The death of Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix was NOT murdered
and wasn't dead for hours at the Samarkand Hotel.
A private investigation
Jimi was 27 when he died of course and not 24 years old as the headline stated.
I know, this site is a record guide but this subject needs attention. I must say first of all that this page only came together thanks to all the painstaking research done over the years by Kathy Etchingham/Dee Mitchell (Mitch's second wife), Michael Fairchild, Caesar Glebbeek, Harry Shapiro, Tony Brown, Dennis Care, David Kramer, Sharon Lawrence and others. So thank you guys and gals for all your hard work and dedication. Various books can still be found out there and Kathy's book, though out of print (and expensive used) has a Kindle edition.
The circumstances surrounding Jimi's death have been subject to much speculation. Theories abound claiming that it was suicide, an accident and even that it was a murder conspiracy, instigated by his manager Michael Jeffery!
The events in Washington DC illustrated the lunacy that comes out of conspiracy theory mentalities. The same blind refusal of irrefutable facts has also taken hold within the Hendrix fan community over the years thanks to a succession of inaccurate information, blatant money-making lies and also the perverted desire to paint the musician as a helpless victim of the establishment and a machiavellian manager.
A great deal of terribly conflicting "evidence" and quotes about Jimi's passing have accumulated over the years, in books, DVDs and now on the internet. As you will see on this page, many of the people involved in that terrible day when Jimi passed away, give self-contradicting statements about what happened. For example, In his book "Hendrix: The Final Days", Tony Brown mentions that he interviewed the key witness Monika Dannemannn many times in the 80s and she would change her story from one call to the next! As you will see on this page, Jimi's road crew, Eric Burdon, the ambulance men, the doctors, a policeman (!),... also changed their stories as they went along, making amateur sleuthing a very difficult task!
So I realised that within this infuriating tangle of conflicting accounts, there must be a path to understanding what happened on that disastrous morning. The accounts couldn't all be wrong or invented. With this in mind, I set about looking for the accounts which complimented or eliminated another. I must say that this is all only based on the (confused) information that we have so far and the common sense deductions that can be made from it. If any further information becomes available (particularly about what happened at the Samarkand Hotel and the "clean-up" crew) then that would change a lot of assumptions on this page, and I have no problem with that.
Looking through all the data, it became evident that it was imperative to start at the hospital, because the procedures carried out there give us essential information about Jimi's condition at that crucial moment. Working logically back from those facts permits one to eliminate a great number of false accounts (the murder, the pre-ambulance clean-up, the long-dead Jimi, the lungs full of wine, etc.).
First of all, attempted suicide seems VERY unlikely. There are many quotes saying that Jimi was depressed, confused and insecure this stage (Sharon Lawrence in particular witnessed this) but others ( Mitch Mitchell, Alan Douglas, Gerry Stickells,...) said that Jimi was generally in good spirits and bursting with fresh ideas and looking forward to getting new projects under way!
So the solution is to begin with the inescapable fact that renders the murder theory immediately obsolete:
September 18th 1970:
Jimi certainly WASN'T long-dead on arrival at the hospital
At the inquest into Jimi's death on September 28th 1970, it was stated that he passed away in the ambulance. This had also been confirmed to the press by a hospital spokesperson on the afternoon of the 18th. This was the reason why he was then rushed to the Resuscitation Roon (or Emergency Room) and it eliminates the theory that Jimi had been dead for hours at the Samarkand Hotel.
The function of the Resuscitation Room is to perform CPR on people who have stopped breathing and have no pulse BUT might have a chance of being resuscitated, before the point of no return - brain death. Doctors NEVER attempt to revive long-dead corpses that are over an hour, let alone six or seven hours dead because of the visible signs of livor mortis (a.k.a. "dependant lividity" - skin discoloration) and rigor mortis (stiffness of the jaw, neck, limbs,...) which inform them that the person is completely irrecuperable.
Prior to admission, arrivals are always triaged and bodies exhibiting those signs are sent directly to the morgue. Jimi obviously exhibited none because he had just passed away in the ambulance (or at The Samarkand shortly before or after the ambulance arrived)
This simple fact has been overlooked for decades (more details about this further down the page).
All this "Jimi was murdered" nonsense stems from two highly unreliable sources.
1 - The ex-roadie Tappy Wright, who by his own admission invented a murder story in order to help the sales of his book!
2 - The ex Dr. Bannister, who was on trial for fraud when he came forward with his story 20 years after the tragedy. His story didn't correspond at all with what the ambulance staff or the other hospital staff had stated, nor with the coroner's report, nor the autopsy! It transpires that he was in fact describing another case - that of a man who was over 7 feet tall (details further down)!
So the conspiracy theorist has nothing whatsoever to back up the theory. Doctors trying to revive someone who has been dead for 5 or 6 hours? Hilarious! That would be a medical first! Work harder Igor! Pumping wine out of a long-dead stiff in the resuscitation room of an Emergencies ward? Lunacy.
It's bizarre that the conspiracy theorist thinks that Jimi died through water-boarding with wine, especially when water-boarding is... a method of torture, not murder!
It's a long, messy torture technique and would have left very obvious, incriminating evidence at the scene of the supposed crime. No "hit-men" would ever adopt such a clumsy, scrappy technique. If Mike Jeffrey wanted Jimi killed, why would a method of torture be used when there are quicker and cleaner ways to do away someone? The perfect crime would have been an overdose injection of heroin for example, which would have gone unnoticed as a crime because of Jimi's reputation as a drug-taker (not to mention his trial for heroin possession in Toronto a year earlier - for which he was aquitted luckily)! Whatever, we have forensic proof that Jimi didn't drown in wine. Read on.
Jimi's manager wasn't an ex-MI5/MI6 operative
Another fake story that is bandied around is that Mike Jeffrey once worked for the British secret service during his army days. Jeffrey was known for his dodgy methods, as being a scheming businessman and money-maker. He liked to use methods of intimidation and would brag that he used to be in the secret service. However, detailed research has revealed that he in fact was nothing more that a regular soldier who never rose above the very low rank of Private!
The "Jimi was worked like a slave till he dropped" nonsense
It's as if there is a desire among some Hendrix fans and conspiracy lovers to portray Jimi as a weak victim of Jeffrey's manipulations, driven to tour until he dropped, worked to death etc. All rubbish. If you look at the timeline, there were only heavy touring periods in the early promotional days of 1967 (as with any band of the era), a dense period in early 1968 (USA promotion) but after that, Jimi toured little in 1969 and 1970 and even arranged with Jeffrey to group gigs only around weekends. Another popular myth bites the dust.
The 2016 autopsy review confirms: Hendrix wasn't murdered.
I'll put this up now to save you a lot of time dear reader. In 2016, 46 years after Jimi's passing, Prof. Robert Donald Teare's post-mortem report was analysed by the highly experienced forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael D. Hunter, who has performed over 4000 autopsies to determine cause of death and has testified in several serious criminal trials. His detailed report was made public on the ReelzTV documentary titled "Autopsy - The Last Hours Of Jimi Hendrix". Despite the glossy, prime-time presentation and some factual errors about Jimi and the events of his last few days in London, the documentary finally provides the proof that Jimi Hendrix wasn't murdered.
Over the decades since Jimi's death, forensic science has greatly evolved and using this accumulated knowledge, Dr. Hunter goes step by step through every aspect of the 1970 autopsy report to reach his conclusion. Also taken into account are some details about Jimi's last couple of weeks in Europe.
Proof that Jimi didn't drown in wine
Relating to the conspiracy theory that Jimi had been forcibly water-boarded with red wine, Dr. Hunter says that such an aggression would have been revealed in the autopsy by "an elevated level of alcohol in the blood". So the time it would take for the struggling and drowning would be long enough for the stomach and lungs to absorb alcohol in great quantities. The autopsy report notes 5 mgs/100 ml in Jimi's blood, which Dr. Hunter states are low levels and not compatible with drowning in wine. This is important as the conspiracy theorists and even the books have touted Jimi's low alcohol level as being a sign that he had drowned in wine without any alchohol being absorbed by his system during the (fictitious) murder. There of course wasn't any trace of wine in the fluids that were found in Jimi's lungs and stomach during Professeur Teare's autopsy.
Hunter also says that if Jimi forcibly drowned in wine, there would be visible signs of struggle, injury but there were none on Jimi. "There's no evidence of injury on him.... We can pretty much rule out that there is inflicted trauma that resulted in the death...".
