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Jackson in UK for public return

Singer Michael Jackson has been seen in public for the first time since being cleared of child abuse charges in June.

The star attended the Billy Elliot musical on Saturday in London's West End and was besieged by fans on Friday at a recording studio in the city.

Jackson is believed to be recording a single for the American victims of Hurricane Katrina.

His publicist said the UK visit was his first public outing. He has been in Dubai since the trial in California.

The singer arrived in a people carrier with his children 15 minutes late for the matinee performance of the musical.

The Billy Elliot musical tells the tale of a boy growing up in a tough mining town in the north of England who wants to be ballet dancer.

Sir Elton John has provided music for the stage version of the successful film.


Inside the theatre, Gary Dean, 43, from Ramsgate, sat three rows in front of Jackson during the performance.

He said: "We knew at the interval that he was there and there was some clapping.

"Nobody really knew before that because the lights had gone down by the time he came in."

Jackson's children had their faces concealed by a pink coat and a blue scarf.

Throughout the show, hundreds of his admirers waited outside brandishing posters of support and chanting his name.

On Friday Jackson signed autographs after being pursued by fans through an underground car park.

The star has also been spotted in the Dorchester Hotel, London, meeting fans and posing for photographs.


Mike Hollingsworth, who was organising a charity ball in the hotel, said he saw Jackson in the reception area on Friday.

"He was surrounded by a large group of people but it was unmistakably him. He spent several minutes meeting people and posing for photos.

"He kept trying to cover his face but from what I could see he looked well."

He is believed to be recording a charity song, From The Bottom Of My Heart, for victims of the hurricane.

It is not clear which recording studio is being used by the star or how fans knew where the singer would be appearing.

Footage of fans surrounding Jackson at the car park of the studio was released by 2 Seas Records, a joint venture between Bahrain's Southern Governor Shaikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Jackson's brother Jermaine.

Jackson climbed onto a car's roof in the car park to greet his fans, who took photos on cameras and mobile phones.

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