Alcohol not drugs killed Amy Winehouse, inquest reveals
PUBLISHED: 18:07 26 October 2011
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Amy Winehouse was found dead after a serious alcohol binge, surrounded by three empty bottles of vodka, a court has heard.
The soul star was found by her live-in security guard lying in her bed at home in Camden Square, with two large and one small empty bottles close by.
St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard how pathologist Professor Suhail Baithin discovered a lethal dose of alcohol in her blood during post-mortem examinations.
Dr Christina Romete, the Back to Black star’s GP of four years, said the singer had managed to steer clear of the drink for almost three weeks before she relapsed in the days leading up to her death.
Dr Romete visited the 27-year-old on the night before her death and was greeted by a “tipsy” and “calm” Winehouse who said she could not recall when she had broken her abstinence.
Winehouse was said to be last seen at 2am by her security officer Andrew Morris, laughing, listening to music, and with “big plans for the weekend”, according to Mr Morris.
Dr Romete told the court: “The advice that I had given to Amy over a period of time verbally and in written form about all the effects alcohol can have on her system, included respiratory depression to the heart, problems with fertility, and liver problems.”
Professor Baithin said the five-time Grammy award-winner was found to have 416 milligrammes of alcohol per decilitre of blood.
Alcohol can prove life-threatening when it is anywhere above 350mg.
He said: “Above the level of 80, you’re not supposed to drive, it may go up to 200 and at that level the person would start to lose control of their reflexes and it’s dangerous.”
He added: “This level of alcohol can stop the respiration system in the brain resulting in death.”
Traces of therapeutic drugs to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms were the only other toxins in the pathologist’s examination.
Assistant deputy coroner Suzanne Greenway ruled death by misadventure, ruling out any third party involvement.
Police launched an immediate investigation after ambulance staff pronounced Winehouse’s death at her home in Camden Square. CCTV footage showed that no-one apart from Dr Romete had visited the house in the hours leading up to her death.
Coroner Suzanne Greenway said: “She was described as an intelligent and determined young woman who at times was successful in abstaining from alcohol consumption.”
She added: “In the immediate period prior to her death she had consumed significant alcohol to achieve a blood level of 416mg per decilitre of blood and the consequences for her of such a level was her sudden and unexpected death.”