One must point out here that in the 90s, Dr. Bannister reported that all the wine was in fact in the lungs of a 7 foot tall man which clearly wasn't Hendrix (more of that further down).
The real cause of death - sleeping pills and a "black bomber"
Dr. Hunter says that Jimi's heart dilation could also have been caused by drug consumption. The autopsy revealed no presence of chemicals that would indicate consumption of LSD, heroin or cocaine but there was a trace of the amphetamine Durofet (street name "Black Bomber") in Jimi's urine (given to Jimi by Devon at Pete Kameron's party) and the presence in Jimi's blood of the barbiturate quinalbarbitone (from Monika Danneman's Vesparax sleeping tablets). Hunter sees the latter as being the actual cause of Jimi's death saying "I have no doubt that Vesparax is what killed Jimi" and that the inhalation of vomit was not the reason why he died. Jimi's lungs did inhale vomit but only after he brain had been fatally damaged by the chemicals in the Vesparax tablets - "Jimi Hendrix died, not as a result of him choking on vomit but of polydrug toxicity" which "led to his respiratory failure and his death".
In summing up, Dr. Hunter says that the from evidence that is there, "we can discount murder." (just as Dr. Rhufus Compton stated to the BBC: "There is no villain").
It's extraordinary how people have been duped by all this conspiracy theory nonsense of a murder, of "waterboarding with wine", etc.
To see things more clearly, it is important to look at the sequence of events in detail, to give a better picture of what actually happened on September 17th and 18th 1970.
Back in London, after the Fehmarn Island pop festival
The 1970 European tour
Jimi's late summer European tour had been quite disastrous. He had been eager to stay in New York to finally finish off his next studio album but ELectric Lady Studios was half a million dollars over budget and fast cash input was desperately needed. Robbie Krieger says in his autobiography that he was next to Jimi on the plane to England for the Isle of Wight in August 1970 (The Doors also played there of course) and he remembers that Jimi asked him if he knew where to score drugs in England and to call him if he managed to score (and it wasn't marijuana according to Kreiger).
As soon as Jimi arrived in London, Kathy Etchingham got a panicked call from Angie Burdon, telling her that Jimi had gone mad. Angie and another girl had been having fun with Jimi who suddenly snapped, smashed up the hotel suite and threw the naked girls out of his bedroom, trapping them in the sitting room. Kathy dashed over there and found a dilapidated Jimi in bed with a fever and with the fire full-on (even though it was warm weather at the time). Kathy recounted that Jimi complained of having a bad cold and that he looked very ill and was perhaps in substance withdrawal. In 1996, she embellished that a little, telling Musician magazine "He was suffering from a reactive depression from all the problems he had."
Jimi's autopsy revealed that he had a dilated right side of the heart. Mentioning the Londonderry Hotel incident (where Kathy Etchingham had found Jimi in bed, shivering, with the heating on) Dr. Michael D. Hunter says "..he's in a very warm room but he's cold. That may suggest that he has either a fever or possibly an infection." From what the autopsy says and the fact that Jimi complained of having an unshakable "cold" in the last fortnight of his life, Hunter rules out rheumatic fever but says "It's possible, given Jimi's symptoms, that the dilation that we see with his heart is a response to a viral infection." So Jimi could possibly have been suffering from the flu.
Folk musician Ralph Mctell recounted that at the Isle Of Wight festival, Jimi was due to be on stage but couldn't be located. He was eventually found passed out in somebody's garden near the festival site. His performance at the festival from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. was shambolic and lacklustre (the band hadn't played together at all since the Hawaii gigs a month earlier). Jimi looked drawn and exhausted. Mitch later confirmed that they were "rusty". Later in the same day, the band played in Stockholm and before the gig, apparently Jimi downed a bottle of whisky before taking the stage. Another spoilt performance ensued. This was followed by a shoddy performance at Gothenburg (Chas Chandler attended and found Jimi to be a shadow of his former self). The next night it was the catastrophic Arrhus gig where a wrecked Jimi abandoned the performance after just two songs (backstage, he asked the organisers if they had any cocaine). Perhaps he got that cocaine for the next gig in Copenhagen where he put on fantastic performance (the best of the aborted tour). The following Berlin show was weaker but his final concert at Fehmarn was an improvement, however the occasion was marred by bad weather and trouble with aggressive Hells Angels. Billy Cox had been spiked with bad acid a couple of days earlier and was going through nervous depression and paranoia. The rest of the tour had to be suspended and a replacement bass player had to be found. Noel Redding was called but failed to respond before it was too late.
Right after the Fehmarn Island concert (September 6th), Jimi flew back to London and checked into the Cumberland Hotel. He spent a week flitting around town with one of his many girlfriends Kirsten Nefer but from the night of Tuesday, September 15th (after Nefer left for a film role with future James Bond actor George Lazenby) his sleeping hours were spent at a basement apartment of the Samarkand Hotel in Notting Hill, which was being rented by another girlfriend named Monika Dannemann. Jimi in fact often used his many girlfriend's places to escape from the pressure of fans or even his own entourage and management. Apparently, his baggage was at The Cumberland hotel but as always, he had a guitar with him - his favourite "Black Beauty" Strat.
Jimi had met first Danneaman in January 1969 while in Dusseldorf and had renewed contact with her on his return to Europe for the 1970 tour. Various reports state that Jimi had proposed marriage to at least three girls around this time: Kirsten Nefer, Monika Dannemann and his Swedish girlfriend Catherina! Jimi was seemingly desperate to find a close companion in his life. Kirsten Nefer said in an interview"Jimi really wanted to get married" and was aware that Jimi must have said this to many girls. The press got hold of this and blew it all out of proportion, saying that they were engaged, which Kirsten firmly denied.
The journalist Sharon Lawrence was a close friend of Jimi's and she recounts in her book ("Jimi Hendrix: The Man, The Magic, The Truth") that she met Jimi at Ronnie Scott's Club (on Tuesday, September 15th) where Eric Burdon & War had a short residency. She describes him as being in a sorry state, not even recognising her at first. "His face was ashen and his brown eyes appeared exhausted and even frightened. Never had I seen him like this. "Sharon..." he said. "Oh Sharon." He gazed at me and he muttered, "I'm almost gone."
Jimi's poor condition was confirmed by Burdon and his band. They wouldn't let Jimi play with them because he was in such a bad state. They invited him to come back the next day.
The following night (Wednesday the 16th of September) Jimi was apparently much better. He visited Chas Chandler at his Montague Square flat (which they had shared in the early London days). Jimi asked Chas if he could help him beat the new album into shape and he planned to transfer the master tapes from Electric Lady Studios to Olympic. The two planned to meet up the following week to get things moving. Later in the evening, after a party at Dick Fontaine's house for Judy Wong's birthday, Jimi went again to Ronnie Scott's (with Monika) and jammed with Eric Burdon & War (the show was taped, eventually surfacing on bootlegs).
In her book and the many interviews, Monika Dannemann painted quite a rosy picture of Jimi's last day or two but even though Jimi had proposed marriage to her (as he'd also done to two other girls!), it is evident from the various eye-witness accounts that things weren't going at all well between them.
Here is the sequence of events on Thursday, September 17 right up to the fateful morning of the 18th :
The famous photo by Monika Dannemann of Jimi in the rear garden of The Samarkand Hotel on September 17th, 1970,
which has appeared all over the world in various publications since the early 70s. More about this further down.
After jamming with Eric Burdon's band War at Ronnie Scott's and a meal at The Speakeasy on the evening of Wednesday the 16th, Jimi spent the night at Dannemann's rented Samarkand Hotel basement suite.
Trixie Sullivan (Mike Jeffrey's assistant) was in Majorca with Mike managing his nightclub (Sgt. Pepper's) and she says in Tony Brown's "The Last Days" - "Mike had arranged that everyone would go over for a short break, so they could discuss picking a new bass player for Jimi and continuing with the tour schedule." (hardly the behaviour of someone planning to kill Jimi as the conspiracy theorist likes to imagine).
Trixie goes on to say that Jimi phoned the Majorca office asking for Mike but he was out, so he asked that Mike call him back. Mike called back in the evening but a violent storm hampered communications and he didn't get through to London. A shame that Jimi didn't get the chance to take that little break.
In the afternoon of 17th, Monika grabbed her camera and took the now famous photos of Jimi in the rear garden of the hotel. She later claimed that these were intended to be for Jimi's next album, which Jimi wanted her to design. The couple then went shopping in Chelsea and at Kensington Market. Kathy Etchingham told Curtis Knight (interview for his book "Jimi" - W.H. Allen 1974) that she saw Jimi with Monika at the market but that he didn't see her. Later, in her own book, Kathy said that she talked to Jimi and that he invited her to meet him at The Cumberland Hotel.Whatever - a detail.
