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An I-O-U from Michael
(11th November 2009)

Who was the girl that Michael wanted to propose to?

For twenty years John Thommeny held onto an I.O.U. from Michael Hutchence, this is the story of how he came to receive that note.

In late 1986 Sergeant John Thommeny was working out of Darlinghurst Police Station with a young Constable Fletcher. Sergeant Thommeny was manning the Paddy Wagon Call Sign 3/1 when late in the evening he took a call to attend the terrace houses in Victoria Street, Potts Point, New South Wales. The complaint was regarding a man climbing along the terrace houses first floors, while calling out a woman’s name.

When they arrived, neighbors were pointing across the street to a man having some difficulty making his way across the adjoining balconies of the terrace houses on the Eastern side of Victoria Street. Sergeant Thommeny and Constable Fletcher(the two law officers) crossed the street and called up to the man to climb down, but he said he was having trouble and so the Sergeant climbed up and helped him over several balconies to the end of the building where they could safely make their way to the street below.

Sergeant John Thommeny


When they got to the street, Sergeant Thommeny questioned the man who appeared to be in his late twenties, about his actions. He told the man who was obviously intoxicated that there were several residents that were very upset with him. The young man said that he was looking for a girl he knew, who lived there, as he wanted to propose to her. Sergeant Thommeny chuckled to himself and explained that he had to arrest him for trespassing. The love struck young man did not object and obligingly walked to the paddy wagon. 

Sergeant Thommeny noted that Constable Fletcher was unusually quiet and had not said anything or attempted to help him deposit the ‘fugitive’ into the back of the police vehicle. From the moment the man climbed down and his face was visible in the street light, Constable Fletcher had been staring at him.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked Thommeny. 
“Sergeant don’t you know who he is?” said Fletcher.
“No, who is he?”
“He’s Michael Hutchence, he’s in INXS”
“What is that, a bikie gang I’ve never heard of?”
“No Sergeant” said Fletcher, “It’s just Australia’s best band.”

Thommeny commented that he, at that time had never heard of INXS, but that his preference was in classical music. His favorite piece was Tschaikovsky’s 1812 overture. He does admit that he is swayed by the fact that his wife was born on December 18.

They took Michael to the Kings Cross Police Station where they established that he was staying at the Sebel Townhouse and after Thommeny had talked with him for some time, he decided it was not necessary to charge him given the circumstances along with his inebriated condition. Thommeny recalls that during the time he had Michael in the Muster Room, every young Constable on duty at the time both male and female took the opportunity to walk in and stare mostly open-mouthed at Michael, who smiled back at each one of them.  They just couldn’t believe he was there. Thommeny called the Sebel Townhouse and arranged for someone to collect Michael and safely drive him back and deposit him to his room.

And how did he end up with an I.O.U. from Michael? Well, it seems that just as it is with anyone else who gets arrested, Sergeant Thommeny ran a check on Michael Kelland Hutchence and found that he had an outstanding traffic fine for AUD$80.00. Michael did not have any cash on him, or a check or even a credit card. He explained that his accountant was in Hong Kong and his Lawyer, was in Hawaii, and he had no way of paying it at that moment, but he took out a Hong Kong paper one cent and wrote in his undeniable scrawl on the back of the note, “I.O.U. $80. NSW PD.” and signed it “MH”.

Sergeant Thommeny paid the fine himself. He tells me that he felt so sorry for Michael that night, he seemed to have such a sadness about him. He says in over 36 years as a police officer he has been the Commander and looked after the security of many celebrities including Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, kylie Minogue, and coincidentally, Bob Geldof. He says he found Michael to be ‘polite, friendly’, and most of all, ‘not up himself’. He just thought he was somewhat troubled.

John Thommeny is retired now and in late 2007 after seeing our mother Patricia Glassop on television describing the problems Michael’s family was having keeping contact with his daughter Tigerlily, and the fact that Bob Geldof was formally adopting her, he went to his diaries and took out the I.O.U. note. He emailed me through michaelhutchenceinfo and we began a correspondence. Two months later he sent the HK one cent note to me. He and I are both aware that he could have sold the piece of paper on Ebay, but judging by the correspondence we have had I doubt it ever crossed his mind. He is an honorable, courageous man. As he tells it, he came from the old school of policing where the press did not get exclusive stories from someone in his position.

The mystery girl Michael was trying to find to ask her hand in marriage? We will never know, this is one question that Sergeant Thommeny did not ask Michael, and he cannot remember what he was calling out when he arrived at the scene.

I will be forever grateful to John Thommeny for sharing this story with me, he is truly a special, selfless man

Tina Hutchence
September 21, 2009

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