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'People do make mistakes': Michael Jackson fans still mourn King Of Pop despite child abuse allegations

Michael Jackson died on 25 June 2009. Credit: PA

Ten years after the death of Michael Jackson, his fans say people should look past the child sex abuse allegations made against the King of Pop.

Jackson, one of the most influential musicians ever thanks to his groundbreaking albums and revolutionary live performances, died on June 25 2009 aged 50 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

He remains hugely popular, despite the release of HBO documentary Leaving Neverland earlier this year which featured interviews with two men who alleged they were abused by Jackson as children.

Natali Benavides, 27, from Michigan, said she had been a Jackson fan since she was 15 and had travelled to see Jackson's Hall of Fame star in Los Angeles.

She said: “We should just not pay attention to the bad things. He’s a good person overall. I would just say look at the positive side, never the negative.”

Michael Jackson is still hugely popular. Credit: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File

Ms Benavides is not alone in her support for Jackson. Latara Deshazior, a mother of two boys, said she cried when Jackson died and admitted Leaving Neverland made her reevaluate the singer, but added: “People do make mistakes.”

Jackson vehemently denied all allegations and his estate has dismissed the film as an attempt to cash in on the singer’s legacy.

His star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame still attracts a steady stream of tourists and on the eve of the anniversary of his death fans were lining up to have their picture taken with it.

Self-confessed super fan Jolanda West flew to Los Angeles from Michigan especially for the anniversary.

The 51-year-old has been a fan of since she was a child, when a young Michael was performing with his brothers as the Jackson 5.

Jackson’s estate has dismissed allegations of child abuse against the singer. Credit: AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, File

Ms West said she vividly recalls the day the singer died, describing it as the worst day of her life.

She told the Press Association: “It’s been a really long time. It doesn’t seem like it was yesterday, it seems like a very long time of suffering. But he’s free now.

“That day is the worst day of my life.”

Ms West said the allegations raised in Leaving Neverland had not affected her love for Jackson, pointing to the fact he was never convicted of any offence.

Jackson, right, leaves the Santa Barbara County Courthouse with his father, Joe Jackson, in Santa Maria, California. Credit: AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant, File

She said: “It p****s me off because he went to trial and he was found innocent. HBO is not a court of law. How dare people judge and convict him from what they saw in an interview that could have been 10 years in the making, who knows? They could be acting for all I care.”

Asked if she ever considered boycotting Jackson’s music, she said: “When I first heard about the allegations, yes, but if you’re really a true Michael Jackson fan, you look past that.

“Because his music takes you and lifts you and pushes you to another area of life where something so small definitely doesn’t take away all that he has done for this world.”

Jackson’s death in 2009 caused shockwaves around the world. Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Gregg Donovan, a prominent Hollywood tour guide and regular fixture on the Walk Of Fame, said he felt “horrible” after hearing the allegations.

Mr Donovan said he is often asked by families where Jackson’s star is but in light of the allegations, “I kind of hold back. I don’t know if I want to”.