Heading back to the Cumberland, Jimi spotted his other girlfriend Devon Wilson with Alan Douglas's wife Stella, on King's Road, Chelsea. They invited Jimi to a party to be held that evening at Pete Kameron's flat (Kameron was a music entrepreneur/manager/producer who had been involved with setting up Track Records with Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp in 1966).
Jimi went back to The Cumberland (perhaps to drop off his shopping) and left a message with the New York office to tell Eddie Kramer that he would be back there on Monday. Mitch Mitchell phoned Jimi at the Cumberland asking if he wanted to join them later at The Speakeasy for a jam with Sly Stone. Jimi was up for it.
He didn't make it.
The visit to Phillip Harvey's apartment
Phillip Harvey, the son of the late British politician Lord Harvey of Prestbury and member of the Parliament for the Conservative party, wrote a detailed affidavit (which emerged in 1995 after the death of Harvey's father) stating that Harvey, Penny Ravenhill (then 16) and Anne Day (then 19), spent some time with Jimi and Monika at Harvey's home at 4, Clarkes Mews on the evening of the 17th. This is important information as it gives us clues to Monika's character.
In the late afternoon/early evening, Harvey was driving through London in his 1968 Mustang with two young and attractive teenagers in the front seat with him. The girls saw Jimi in Monika's car and waved. Jimi waved back. The two cars came up next to each other and they got chatting. Harvey invited Jimi to his home for a drink and fun-loving Jimi accepted, but first they followed him to the Cumberland Hotel where he dropped off his shopping, checked his messages and spoke to Mitch Mitchell on the phone, before he and Monika followed Harvey to his nearby home. Harvey described most of the time spent with Hendrix as "remarkably pleasant" but Dannemann was anti-social and later became violently hostile. The following is an excerpt from Phillip Harvey's affidavit:
"With the exception of Monika who, as the evening progressed, appeared to me to become more and more upset, we had been having a remarkably pleasant evening, happy and interested in each other's company. Then about 10:00pm at a particular moment when Jimi had gone to the downstairs cloakroom, Monika quite suddenly, and for no particular apparent reason, got up and stormed down the four steps leading from the reception room, through the double glass doors, past the door to the cloakroom, down the hall and out of the front door into the mews, shouting as she left, "I'm leaving! I'm leaving now! I've had enough!" Jimi who had obviously heard something quickly came out of the cloakroom and back into the reception room. I explained to him briefly what had happened. He looked at us in a most embarrassed way and raised his eyebrows to the ceiling. He said, "I'd better go and see what's wrong with her." He then followed her out into the mews leaving the front door ajar.
In the kitchen and the hall at the front of the house, I could hear Monika out in the mews shouting at Jimi at the top of her voice, even though the individual words themselves were indistinct. There was even some noise in the reception room at the back of the house. At one point, when Monika's screaming reached a particular prolonged high peak, I went to the front door to see what was happening. I was genuinely concerned that blows might be struck, and I was also worried that the loud screaming might provoke a complaint to the police from the management of the King Edward VI hospital on the other side of the mews directly opposite the house.
Jimi was just standing quietly there in the mews while Monika verbally assaulted him in the most offensive possible way. As I approached them, I remember hearing her shout at him, "You fucking pig!" I interrupted them and suggested that they should come back into the house as I didn't want the police called. Monika simply carried on shouting at Jimi, telling me viciously to mind my own business. She didn't seem to care less that she might be disturbing the neighbourhood or, indeed, making a public spectacle of herself. In fact, Clarkes Mews is very quiet, especially at night, and I saw no sign of anybody else in the vicinity. I went back inside the house, leaving the front door open ajar so that they could come back inside the house if they wanted to.
Monika's haranguing of Jimi continued in my best estimation for about half an hour. I went outside one further time to try and cool things down, and to see if anybody else's attention had been attracted to the scene, but Monika's shouting was at such a pitch that I decided not to interfere again. While I did not personally see any blows struck and Jimi, on two occasions I went outside, looked remarkably calm given the viciousness of Monika's language, the violence in her voice and posture would suggest to me that she might well have struck him during the extended scene. I was actually quite worried that Monika might resort to serious physical violence, but Jimi appeared to me to be a fit man and I thought that, on balance, he was probably quite capable of looking after himself, and I had only just met them earlier that day and didn't know any details about their relationship.
At about 10:30 pm Jimi came back into the house alone, and walked into the reception room where Penny, Anne and I were still wondering what was going to happen next. He apologized profusely for Monika's behaviour and said he was very embarrassed. He said he didn't really know what was wrong with her but she had obviously had too much to drink. He said that Monika refused to come back into the house and that, as he couldn't abandon her, he would have to leave with her. He said that my house at 4 Clarkes Mews was the nicest scene he had found in London and that he would definitely visit us again when he got back from the USA which he thought would be in a few weeks' time…He thanked the two girls and myself for our generous hospitality. I saw him out into the mews and he left with Monika driving the car. Monika was still screaming at Jimi as they left and she did not say a word to me. The time was about 10:40pm."It's not clear if Jimi and Monika actually stayed at Harvey's till around 10:30. Monika later said that they returned to the Samarkand between 8 and 8:30 pm.
Interesting to note that Monika's possessive behaviour was more like that of someone who had been in a relationship for months or years. She had only been with Jimi for 2 days! Jimi must have been wondering what sort of mess he had gotten himself into.
Scotch of St. James?
Eric Clapton said that he saw Jimi in a bar that evening but didn't join him. In June 2011, musician Meic Stevens stated that he was with Jimi at the Scotch.
Apparently, Jimi was intrigued that Stevens was drinking Louis St George Burgundy and wanted to try it. Stevens added: "[Hendrix] was drinking lager or some kind of beer and he just poured the wine in to the pint glass." So if this is true, it at least shows that Jimi was in a festive mood.
Devon Wilson Stella Douglas Angie Burdon
The visit to Pete Kameron's apartment
More proof of Monika's possessive jealousy came in the early hours of September 18th when Jimi went to that party he had been invited to at Pete Kameron's apartment, which was on the same square as The Cumberland Hotel.Monika to The Daily Sketch (29 September 1970): "About 1.10 a.m. he told me he had to go to see some people. I dropped him off at a flat and then picked him up again just after three o'clock.". In Tony Brown's "Jimi Hendrix: A Visual Documentary", Monika is quoted as saying that she drove Jimi round to Kameron's flat in Great Cumberland Street at 1:45 a.m.
So Jimi didn't take Monika into the gathering, presumably because Devon Wilson was there. According to Monika had been insulted by Devon at Ronnie Scott's and that Jimi's intention was to go and talk to Devon, to tell her to lay off. Also at the party were Alan Douglas's wife Stella, Eric Burdon's ex-wife Angie and several others.
At the inquest Dannemann made no mention of this party but in interviews she said that Jimi asked her to drop him off at the party and to pick him up after a short time. Those at the party indicated that Jimi came, hung out, ate some Chinese take-away food and was cool until sometime later when Dannemann began ringing for him on the intercom. He put her off but she came back half an hour later. This became a heated thing and gradually got on everybody's nerves. Stella Douglas went to the intercom and was extremely rude to Monika apparently. This did not put Monika off. Pretty soon, as Angie Burdon recalled, guests were hanging out the window, yelling at Monika. They cried, "Fuck off!" and "Leave him alone!" yet Dannemann persisted. Then finally, Jimi went to the intercom, mumbled something and then without saying anything, just got into the elevator and left. "That was around three in the morning by then." according to Angie. So this means that Jimi was only at Kameron's flat between 1:30 and 3 a.m.
In an article about her book in Guitarist magazine, Monika said that when Jimi left the party, he had a handful of drugs that the others had given to him. He said that he hadn't taken any of them and threw them in a drain.
Bob Levine is quoted (in "Setting The Record Straight" by McDermott/Kramer) that Mike Jeffery was at this party! Bob must have got his wires crossed because Jeffrey was confirmed to have been in Spain at the time and nobody else at the party ever said that Jeffery was there.
