Singer Amy Winehouse died watching YouTube videos of herself after vodka binge, inquest hears
Amy Winehouse spent her final hours drinking vodka alone in her bedroom and watching YouTube videos of herself, a court was told yesterday.
A second inquest confirmed the 27-year-old died of alcohol poisoning at her north London home on July 23, 2011.
Miss Winehouse drank so much that she stopped breathing and fell into a coma.
The inquest was re-heard because the coroner at the first hearing did not have the correct qualifications.
St Pancras Coroners Court was told that the Grammy award-winning singer, who was battling alcoholism and bulimia, spent the night before her death watching clips of herself on her laptop.
She was found dead on her bed 12 hours later, with the laptop beside her and two empty vodka bottles on the floor.
Her live-in security guard Andrew Morris said Miss Winehouse was her ‘usual, bubbly self’ on the evening of July 22.
In a statement read out to the court, he said she was watching television and listening to music in her room.
Later, she came to show him YouTube clips of a man she had gone out with. He said she had been drinking but he could tell she ‘wasn’t completely drunk’.
She ‘stayed up in her room watching YouTube clips [of herself]’, which he had not seen her do for some time, he added.
Mr Morris left Miss Winehouse at around 2.30am, before checking on her at 10am. Seeing her face-down on her bed, fully clothed, he assumed she was sleeping but realised something was wrong when she was in the same position at 3pm.
He called emergency services but she was pronounced dead shortly after paramedics arrived at her Camden home.
Miss Winehouse’s private GP, Christina Romete, said the singer had started drinking again three days before her death because she was ‘bored’.
Fresh inquest: Police officers leave the second inquest into the death of the singer, called after the previous coroner was found not to be qualified
Crush: Journalists wait to enter a new inquest, which also found that Ms Winehouse died from misadventure
Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe upheld the original verdict that Miss Winehouse died from misadventure.
Pathology tests showed she had 416mg of alcohol per decilitre in her blood – 350mg is considered enough to be fatal.
Dr Romete had been helping her battle drug and alcohol addiction for several years, and saw her the day before she died.
‘In the course of the last consultation, Amy did not appear to be depressed at any stage’, she said.
‘She specifically said she did not want to die.’
Sadness: Winehouse’s home in London, where she died, became a shrine after her death in 2011
Thousands came to Camden to pay their respects, in some cases even leaving alcohol as a tribute
Professor Michael Sheaff said the amount of alcohol drunk was enough to stop her breathing.
‘When levels are extremely high, it can have an effect on the central nervous system’, he said.
‘At that level, it is likely Ms Winehouse had a respiratory arrest.’
The inquest heard Ms Winehouse had a well-documented battle with alcohol, being admitted to hospital several times but struggled to stop boozing.
‘It was apparent Amy was a highly intelligent individual’, said Dr Romete.
‘It was not possible to convince her to take a course of action unless she wanted it.’
Inspiration: Despite problems in her private life Amy Winehouse was considered one of the great singers of recent times
Dr Romete said the singer was sober for ‘12 to 13 days’ prior to her death, but had been back drinking for three days prior to being found unconscious.
The original inquest verdict into the death had to be ditched after it emerged deputy coroner Suzanne Greenaway, who oversaw the hearing, was under-qualified.
She was appointed in July 2009 by her husband, Andrew Reid, who was the coroner for Inner North London, after working as a solicitor and barrister in Australia.
But she resigned in November last year when it became clear she did not have the required five years’ experience in the Law Society.
Dr Reid also quit from his post last month as he faced disciplinary proceedings and the possibility of being removed.
‘There is evidence she consumed a very large amount of alcohol at some point before her death’, said Dr Radcliffe.
‘Amy died as a result of alcohol toxicity.’
Tragic: Amy’s father Mitch is consoled by friends at her funeral in 2011. He said today the family did not want to attend the second inquest
Amy Winehouse’s father said that coroners had made a ‘massive cock up’ which led to his daughter’s inquest having to be heard again.
But he said he was not surprised that the fresh ruling matched the original findings of the court.
Mitch Winehouse said he ‘expected’ the ruling but he attacked as ‘preposterous’ a series of blunders that meant the inquest into Amy’s death had to be rescheduled after it was revealed the original coroner Suzanne Greenaway was not properly qualified.
‘That is what we expected. It is the same evidence so it was bound to reach the same conclusion. What other conclusion could they reach?’ he said.
Asked whether he felt let down by the coroner’s office, which failed to undertake adequate checks to make sure Miss Greenaway was qualified to practice in the UK, he said: ‘It was a massive cock up.
‘They messed up twice – once when they sent the original coroner’s report to the wrong address and the second time when a coroner who wasn’t qualified oversaw the inquest.
‘It is preposterous.’
Mitch said he had chosen not to go to today’s inquest because he wanted to spare himself and his family the ordeal of hearing the circumstances surrounding his daughter’s tragic demise.
He said: ‘There was no need for us to go today. If we had been in London we wouldn’t have gone, I wasn’t going to put my family through that, it was horrible. That is the end of the story.’