Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning
Amy Winehouse drank herself to death only hours after saying she was desperate to live because she still had so much to achieve, her inquest heard yesterday.
The singer drank enough to stop her breathing and send her into a coma. Three empty vodka bottles were found near her body in her bedroom.
A pathologist who examined her said she had 416mg of alcohol per decilitre of blood –five times the legal drink-drive limit of 80mg. The inquest heard that 350mg was usually considered a fatal amount.
A doctor who treated the 27-year-old for her alcohol problem said she had repeatedly ignored warnings about the dangers of binge drinking.
But private GP Christina Romete, who saw the singer hours before her death, said she did not believe Miss Winehouse had deliberately drunk herself to death.
She said she had told her: ‘I do not want to die… I have not achieved a lot of the things I wanted.
Miss Winehouse won five Grammy awards for her 2006 hit album Back To Black. But she became as well-known for her battle with alcohol and drugs as for her singing.
She was found dead in her flat in Camden, North London, on July 23.
Traces of the alcohol withdrawal drug Librium were found in her body. But there were no illegal drugs and her doctor said she had beaten her drug addiction in 2008.
An inquest heard she had quit alcohol for three weeks in July but began drinking again three days before her death.
Dr Romete said the star made ‘tremendous efforts’ to beat her drink problem and often gave up for weeks at a time before lapsing back into drinking.
She had been advised to have psychological therapy to confront her demons but Miss Winehouse – who famously sang about her refusal to seek treatment for addiction in the single Rehab – had been reluctant.
Describing the singer as ‘one of the most intelligent women I have ever met’, Dr Romete added: ‘She was opposed to any sort of psychological therapy. She was very determined to do everything her way, including therapy.
Dr Romete described the last time she saw Miss Winehouse, at 7pm the day before she died.
She was calm, she was coherent, she was tipsy but she didn’t slur and she was able to hold a full conversation,’ she said. ‘I wasn’t concerned that she was suicidal, she hadn’t expressed a wish to die.
She had clearly said, “I do not want to die” and she talked about the future… Most of our discussions over the past month were about how to sustain positive change in her life.
Dr Romete said Miss Winehouse told her, ‘I have not achieved a lot of the things I wanted’, and said they had discussed plans for her birthday in September.
The singer’s live-in security guard, Andrew Morris, said he checked on her at 10am on July 23, when he thought she was sleeping, but realised something was wrong when she was still lying in the same position on her bed at 3pm.
She was not breathing and had no pulse, and he called the emergency services. She was pronounced dead soon afterwards.
Miss Winehouse, who was said to have been close to death in 2007 after taking a cocktail of drugs, was recently divorced after a turbulent marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil but had begun a relationship with British film director Reg Traviss.
Coroner Suzanne Greenway at St Pancras, North London, recorded a verdict of misadventure and said Miss Winehouse was ‘an intelligent and determined young woman’ who had been warned about the risks of her drinking.
As her divorced parents Mitch and Janis left the 90-minute inquest her mother appeared to fight back tears.
They issued a statement saying: ‘Amy was battling hard to conquer her problems with alcohol and it is a source of great pain to us that she could not win in time.’