A bizarre account appeared in the notorious trashy newspaper the Daily Mail came from a "musician" who was at the party (his identity wasn't disclosed). "I heard the next day that Jimi had asked for some drugs known as leapers but had been given sleepers instead. It was an understandable mistake, the music was so loud," the source said. "He started to go and people were slapping him, trying to wake him up, but with all those pills inside him it was doing no good. People were trying everything they could think of to get him back, but Jimi was gone. As far as I am aware from people who were there, Jimi died at the party - not in bed at his girlfriend's flat." This hearsay doesn't fit anything. If Jimi died at the party, why would he be taken to Monika's flat and left there for hours. Makes no sense.
> Pete Kameron
Monika and Eric Burdon's girlfriend Alvenia Bridges said that after this party, Jimi and Monika drove round to visit Alvenia where she was staying (at Pat Hartley and Dick Fontain's house on Elvaston Place) and that they went for a drink in Soho before they dropped Alvenia off at Ronnie Scott's (obviously to meet Eric who was playing there with War). In David Henderson's book (Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky) it says that Jimi and Monika drove around some more after that.
Monika later recounted that she and Jimi then returned to the Samarkand at approximately 3 a.m. but if we follow what Angie Burdon said (Jimi left Kameron's flat at around 3 a.m.), after the trip to meet Alvenia and the drink in a Soho bar and passing by Ronnie Scott's and driving back, it would appear that the return to The Samarkand was more like 4 a.m. or even later.
All these details illustrate that Dannemann was not some sort of calculated agent working for Jeffery, MI5, the CIA,... The conspiracy theorist believes that she was on a mission for Jeffrey, to lure him back to The Samarkand to be murdered. As we have seen, she willingly flitted all over the place until around 4 or 5 a.m. and from what people have said about the evening, her behaviour was that of a young, naive girl, jealously in love with Jimi.
Sleeping pills at the Samarkand
So the detailed events above reveal that after flitting hap-hazardly around London Jimi and Monika returned to The Samarkand Hotel at around between 4 and 5 a.m. on the morning of the 18th.
The furious arguing between Monika and Jimi wasn't over apparently. Monika told P.C. Ian Smith (when he took a statement from her on the afternoon of the 18th) that upon their return to the Samarkand flat they had an argument again!
P.C. Ian Smith: "She said they had an argument and he'd stormed off to cool down. When he came back, he took some sleeping tablets and went to bed. Then she went out, and when she came back, he'd been sick and she couldn't wake him" (4)
So following the time when Jimi left Pete Kameron's flat, the following visit to meet Alvenia Bridges, the following drinks in Soho, the return to The Samarkand (at around 4 a.m.?) and the further row with Jimi going out to cool off,... a lot of time passed. This would mean that Jimi might have taken the first sleeping pill(s) between and 4 and 6 a.m.
The number of pills and when they were taken
So much for Monika's account that they'd had a tranquil night at the flat. What actually happened on their return to the Samarkand is shrouded in mystery and the multitude of varying accounts from Monika Damnation.
- In one account, she said on their return to the flat Jimi suggested taking sleeping pills but she insisted that he should wait a while.
- She told P.Weyell of the Coroner's Office that at 7 a.m. "He took some tablets and went to bed".
- Six days after Jimi's death on September 24, an interview with Monika appeared in the German magazine, Bild. In the interview Monika said "He could not sleep. So I gave him the tablets."- In other accounts, Monika tried to make it seem that Jimi had found the tablets all by himself, without her knowing. In the Daily Sketch, ten days after Jimi's death, Monika recounted:
"I took a sleeping tablet about 7 a.m....I wanted some cigarettes but as Jimi did not like me going out without me telling him, I looked to see if he was awake. He was sleeping normally. Just before I was about to go out, I looked at him again and there was sick on his nose and mouth. He was breathing and his pulse was beating. I checked it with mine and there was no difference. Then I tried to wake him up - but I could not. I then saw that he had taken some of my sleeping tablets.... They are in packets of ten and I thought he had taken the lot but a police officer found one on the floor. He must have taken them shortly after I started to go to sleep."
- In another quote (1), she said "I was trying to work out why Jimi Had swallowed so many sleeping tablets. The only answer I could find was that after I had fallen asleep he had taken the two tablets he had planned to take earlier."Monika has always said that from a pack that contained 4 blisters of 10 tablets, Jimi had ingested 9 Vesparax tablets because the police had found a tablet near the bed. However; Monika has always said (multiple times) that she took one tablet herself! So that would only leave 8 pills for Jimi to take, not 9!
Did Jimi take less than 8 pills on the morning of the 18?
We have seen Monika's conflicting accounts of how the pills were taken but she also told the authors of Electric Gypsy: "...these tablets were not very strong. He had tried them out before and he couldn't sleep with them." So one of her stories is that Jimi had taken Vesparax pills BEFORE the morning of the 18th!
To lend more credibilty to this, in a Guitarist magazine article, Monika talks about the sleeping pills saying: "Jimi had already taken one a few days earlier"!
During her 90s investigation, Kathy Etchingham asked the opinion of a forensic doctor (Dr. Rufus Compton) about the details on the autopsy report and he said that the barbiturate reading in Jimi's liver was so high that he couldn't have survived (Dr. Michael D. Hunter came to the same conclusion). Still, this doesn't give clear indication of the actual amount of Vesparax pills taken at the Samarkand but Kathy said of Compton's analysis: "...when another pathologist looked into this in 1994, his conclusion was that there was no evidence that he had taken 9 tablets, because the toxicology levels could have been as few as five, to have had those levels. The only person that said he took 9 was the girl herself, Monika Dannemann. There was no evidence that he’d taken 9, he could have taken 5. It would have had the same devastating effect."
There is yet another account from Jimi's friend Buzzy Linhart (who had played vibraphone on "Drifting") which matches this. He was in New York when he heard of Jimi's death. He went to Electric Lady Studios to find out more and received a phone call:
"I picked up the telephone on the receptionist's desk and it was Dolly Dagger (Devon Wilson) telling me I had to believe her. What she told me was that Jimi had called her the day or so before and told her that he had been up for days. He had talked to his doctor in New York City and the doctor said "You've got to get some sleep" - the doctor said "Do you want me to call in some sleeping pills for you to a doctor I know in London?" Jimi said" No, that's OK, there's Tuinaols in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom here." They agreed that Jimi- having a great tolerance to this type of drug -would need to take 3 capsules. But this turned out to be the German Tuinaols which were the EQUIVALENT of three a piece, so they turned out to have the potency of 9 of his usual Tuinol capsules." (from Inside The Legacy Of Jimi Hendrix by Joe Viglione and Buzzy Linhart)
If we are to take Devon's account as being factual, Jimi's U.S. doctor (no idea who that was) gave Jimi the go-ahead to take 3 tablets. The doctor perhaps had only Jimi's word that the pills were Tuinals. Jimi in fact had Monika's super strong German prescription Vesparax pills in his hand but perhaps recognised their listed contents and simply called them "Tuinols" (which was the brand name he was familiar). Vesparax was in fact a combination of secobarbital/brallobarbital/hydroxyzine and Tuinols were composed of only secobarbital) - hence his erroneous assumption about the pills' potency.
In a letter to Harry Shapiro (dated Feb. 28 1992); Dr. Rufus Compton writes, "Vesparax is indeed as strong as a 200 mg barbiturate capsule. Hendrix may not have realised this. [He] may have realised that he was too high on amphetamine and looked for a barbiturate to bring him down. Not being familiar with Vesparax, he could have taken too much, seriously inhibiting his normal cough reflex, so that when he drank some wine, it went down the wrong way and was not coughed up."
This is nonsense. If Jimi was very heavily sedated, unconscious, he wouldn't be drinking wine! Crompton was obviously being swayed by (fraud) Dr. Bannister's ridiculous story of the 7 foot tall man that he vividly remembered pumping wine out of. Jimi had been drinking alcohol that night at various locations (including white wine at the Samarkand) and that accounts for the alcohol detected in his blood at the autopsy (a relatively small level). The analysis of the fluids in Jimi's stomach and lungs revealed no trace of wine.
Crompton went on to say about about the wine, "In favour of this is the fact that though he smelled of wine and it was on his face and hair, his blood alcohol was low." Dr. Seifert mentioned this in a filmed interview by David Kramer apparently and if Jimi had been drinking wine that night...and he vomited while lying on his back, then it's no surprise if it went all over himself. There is also the possibility that the wine all over him was due to Monika's actions. She confessed to Sharon Lawrence that she poured wine onto Jimi because "it was messy" (if Sharon's story is true of course and not calculated demonising of Monika).
