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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 April, 2003, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Playboy son Uday's life of luxury

By David Willis
BBC correspondent in Baghdad

Gold plated Kalashnikov lies next to normal gun
US marines have uncovered a wealth of riches in Uday's palace

Hundreds of custom-made weapons have been found at the house of Saddam Hussein's playboy son Uday, in Baghdad's sprawling presidential compound.

The haul included gold-plated Kalashnikov rifles and nickel-plated Belgian automatic rifles.

The cache is now being itemised by the US Army, and will eventually be turned over to a new Iraqi Government.

US marines have been wandering through the debris of his home, some showing off what they have found.

Items uncovered include bags of heroin and pictures of prostitutes downloaded from the internet, now strewn over the floor.

Wild living

Uday Hussein kept a picture of his father on the wall, it remains there now amidst the wrecked building.

US marine places his helmet by a lavish bed in Uday's palace
The bedrooms show Uday's lavish tastes

Uday may have rivalled his father for brutality, but he was just as well known for his wild living and managed to earn himself a fearsome reputation.

Whilst most ordinary Iraqis bore the brunt of United Nations sanctions, it seems the first son was living it up on fine wines and Cuban cigars.

Major Kent Rideout from the US marines led his men through the complex.

He explained the type of things they had found in Uday's place.

"A lot of US liquor, a lot of French-made wines [and] Lladro porcelain from Spain and crystal," he explained.

Years of excess

At the rear of the complex, next to the harem, there were several of his possessions, understandably left untouched by the looters.

Vintage car in Uday's garage
Many of Uday's prized cars have now been looted

Uday's private zoo included wild animals such as cheetahs, and a very sad looking lion peering out at us from behind the wire fencing.

Several of Uday's prized stallions have, however, been hauled away by opportunistic looters.

Beneath it all lies a cavern of car parks, packed with classic and vintage vehicles.

Many are missing - jump-started and stolen before the US marines got here.

Some of those vehicles will soon be seen on the streets of Baghdad.

Driven away by looters, they will serve as a stark reminder of years of excess by the former first family.

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