.


Antonio mentioned the word, BANANA. Ian stopped snoring, I grabbed the report and made Antonio repeat the word. There was no doubt. Among the last things that Maxwell ate was a banana.


The unsavoury habits of the portly proprietor had been well documented over the years with witnesses recounting how he simply tossed aside food, towels, clothes etc.


Well, the story wrote itself. We had unzipped the truth. Robert Maxwell had not been assassinated, nor taken his own life.


He had slipped on a banana skin and finished up in the deep blue water of the Atlantic Ocean.


We both hit the phones, returned to the bar and awaited herograms.


Sadly, I’m still waiting. While Ian got a good show the Daily Star somehow ignored it.


Perhaps it was just too good to be true.


28 January 2024


JOIHN JACKSON BEGS TO DIFFER