The normal dose for these German pills was a half to 1 tablet. It is of course known that Jimi had a very high tolerance for drugs. Many people have remarked how Jimi was able to take double or triple doses of various drugs and hardly seem to show any difference in his demeanour. So if Jimi popped 3 Vesparax pills, he might have simply gone off to sleep like a baby. That would leave only 7 pills in the 10-pill blister on the fateful morning of the 18th!
So if on the 18th Monika took her 1 pill (as she to the police, at the inquest and to the press on many occasions) and the police found 1 pill near the bed, then that would leave only 5pills for Jimi to take on the morning of the 18th!! Scoop! Tony Brown pointed out in The Final Days (page 128-129) that it seems unlikely that Monika took a tablet, seeing as the recommended dose of half a tablet induces a good night's sleep. However Monika says in his book that she did sleep for three hours but awoke and had tried to fall asleep again but couldn't. She even says that she got up and had breakfast. She has also said that she went out to buy cigarettes.
Also, for all we know, Monika might have been taking 1 of her sleeping pills every night for the past few days! After all, they were prescribed to her! She said that they were to help her sleep because of pains resulting from her ice-skating days.
So this means there could well have been only 3 or 4 tablets in the blister by the 18th! Jimi may have taken only 3 tablets again (as he seems to have taken a couple of days earlier) and got into difficulty because of the added intoxication from the "black bomber" barbiturate taken at Kameron's party, his alcohol and drug intake and perhaps because of his apparent problem his viral infection and perhaps sleep apnea (see paragraph near end of page).So folks, you can forget the whole "9 pills" nonsense.
Did Monika deliberately drug Jimi to keep him at the Samarkand?
On the afternoon of the day Jimi died, Monika told Sharon Lawrence that Jimi had taken her "prescription tablets". Sharon asked if Monika had given the tablets to Jimi and she said "No, he must have found them in the bathroom cupboard". Monika told Sharon that she thought Jimi had taken "about nine" and that the pills were "very weak"! Days later she told Bild magazine that she had given Jimi the pills!
ALSO, in the early 80s, Monika told Kathy Etchingham (when they met at Kathy's house, along with Mitch and Noel) again, that the the pills "were very weak" and again that it is was she who gave Jimi "some" of her Vesparax tablets and when they seemed to have no effect, she gave him "some more"! WTF?
So why had Monika been recounting that Jimi had taken 9 pills without her knowing?! This seems to indicate that she was trying to cover her tracks because of the profound guilt that she had let Jimi take her powerful prescription tablets, which led to his death. An even worse possibility: in his book "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", Eric Burdon suggested that after the evening's arguing, Monika spiked the tuna fish sandwich with Vesparax, not to kill him but in the hope that she could delay his departure from the flat. Kathy Etchingham also supported this theory (as seen in a recent ReelzTV documentary).
Also, Jimi's friend Sharon Lawrence later claimed that she had found out that Monika had poured wine into Jimi's mouth as he lay unconscious! See further down.
So did Monika fear that the "wedding" was off and her violent, erratic behaviour led her to deliberately sedate Jimi? When Jimi died, realising what she had caused, she was thrown into a state of utter panic and nervous collapse - see my interview with Vic Briggs wife Elandra (further down the page) who was a Yoga coach and was called to the Samarkand in a desperate attempt to try and calm the hysterical Monika down, following Jimi's death.
The call for help
According to Monika, she said she took a sleeping pill but woke later and decided to go out and get some cigarettes. She told the Daily Sketch that just before she was about to leave, she noticed that Jimi had traces of vomit on his nose and mouth. In another account she said that she saw the vomit on Jimi's face when she returned from buying cigarettes. Make your mind up Monika! She said that she tried to wake Jimi but he wasn't responsive. In the Guitarist magazine article, she said that in such a case in Germany, one phones the doctor before an ambulance. Now panic-stricken, she tried to phone her friend Alvenia Bridges (who they had met earlier that morning) hoping that she might have the phone number of Jimi's London doctor. A girl named Judy Wong answered the phone (Monika said that she called at about 10:30 but Judy later said "I just assumed it was about 9:30". Alvenia wasn't there but Judy gave Monika the phone number of the Russel Hotel, where she knew Alvenia had spent the night with Eric Burdon. When she finally got through to Alvenia, Monika asked her if she knew the phone number of Jimi's doctor. Alvenia, who answered the phone, recounted that Monika was hysterical, saying that Jimi wouldn't wake up and that he was vomiting. Alvenia urged Monika to turn Jimi over, so that he wouldn't choke. Apparently Monika did nothing except panic.
Eric Burdon's conflicting accounts
In his autobiography, Eric says that the first call came in "at the crack of dawn... the first light of dawn was coming through the window". He had also said that the call came "in the middle of the night". On September 18th, a crying Eric Burdon told Jimi's close friend Sharon Lawrence about Monika's call. Eric had been playing at Ronnie Scott's club until the early hours of the morning and must have got to bed at around 4 or 5 in the morning, so "the middle of the night" would've been anything from 6 to 10 o'clock to him. Burdon told Kathy Etchingham in 1991: "I was out of my brains. I'd just finished a gig at Ronnie Scott's. I was in bed with Alvenia and I got this telephone call from her (Monika) and I hung up. I said he's just stoned, I said just wake him up. And then I went back to bed again". Burdon also recounted to Sharon Lawrence that he told Monika to call an ambulance. Then he said that Monika "rung up again later...she still hadn't done anything for him...she said she'd gone for a packet of cigarettes" - in the 90s, Monika told Kathy Etchingham that she had driven her car down Queensway to find somewhere open (2). This would imply that Monika left Jimi in difficulty while she nipped out for cigarettes?! I doubt that very much.
In a later interview, Burdon said that when Monika first called, he told her that it was probably nothing and that she should just slap Jimi to wake him up, give him some coffee... and he hung up. He said he had second thoughts later and called Monika back, urging her to call an ambulance. So which is it Eric? He said that Monika refused to call an ambulance, saying that Jimi would be furious at all the upset and that the place was littered with drug paraphernalia. In Tony Brown's book "A Visual Documentary", there is a quote from Monika saying: "Eric Burdon came to the phone, telling me not to phone an ambulance and to wait and see. I said that I had to get an ambulance and he agreed, he just said - Well, fucking hell, then just do what you want". In another interview, Monika said that the annoyed Burdon said "Oh call your fucking ambulance then". Burdon also once told Kathy Etchingham "I might have phoned the ambulance". In another interview he said that he called the ambulance from a phone box across the street from the Samarkand Hotel! Hell Eric, come clean and tell us what really happened for once! In an interview in Steve Roby's "Straight Ahead" magazine, Burdon said that it was still dark when Monika phoned, which doesn't tally at all with what Judy Wong and Alvenia have said. In the same interview he said "I told her to get an ambulance... She argued about it, saying that there were incriminating things in the flat, which I guess she took care of". WTF? In previous interviews, Burdon had said "we" got the drugs and guitars out (there was only one guitar Eric). His accounts are consistently all over the place and again, one can't rely on anything that Eric Burdon has ever said about what happened that morning.
Monika later said that she phoned the ambulance at 11:18 (which fits the official hospital records) and that Alvenia had rung her back (from Eric's place) to ask which hospital was Jimi being taken to. Monika replied that she didn't know yet, but promised to call her from the hospital to let her know (which she didn't do).
Alvenia stated (in the recent interview below) that she was speaking to Monika on the phone while she was putting on her coat and shoes as she prepared to dash to the Samarkand to help and that when she arrived the ambulance had gone. This confirms that Monika's calls for help were within the hour preceding the arrival of the ambulance.
Hendrix biographer Jerry Hopkins provided another clue to what actually happened. Hopkins informs us that Alvenia told Eric that she would go and help out Monika alone because Burdon had a photo session organised for that day on the roof of The Russel Hotel with the group War. At that moment, they didn't assume that Jimi would be dead very shortly. This would indicate that Burdon didn't visit the flat that morning but perhaps did for the afternoon clean-up at The Samarkand. Or did he? (see further down).
Terry Slater arrives
It is very possible that because Burdon was too tired and stoned he phoned his roadie/friend Terry Slater and asked him to go over to the flat and check out what was going on. When Kathy Etchingham asked Slater about this, he admitted that did get to the Samarkand before the ambulance arrived and saw Jimi "knackered" (he didn't say "dead") on the bed and proceeded to bury some drugs from the flat in the rear garden.
