Sports & Entertainment
Singer Amy Winehouse poisoned by alcohol: inquest
  • | AFP | October 27, 2011 03:37 PM

Singer Amy Winehouse was more than five times over the British drink-drive limit when she died, an inquest heard, as a coroner delivered a verdict of death by misadventure.

Singer Amy Winehouse, seen here in 2009, was more than five times the legal drink-drive limit when she died, an inquest has heard, as a coroner delivered a verdict of death by misadventure.

The inquest heard that Winehouse, 27, who was found dead at her London home on July 23 following years of alcohol and drug addiction, repeatedly ignored her doctor\'s warnings about the effects of prolonged bouts of drinking.

The hearing in London on Wednesday was told that the "Back to Black" singer had suddenly drunk heavily after abstaining for three weeks and was poisoned by alcohol.

Police recovered three empty bottles of vodka, two large and one small, from her home.

Winehouse had 416 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood at the time of her death. The legal drink-drive limit is 80mg.

Coroner Suzanne Greenway said: "She had consumed sufficient alcohol at 416mg per decilitre (of blood) and the unintended consequence of such potentially fatal levels was her sudden and unexpected death."

Her father Mitch Winehouse has said that his daughter made repeated attempts to quit alcohol but without any medical supervision.

Her doctor, Christina Romete, said the singer\'s behaviour just before her death fitted a pattern in which Winehouse would abstain from alcohol for weeks on end only to hit the bottle again for weeks at a time.

Romete said she had repeatedly warned the star of the dangers of her lifestyle.

"The advice I had given to Amy over a long period of time was verbal and in written form about all the effects alcohol can have on the system, including respiratory depression and death, heart problems, fertility problems and liver problems," she said.

Winehouse, who was taking medication to cope with alcohol withdrawal and anxiety, was assessed last year by a psychologist and psychiatrist about her drinking but "had her own views" about treatment.

"She had her own way and was very determined to do everything her own way," said Romete. "Including any form of therapy. She had very strict views."

Winehouse\'s family issued a statement after the verdict, saying: "It is some relief to finally find out what happened to Amy.

"The court heard that 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.

"She had started drinking again that week after a period of abstinence."

The family has set up a foundation in her name to help disadvantaged or disabled children.

Following her death, the "Back to Black" album -- first released in 2006 -- has become Britain\'s highest-selling album of the 21st century.

Winehouse rocketed to fame after winning five Grammy awards off the back of that album and famously sang about her refusal to seek treatment for her addiction in her single "Rehab".

She was discovered in bed in her flat in the trendy north London neighbourhood of Camden.

The inquest heard that a post-mortem examination found her vital organs in good health and with no traces of illegal drugs.

But the high level of alcohol in her system probably stopped her breathing and plunged her into a coma.

Winehouse is believed to have come close to death four years earlier, in August 2007, following an overdose.

She was admitted to a London hospital after taking cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and marijuana.

Her weight plummeted and she was regularly pictured drunk emerging from pubs in London.

Throughout her battles with addiction, Winehouse has a tempestuous marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil, but the pair split up in 2009.

There were hopes that Winehouse could be returning to full health after she spent eight months on the Caribbean island of St Lucia, but her comeback soon fizzled out amid reports of shambolic performances at low-key concerts.

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