Fugitive music producer and human rights criminal Pete Waterman, who has spent decades on the run from international law, is finally to stand trial for his deeds after his sensational capture by agents at his secret ranch hideout in Argentina.
Once feared and hated as ‘The Hitman’, today he is old and decrepit after a life in hiding from justice.
But his surviving victims and their families, who for years have maintained a lonely quest for the truth, say they will not rest until they see him in the dock at The Hague.
Waterman was charged in his absence by a specially convened tribunal after the notorious release of the album `Sinitta!’ in 1987.
But prosecutors have since prepared a damning dossier of ‘unspeakable acts of cruelty, torture and Rick Astley’ which spans some twenty years, and catalogues ‘a career in musical brutality unparalleled in the modern age’.
Some music lovers are demanding the reintroduction of the death penalty as ‘the only fitting punishment’ for his crimes.
“There were moments when I just wanted to die,” murmurs 46 year old Dave Cooper, his eyes glistening with tears as he relives his agony.
“The first bars of `Touch Me (I Want Your Body)’ would start playing on the radio, and I would have done anything for the pain to end. I would have welcomed death.”
“The only thing that kept me going was the hope that one day, the man responsible would be brought to justice.”
“And now that day has come.”
Waterman to finally face justice
Waterman was arrested in a dramatic midnight swoop by an team of armed agents from the Alan Parsons Project, a group which researches, investigates and prosecutes crimes against music.
It is understood that riffs were exchanged with ‘The Hitman’s’ private bodyguard at his ranch house in Patagonia, before the fugitive producer was bundled into a helicopter and spirited out of the country.
Wealthy, well-connected supporters of the Alan Parsons Project were then able to arrange a private flight to deliver Waterman into international custody in The Netherlands, where he now awaits trial.
Argentina has long been considered a favoured refuge for those, like Waterman, seeking to escape the consequences of their terrible crimes. Corrupt local officials are often prepared to turn a blind eye to the presence of so-called ‘Minoguistas’ in exchange for hefty bribes.
It was in Buenos Aires in 1992 that Waterman’s former accomplice Mike Stock was found dead in a squalid basement apartment where he had been living under an assumed name.
Coroners recorded an open verdict after finding that he had drowned in a bathtub filled with urine. But many suspect that his death had the hallmarks of a vigilante killing.
With Waterman in custody, and Stock dead, the focus will inevitably fall on Matt Aitken, the only one of the so-called ‘Mixmasters’ still at liberty.
Investigators say they have already come close to capturing him, with reported sightings in locations as far afield as Dunstable, Tring, and Henley-in-Arden.
“He can run, but he can’t hide,” says one. “His victims are everywhere, and they will never forget.”
“Curse his name.”