This quick visit has been confused with the second clean-up of the flat that was in the afternoon, before the police arrived to question Monika (see further down). Slater must have hidden or left before the ambulance arrived. In a statement to the police in the 90s, Slater said that he had arrived at the flat as the ambulance was leaving (obviously he wouldn't admit to them that he had visited the flat and buried drugs prior to the arrival of the ambulance.
In his study, Caesar Glebbeek mentions that a police panda car arrived three minutes after Monika's call and before the ambulance arrived. However, ambulance man Reg Jones said that he called the police from the radio in the ambulance (see quotes below). Hell, it's hard work being an amateur sleuth with all these conflicting accounts going on!
The ambulance crew's (unreliable) accounts
After calling the ambulance Monika recounted: "The ambulance arrived 20 minutes later. He was still breathing. I was checking his pulse all the time."
The ambulance reached the Samarkand Hotel at 11:27 AM. Monika had always claimed that she was there when the ambulance crew arrived but there are conflicting accounts about this.
In the early 90s, the two ambulance attendants Reginal Jones and John Suau were interviewed (by Kathy Etchingham and Dee Mitchell). They said that they had the impression that Jimi was already dead at the hotel appartment. They also said that Dannemann wasn't at the flat when they arrived. For the record, here are the accounts that ended up in all the books (via Michael Fairchild's original Straight Ahead magazine articles), as recounted to Dee and Kathy (and later disowned by Dee Mitchell herself and John Suau! see further down):
Reginald Jones (ambulance driver)
"It was horrific, we arrived at the flat, the door was flung open, nobody about, just the body on the bed. We called out for someone, loads of times, so we walked in. We went into the bedroom, it was dark because the curtains were still pulled, I mean the gas fire was on but you couldn't see anything, your eyes had to adjust. He was covered in vomit, there was tons of it all over the pillow, black and brown it was. His airway was completely blocked all the way down, his tongue had fallen back, he was flat on his back you see. The room was dark, we had to pull the curtains. Well we had to get the police, we only had him and an empty flat, so John ran up and radioed, got the aspirator too. We felt his pulse between his shoulders, pinched his earlobe and nose, showed a light in his eyes, but there was no response at all. I knew he was dead as soon as I walked in the room, you get a feel for it, I can't explain it, but you do and I knew he was dead. Once the police arrived which seemed like no time at all, we got him off to the hospital as quick as we could. See we just have to keep working on him and we did, my shirt was wringing wet. 'Cos the ambulances in them days, weren't equipped like they are now, we had them crazy Wadhams [type of ambulance] in them days, awful they was. We took him to St. Mary Abbots. That don't have a casualty ward now but in them days it did. That was our designated hospital for the day. There was a 'bed state' at St. Charles, you found out at the beginning of your shift what your designated hospital was."
Jones again from Kathy Etchinghams book:
"When we got to the flat, the door was wide open. The body was on the bed, covered in vomit of all colours, black, brown, all over him, all over the pillow. There wasn't another soul in sight. I went back to the ambulance for an aspirator. We tried to revive him but we couldn't. The vomit was all dried. He'd been lying there for a long time. There was no heartbeat. He was blue, not breathing and not responding to light or pain. We called the police from the radio in the ambulance. thinking he was dead and that the circumstances were strange. A couple of young policemen turned up and they told us to take him to the hospital.
Reg Jones told Kathy and Dee that the police officers at the Samarkand didn't call the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) in order to declare the appartment a crime scene, because they couldn't be bothered with all the paper work! To them, the body was, to quote Kathy: "...just another dead junkie in Notting Hill".
So from this account, it appeared to Jones that Jimi had already passed away. Despite this, he attempted to use a respirator on Jimi, thus proving that he wasn't long-dead, in which case rigor mortis to have set in (the body stiffens solid after 30 to 60 minutes and gets progressively stronger over the following hours).
HOWEVER, Jones is also quoted as saying "If there had been no pulse, then I would have attempted resuscitation... I didn't on this patient, so there was obviously no need to do so" (1). This would mean that Jimi did have a pulse and was still alive!! Which is it Reg?
Also, Jones also told Kathy and Dee that they drove to the hospital with "full lights and sirens" which obviously means that they were transporting someone in urgent need of medical attention - not a long-dead body! Boom goes the murder theory once again. P.C. Ian Smith said he had no memory of the siren being on as it left the hotel (it could have been put on afterwards of course to clear traffic ahead).
John Suau (ambulance attendant)
The other ambulance attendant, John Suau, initially gave an account similar to Jones's. Suau had filled in because Jones's regular partner was off that week. Afterwards, the two men apparently never saw each other again. The following is Suau's version of events, as told the renowned Hendrix researcher Tony Brown (from previous research by Etchingham/Mitchell):
"Well I remember we had a hell of a time trying to suck him out (with an aspirator). I mean the vomit was dry, and there was a hell of a lot of it. The aspirators in those days were all right but not like you have today, they couldn't shift that lot. I mean we knew it was hopeless, nothing would have worked. To tell the truth, I thought it was an overdose. It wasn't really my business to diagnose, I just had to keep working. There were no bed clothes on top of him. An ambulance crew by law just has to keep on working on him until we get him to the hospital. There was no pulse, no respiration. We got down to the flat, and there was nobody but the body on the bed. So we had to radio for the police from the ambulance. We couldn't touch anything in the flat. As I say, we knew he was gone, he was on top of the bed dressed, but I didn't recognize him, don't know anybody would have recognized him, his mother wouldn't have recognized him. He was in a pool of vomit, it was everywhere, but we are not doctors, it's our job to keep trying till we get him to the hospital, we can't proclaim him dead…I vaguely remember taking a sample of the vomit in a container, because we didn't know what he had taken. So as soon as the police arrived, we were off. I was in the back with Jimi, Reg drove. When we moved him, the gases were gurgling, you get when someone has died, it wasn't too pleasant. The vomit was all the way down, we couldn't have got an airway down. He was flat on his back, it's a shame he wasn't on his side because he probably would have pulled through."
HOWEVER: Suau would later refute these statements! WTF? He said "This patient was still alive...but he was pretty far gone" (from 1993 research by ex. police superintendent Dennis Care from his 1993 investigation that he submitted to Al Hendrix - this is mentioned in Caesar Glebbeek's Univibes special "Until We Meet Again"). Dennis Care showed John Suau what had been published about his presense on the scene at The Samarkand. Here is what Suau had to say about what has been printed and reprinted in the various books:
“I was... shown [on 7 July 1993 by Dennis Care] a copy of what I was alleged to have said when I was interviewed about this matter by two women*... The vast majority of that document [published in Straight Ahead #43, October 1992; Voodoo Child #27, Summer 1992; Jimi Hendrix: A Visual Documentary by Tony Brown, p. 125; and Hendrix: The Final Days by Tony Brown, p. 137] is untrue and does not reflect what I said at that [telephone] interview.”
* Kathy and Dee.
In 1995, Suau was interviewed for the BBC Radio One's "Wink Of An Eye" broadcast and he said: "There's a standard procedure especially for someone who's unconscious. They travel on their side. All the equipment is there at his head if you need to do resuscitation, anything like that, it's all there ready to use." This proves that Jimi was still being considered as someone in distress at that point and was certainly not a long-dead corpse (with all the signs of rigor mortis and lividity).
He also said that Monika did not travel with them to the hospital. "There was just me and the casualty and Reg the driver. Nobody else." The casualty! Again, proof that Jimi wasn't long-dead.Note that Suau's and Jones's accounts make no mention of wine at all. They spoke only of dry vomit which had blocked up Jimi's airways. If he had been water-boarded with great quantities wine filling his stomach and lungs then any food/vomit would simply have been flushed/regurgitated out and not left his throat clogged with dry vomit. Again, this shows clearly that murder theory is well and truly ruled out.
Suau also states that in order to get Jimi up the steps to the street, they used a "Rumbold stretcher" (meaning a type of wheelchair that permets handlers to carry people where a normal stretcher won't monoeuver). Again, if Jimi had been long-dead, rigor mortis would have made it impossible to seat him into the chair! So Jimi was oblviously still supple - so either not yet dead or just passed away).
Note that Monika said that the ambulance men told her that Jimi would be walking out of the hospital that afternoon (but then Monika said a lot of things).
Hendrix researcher/writer Michael Fairchild worked extensively with Kathy Etchingham, for the publishing of the ambulance men's accounts. On his website (Rock Prophecy) he details a conversation he had with Hendrix biographer David Henderson. Talking about the delay in calling the ambulance, Fairchild says "For some reason there was a delay [in calling the ambulance for Jimi]. Monika has changed the time when she says she woke up and left the flat. She's changed that over the years in different interviews . . . The ambulance drivers now waver on the point [of Jimi being dead when they arrived], saying that he was not dead at the scene, that he died en route to the hospital,..."
