Judge urged not to release Kurt Cobain death-scene photos
Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle is set to hear arguments over whether to proceed with a trial after Richard Lee, who runs a Seattle community television show, sued the city and the Seattle Police Department for the material he says will show Cobain didn’t die of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1994, The Seattle Times reported.
The city is arguing that the material should stay sealed for the sake of the family’s privacy. Cobain’s widow, rocker and actress Courtney Love, and their daughter have written to the court about the physical and psychological impact that the release of the graphic photos would have on their lives.
The couple’s daughter Frances Bean Cobain wrote: “I have had to cope with many personal issues because of my father’s death. Coping with even the possibility that those photographs could be made public is very difficult. Further sensationalising it through the release of these pictures would cause us indescribable pain.”
She wrote that she already faces harassment from fans “obsessed” with her father and fears that could get worse.
One fan broke into her California home and waited three days for her to return from holiday because he “believed my father’s soul had entered my body,” Ms Cobain wrote in her declaration.
According to their statements, neither woman has seen the photos of Cobain’s body.
Love wrote: “Public disclosure would reopen all my old wounds and cause me and my family permanent – indeed, endless and needless – pain and suffering, and would be a gross violation of our privacy interests.
“I would never be able to erase those haunting images from my mind. I cannot even imagine the enormity of the trauma this would cause me, not to mention many others.”
In 1995, Love got court permission to keep Cobain’s suicide note, and another note used for handwriting analysis, out of the public eye.
Seattle police did release two previously unseen images from the suicide scene last year. One showed a box containing drug paraphernalia, a spoon and what look like needles on the floor next to half a cigarette and sunglasses. The other showed the paraphernalia box closed, next to cash, a cigarette pack and a wallet.
Last month, a former Seattle police chief called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Cobain’s death.
“I would tell you right now if I were the chief of police, I would reopen this investigation,” said Norm Stamper, who took over the police department months before Cobain’s death.
Mr Stamper spoke to the makers of Soaked in Bleach, a new documentary which focuses on a theory that Love played a role in his death. Love, who has always strenuously denied such allegations, has already sent warning letters to cinemas considering showing the documentary.
“We should in fact have taken steps to study patterns involved in the behaviour of key individuals who had a motive to see Kurt Cobain dead,” Mr Stamper said, according to excerpts in Spin Magazine.
“If in fact Kurt Cobain was murdered, as opposed to having committed suicide, and it was possible to learn that, shame on us for not doing that,” he said.
Love’s lawyers said the idea she was behind her husband’s death was “a widely and repeatedly debunked conspiracy theory” and demanded that cinemas not show the film.