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Thursday, October 27, 2011

I don't want to die: Amy's word hours before being found dead at five times drink-drive limit

-Police recovered three bottles of vodka, two large and one small
-Coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure
-Singer was five times the drink-drive limit

By Vanessa Allen

Solemn: Mitch Winehouse leaves the court with Amy's stepmother Jane (left) while the singer's mother Janis (right) was supported by family and friends as she emerges from the hearing

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.

Into the spotlight: The family of Amy Winehouse emerge from the coroner's court to be met by waiting photographers following the conclusion of the singer's inquest

Support: The singer's mother Janis (left) is flanked by family and friends as she leaves the inquest, where she heard her daughter was more than five times the legal drink drive limit

Emotional: At times it looked like the strain of today's inquest was almost too hard to bear for the singer's distraught mother as she was helped from the court

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.

Winehouse's final hours will be revealed today. An initial post-mortem in July proved inconclusive

Amy Winehouse's father Mitch and his partner Jane arrive at St Pancras Coroner's Court today for an inquest into the singer's death

Bearing up: Winehouse's mother Janis smiles as she arrives for the inquest

Mr Winehouse enters the court today. At his daughter's funeral in July, he told mourners his daughter had been the happiest she had been in a long time in the weeks before her death

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.’

Troubled life: Amy arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court with her father Mitch in March 2009 to face charges of assaulting a fan

Tributes: Mourners gather outside Amy's flat in Camden to pay their respects after her death in July



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