So, how to make sense of the varying accounts from the ambulance men? The initial Dee Mitchell/Kathy Etchingham accounts published in various magazines and books have been taken as gospel we have seen the contradictions in them and the refutal of those accounts by John Suau himself! Remembering a day's work 20 years ago isn't an exact science of course but was there another reason for the discrepancies in their accounts:
Dee Mitchell - the star researcher, the woman of mystery
In her fascinating book "Through Gypsy Eyes" (1998), Kathy Etchingham recounts in detail how she her research into Jimi's death came about. In 80s, Noel Redding had been served a writ by Monika because in his book, he had accused Monika of negligence on the morning of Jimi's death. In desperation, Noel asked Kathy if she could help defend him from Monika's attack. Kathy had met Mitch's wife Dee at the drummer's book launch party and remembered that she said that she had worked as a researcher for the BBC. So Kathy asked Dee if she could help out with the research into the events of September 18th 1970.
The resourceful Dee she managed to track down Reginald Jones and fixed up a meeting with Kathy and herself. We must remember that Dee had been aware that Kathy's intention was to disprove Monika's accounts about what had happened at the Samarkand, in order to help Noel.
When their research was over, the two women had little contact between each other and Dee strangely became more and more aggressive towards Kathy who decided to keep her distance. Then she discovered that Dee had turned nasty and started spreading rumours that Kathy and her doctor husband were dealing drugs and abusing children! Dee even claimed that Hendrix researcher Tony Brown could confirm this! The couple alerted the police, who promptly went and told Dee that if she didn't stop this stalking and harassment, she would face arrest. The police discovered that Dee was hiding her real identity. Mitch and Dee then moved to France.
Then, incredibly, Dee began to groom Monika Dannemann into her confidence and began feeding her with false information about Kathy! Monika put some of this in her book and was later taken to court by Kathy (who won). Then Dee moved over to Ireland to stalk Noel Redding and even attacked him in the street! She even tried to frame Noel's girlfriend with some invented story, about her saying that Mitch was a drunk and a drug addict. The more Kathy investigated, the more horror stories she found about Dee Mitchell.
Dee had told Kathy that her maiden name was Diana Bonham-Carter (the famous family of aristocrats) but Kathy discovered that her real name was in fact Dolores Cullen, and she had used many names in a long history of stalking and blackmailing people associated with the 60s music scene! Full details of this incredible story in Kathy's book.
So obviously Kathy's research partner was anything but trustworthy. In order win Kathy's confidence, one might suspect that Dee pre-briefed ambulance man Jones prior to the meeting with Kathy in order to fulfil the mission - to discredit Monika's version of events. Also, if Dee had made Reginald Jones aware of the fact that the ambulance crew were being blamed for Hendrix's death for having sat Jimi up in the ambulance, he might have been very enthusiastic about telling the story another way, in order to clear himself.
When the girls traced John Suau, his account seemed to correspond with what Jones had said. Or did it? We now know that when Suau discovered what was printed in the book(s) he said that it didn't represent what he had said to Dee and Kathy!
So unfortunately for the murder theorists, even the ambulance men's accounts are highly unreliable. If anything, they reveal that Jimi wasn't dead when they found him at the Samarkand - which makes sense in relation to the urgent procedures that were carried out at the hospital.
P.C. Ian Smith
On the morning of the 18th, P.C. Ian Smith had arrived on the scene just as Jimi was being carried out. According to Smith: "The ambulance men were there, but Jimi was dead ... There was really nothing they could do for him." Smith also disputes Dannemann's claim that she was there with Hendrix at the flat and in the ambulance: "No, I remember quite clearly the doors shutting on the crew and Jimi ... there was no one about. If she had been in the flat, they would never have called us to come ... But because no one was there, he was dead, and circumstances were a little odd, suspicious, they radioed ... us in. It wasn't until later in the day that I found out that it was Jimi Hendrix."
In "The Final Days", Tony Brown shows that P.C. Ian Smith gave two differing accounts. In one he implies that he went into the flat and saw Jimi on the bed but in a later statement he said "I didn't see him. I was there as they were carrying him out" ! Hell, if you can't rely on police officer to give a clear account, who can you believe?
In 1993, Dennis Care showed Ian Smith the text of a “statement” (published in Straight Ahead #43, October 1992; Jimi Hendrix: A Visual Documentary by Tony Brown, p. 125; Hendrix: The Final Days by Tony Brown, p. 139) purported to have been made by him. When shown the statement, Ian Smith immediately disowned it!
What a ridiculous labyrinth of conflicting accounts this thing case is.
Monika and the ambulance
When interviewed by Kathy Etchingham and Dee Mitchell in the early 90s, it seemed that the ambulance men had no recollection that Monika was at The Samarkand when they arrived, or that she had traveled with them to the hospital. So it has been assumed that Monika was lying. However, on September 19th 1970, the day after Jimi's death, David Tune of The Daily Mirror reported "Twenty-three-year-old Monica Danneman called an ambulance and sat weeping beside him as he was driven to hospital.". So it's not as if Monika invented this after the tragedy. Over the years, she has been quoted saying that she was in the ambulance or that she "drove with them" (implying in her car).
A further clue comes from Dr. Robert Brown who was the first doctor to attend to Jimi on arrival (Brown later became was national leader of the Australian Greens from 1996 – 2012). In his autobiography "Optimism", Brown stated that he remembered seeing a "tall blond girl" following the trolley carrying Jimi as it was wheeled in from the ambulance.Was this Monika? She wasn't tall but perhaps he long blond hair gave her a sleek look? So obviously Monika either traveled in the ambulance or followed in her car.
Interestingly in 1993, Dee wrote a letter to Monika telling her that John Suau had initially admitted to her that Monika was at the Samarkand when the ambulance arrived and that she was in the ambulance with him and Jimi! Incredibly, in a later later to Monika (March 1994 on that same letter page) saying about the ambulance men's accounts "...an article...in 'Staight Ahead' magazine, made it sound as if I had spoken to them - which I had not..."! So Dee Mitchell's research is to be taken with a pinch of salt.This was after the ambulance men's accounts had appeared in Tony Brown's book "A Visual Documentary" (1992) and before Kathy's book appeared (1998).
Was Jimi sat up in the ambulance?
Ambulance man Reg Jones said that to get Jimi up the tight exterior stairway from the basement flat, "...we put him in a 'Rumbold' stretcher - that's a fold-up chair-like thing with wheels and legs... then we carried him up the steps, into the ambulance and onto the stretcher bed". So Monika must have seen Jimi sat in that wheelchair as he entered the ambulance and assumed that that was how he was transported to the hospital.
Monika would later say that the ambulance men had sat Jimi up in the ambulance and that is why he choked to death (he should have been laid down with his head to one side).
When top Hendrix researcher Tony Brown quizzed ambulanceman John Suau about this he replied: "Sit him up? No, you don’t sit people up when they’ve choked. The steps up from the flat were steep, and you had a natural incline on the way up, but no, he wasn’t sat up." Also, in a BBC Radio One interview (aired September 10, 1995), Suau explained how a person is normally transported in an ambulance:"There’s a standard procedure especially for someone who’s unconscious. They travel on their side. All the equipment is there at his head if you need to do resuscitation, anything like that, it’s all there ready for use."
Interesting to note here that Suau makes no mention of Jimi being already dead (as he had said previously) but simply someone who had "choked" and was "unconscious". Suau was evidently in life-saving mode and the ambulance obviously wasn't transporting a 5-6 hour long-dead body as the conspiracy theorist would like to imagine. Ambulance protocol forbids them to transport dead bodies anyway. Dead bodies are to be left in place for the police to investigate before the body can be removed. Even then, the transportation of the body to the morgue is never done by ambulances (which are only used for people in need of medical attention - which was the case with Jimi obviously).
So the suggestion that Jimi was at up in the ambulance has been judged as a fantasy by Monika in an attempt to shift the blame from herself to the ambulance officer, BUT it was confirmed by an X-Ray engineer (Mr. Waspe) who was on duty at St. Mary Abbot's that morning! He told his son David Waspe that at the time, there in fact was a rumour going around the hospital that the ambulance men had indeed made this fatal error! So this evidently wasn't an invention by Monika.
