and communicated through sign language and lip-reading. I wasnt absolutely sure. If he hadnt been such a decent human being and told me I wouldnt be here, she says candidly. They only desire anonymous sexual encounters. It was an emotional and stress-filled mission for Mary, who lived with Mercury on and off for 20 years. Mary had two sons; Richard, who Freddie knew, and Jamie, born shortly after his death. Mary gazes through the window, smiling softly. For more than two decades Mary Austin has abided by Mercurys wishes and kept the whereabouts of his ashes a secret. But I think hed stopped being honest with himself. Born into an impoverished family in Battersea, South London her father worked as a trimmer for wallpaper specialists and her mother was a domestic for a small company her childhood wasnt easy. When they threw dinner parties she would sit on one side of Mercury, his latest boyfriend on the other. But, impulsive as ever, he changed his mind on a whim. I try never to be jealous or envy people. It wasnt what Id expected at all. After six years together, he came out as gay, taking a stream of lovers as his life descended into uninhibited promiscuity. She suffered several serious illnesses and struggled emotionally to cope with the inheritance. If he had gone along living a bisexual life without telling me, I would have contracted Aids and died.