Alcohol killed Amy Winehouse - confirmed

2013-01-09 08:09
London - Amy Winehouse died from accidental alcohol poisoning when she resumed drinking after a period of abstinence, a second coroner's inquest confirmed on Tuesday.

Coroner Shirley Radcliffe ruled that the 27-year-old soul singer "died as a result of alcohol toxicity" and recorded a verdict of death by misadventure. She said there were no suspicious circumstances.

She said Winehouse "voluntarily consumed alcohol — a deliberate act that took an unexpected turn and led to her death".

Tuesday's verdict was identical to that produced by a first inquest in 2011. But the result of that hearing was annulled after the original coroner was found to lack the proper qualifications for the job.

Likely suffered respiratory arrest

The Grammy-winning singer, who fought a very public battle with drug and alcohol abuse for years, was found dead at her London home on 23 July 2011, with empty vodka bottles scattered around her.

Radcliffe said a postmortem had found that Winehouse had a blood alcohol level five times the legal driving limit, and above a level that can prove fatal.

She said that much alcohol could affect the central nervous system so much that a patient could "fall asleep and not wake up".

Pathologist Michael Sheaff told the inquest that Winehouse had likely suffered respiratory arrest after consuming so much alcohol. The level in her blood was 416mg per 100ml, a blood alcohol level of 0.4%. The British legal driving limit is 0.08%.

Winehouse's family did not attend the 45-minute inquest at St Pancras Coroner's Court, near the singer's north London home.

Testimony from witnesses and experts

The original coroner resigned in November 2011 after her qualifications were questioned. She had been hired by her husband, the senior coroner for inner north London. But she had not been a registered lawyer in Britain for five years as required.

In Britain, inquests are held to determine the facts whenever someone dies unexpectedly, violently or in disputed circumstances.

The beehive-haired Winehouse shot to global fame with her 2006 album Back to Black, which won five Grammys. But her erratic public behaviour, turbulent private life and frequent health problems — which included seizures, emphysema and bulimia — often overshadowed her musical talent.

Tuesday's second inquest re-heard testimony from witnesses and experts including the bodyguard who found Winehouse dead, the police officer who investigated and a doctor who treated the singer as she tried to quit drugs and alcohol.

Booze binges

The doctor, Christina Romete, said Winehouse was "a highly intelligent individual, very determined and willful", who did not easily follow doctors' orders and resisted suggestions that she seek psychological help.

She said the singer had successfully given up drugs after a period of taking heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana, but had struggled to stop drinking, going through periods of abstinence followed by booze binges.

Winehouse started drinking a few days before her death after being dry for almost two weeks.
"She said she started drinking again because she felt bored," said Romete, who saw Winehouse the day before she died.

"I asked Amy if she was going to stop drinking that evening and she said she did not know," the doctor said.


  • preshen.govender.12382 - 2013-01-09 08:29

    "Blame it on the a a a a a a alcohol"

      james.ariel.16 - 2013-01-09 08:58

      No blame it on rough lifeee

      james.ariel.16 - 2013-01-09 09:00

      No blame it on rough lifeee - 2013-01-09 13:10

      With a surname like that, one tempts fate...

  • avanwyk2 - 2013-01-09 09:05

    So who was it? Maybe Johnny Walker, Jack Daniel, Jim Beam, Captain Morgan or Jose Cuervo. One of these probably forced themselve into her throat while she was sleeping.

      catgirl1971 - 2013-01-09 11:12

      Um, read the story - it says VODKA bottles were found in her apartment.

  • mfumbayelangabi.silwane - 2013-01-09 09:38

    so alcohol must be banned/made illegal,it is a source of,crime,poverty,rising road carnages ,moral degenaration,alcohol-fetal syndrome,divorces,disfunctional families, premature deaths,poor perfomances at school,depression,drag-racing,epidemal spread of hiv and aids,liver toxicity,fast brain deterioration and deaths like the one of Whinehouse and many other talented young adults and adults BAN IT,BAN IT,BAN IT.

      Pheto Mothupi - 2013-01-09 10:46

      i agree it an illegal since youth are now taking it as source of amusement then they get hooked no future generation if we dont act at the earliest

  • matthew.healing - 2013-01-09 10:56

    She was a woman who sang satanic music and consumed the devils nectar. It was only a matter of time before she died. Do not inject alcohol unless you want to end up like Amy Winehouse. YOU WILL BE PUNISHED AND JUDGED BY GOD !!

      catgirl1971 - 2013-01-09 11:10

      Get knotted you ignorant fool. Jesus Himself drank wine! Everything in moderation - that's the key!

      matthew.healing - 2013-01-09 11:30

      Yes,Jesus did drink wine, but he did so in moderation. We all know if you drink to much alcohol, the devils nectar, you opening your soul to Devil to take control of you. Just look what happened to Jub-Jub after he consumed too much of the Devils Dandruff. The Devil took control of his soul and made him drive over those kids.

  • tim.mthimkhulu - 2013-01-09 15:18

    young stars abuse themselves with drugs hence the deaths.

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