Another rumour (1):
This is only hearsay but drummer Winston Wedderburn recounted to musician Keith Bailey (Graham Bond Organisation, Ginger Baker's Airforce,...) that when he worked as an ambulance man in the 90s, his female driving partner had worked with Reginald Jones and John Suau in the past. She recounted that to Jones and Suau, Jimi was "just another black drunk" (or words to that effect) who they left on his back in the back of the ambulance.
Ambulance crew covering their error?
So one could suggest that the ambulance men were trying to cover themselves by recounting their stories about Jimi being already dead when they arrived at the Samarkand. These fake stories might have been concocted even back in 1970 when damaging rumours of their unprofessional conduct which led to the death of an internationally famous pop star. The two men perhaps kept their stories in mind, right up to their interviews with Mitchell/Etchingham.
However, a 1992 investigation by the London Ambulance Service found no evidence of poor treatment by the ambulance staff. The investigator also confirmed that Dannemann wasn't in the ambulance as it sped to the hospital. Australian Senator Robert Brown (who was a young doctor on duty on the 18th) stated that he saw Monika accompanying the ambulance trolley on its way to the Emergencies Room (obviously not a 6-hour dead body on there). So if Monika was there when the ambulance arrived, this proves that she either traveled in the ambulance or more likely followed it in her car. From her car, it's possible that she could see that Jimi was sitting up in the ambulance (hence her account).
As I mentioned above, in 1993 a former Sussex police superintendent named Dennis Care (who was also a Hendrix fan!) did a special private investigation into the circumstances surrounding Jimi's death. He established contact with the staff from St. Mary Abbot's and obtained the statement from ambulance man John Suau saying that Jimi was still alive at the Samarkand but gave his last breath on arrival at the hospital (which is obviously why Jimi's condition was considered to be critical, hence his admission to the Emergency Room). Suau also confirmed that Monika was either in the ambulance or followed by car!
The actual diagnosis of Jimi's condition would come once he reached hospital. In the meantime...
Alvenia Bridges arrives at the Samarkand
It has been said that Alvenia took off ahead of Eric Burdon in order to assist Monika. In his autobiography and on film, Burdon says that Alvenia quickly went to the Samarkand to help Monika. In David Henderson's book, it says that Alvenia borrowed a car off Steve Gold. However, in a hazy 2013 interview ( link below) Alvenia says that she took a taxi. There is quote in Jerry Hopkin's book where Alvenai says that she arrived at the Samarkand just as the ambulance arrived but in that 2013 interview, she didn't mention the ambulance and says that she found the door of the basement flat open and nobody inside. So this was without a doubt 11:30 - 11:40 a.m. (the hospital records confirm the ambulance departure time). Alvenia had asked the taxi driver to wait, so she asked him where the nearest hospital was. He told her that it was St. Mary Abbotts, so off they sped the hospital, where she found a distraught Monika sitting there in the casualty ward, waiting for news of Jimi. Monika told her that she had chacked Jimi in with a false name because she was afraid that Jimi would be mad at her (which she wouldn't have said if Jimi had been dead for hours at the Samarkand).
> Interview with Alvenia Bridges
The 2013 Alvenia interview carries weight because this is no longer a "rock chick" with a hip agenda and she comes across as simply an old lady looking back honestly on what actually happened. Her account rules out Burdon's story of him arriving at the Samarkand very early and seeing "Love" in Jimi's handwriting in the condensation on Monika's car window.
Gerry Stickells alerted
When Gerry Stickells first got the alert (from Terry Slater, one of Eric Burdon's roadie or from Alvenia - both versions are documented) that something was wrong with Jimi, he dashed directly to The Cumberland Hotel because that was where Jimi was booked-in that week. He had no idea that Jimi was staying at Monika's suite. Stickells: "So I rushed straight over to the hospital. That's where I found out.". Conspiracy theorists will of course tell you that he made that up because he was part of the cover-up.
The clean-up at The Samarkand - when?
Eric Burdon Eric Barrett Gerry Stickells Terry SlaterMonika had recounted to Alvenia that before the ambulance arrived, she had hidden the guitar that was there (Jimi's "Black Beauty" Stratocaster) and that she had Jimi's passport and other identification. She was afraid of all the fuss that would be created if the ambulance crew and police knew that the person needing assistance was a world-famous rock star.
So this leaves the question of the cleaning up of the Samarkand suite. The visitors to the Samarkand basement apartment suite on the 18th were members of Jimi's crew: Gerry Stickells, Eric Barret, Terry Slater (Terry The Pill - a former Animals crew member and then War's road manager) and perhaps Eric Burdon.
Earlier in the day of course, Alvenia had been on the phone to Monika and had jumped in a taxi to get to the Samarkand quickly. She was the first to know about Jimi's predicament (well, the second after Judy Wong) and first on the scene. She arrived at the flat (with the front door open), finding that the ambulance and Monika had already departed - so after about 11:40.
Scenario 1 - Clean-up before the ambulance came?
In the 90s, Terry Slater told Kathy Etchingham that when he had arrived at the flat, Jimi was lying on the bed "knackered" (which doesn't necessarily mean dead). Slater said that he buried some drugs in the garden. The story goes that the "clean-up crew" got to the flat to clear away any incriminating drugs and grab anything essential of Jimi's, before the police came and locked the place down. It is hard to grasp why they would give a clean-up priority over trying to help poor Jimi. If that was the case, Jimi would have to have been so obviously stone-dead (from what they could tell) when they got there. Ambulance man John Suau said something which might confirm this: " I didn't recognize him, don't know anybody would have recognized him, his mother wouldn't have recognized him.". However, Suau later told ex-Police Super-Intendant Dennis Care that Jimi was still alive when he arrived at the flat and that what was in Kathy's and Tony Brown's books was false!
Eric Burdon (from a conversation with Kathy Etchingham in 1991) : "When I arrived there (at the Samarkand), I remember quite clearly the door being open...I think I saw Jimi on the bed...I didn't want to, you know, look at it, you know, I didn't want to look at the mess. We had to be there before. We got the guitars out, we got the drugs out of the place...she [Dannemann] didn't leave in the ambulance, she was with me." What? Eric "thinks" he saw Jimi on the bed? He didn't want to look at "the mess" (note that he didn't say "the body").
In another quote, Burdon also said that after having cleaned the flat, they called the ambulance from a nearby phone booth!
Scenario 2 - Clean-up after the ambulance had left?
Eric Burdon initially said in his autobiography that when he arrived "in time to see the flashing blue lights of the ambulance turning the corner" - with Monika and Alvenia left behind, crying in the street (not possible according to Alvenia's 2013 account)! So which is it Eric? He said that he then entered the flat,"on the bed I could see the impression of where Jimi had lain". He later said to Kathy "I think I saw Jimi on the bed"! In a 2014, during an interview won TV with CNN, Burdon said "...walking into a room where my friend had been lying in this bed so long that I could see the indentation in the mattress...". Hell, it's one or the other Eric!
When Terry Slater made an official statement (after Michael Fairchild and Kathy Etchingham triggered a new investigation), he also said that he got there as the ambulance was leaving and that Monika was standing there watching it leave! This contradicted what he had previously said to Kathy (see Scenario 1). It is possible that he then quickly went into the flat to grab any drugs and bury them in the garden before any police returned to the flat (which they did in the afternoon).
However, Police Constable Ian Smith stated that he was also at the scene just in time to see the ambulance pull away and that he didn't see Jimi. He made no reference to seeing Monika and Alvenia standing there, watching it leave. John Suau told Dennis Care that Moinika was in fact present! Contradicting his previous statements (which he disowned). Aaargh!
< Monika is escorted from the flat in the afternoon of the 18th of September
Scenario 3 - Two clean-ups - the real deal
I could never accept that the "clean-up crew" would've executed their task while leaving Jimi dead or dying on the bed at 6 a.m. It just doesn't fit any logic whatsoever. Can anyone in their right mind think that they would disregard the safety of the whole focus of their existence, their friend Jimi Hendrix, over some worry about there being some drug paraphernalia around one of his girlfriend's flat? No way. We also know for certain that Jimi was assessed by doctors on arrival in the ambulance as being in need of immediate admission to Casualty - which disproves any notion of him having been dead for 5 to 6 hours.
So it really does look like this is what really happened:
Terry Slater (sent by "out of my brains" Eric Burdon) entered the Samarkand just either just before the ambulance arrived or just after it had left to assist Monika and he buried some drugs in the garden.
Gerry Stickells had said that he got the alert about Jimi between 8 and 9 p.m. However, there is a quote in Caesar Glebbeek's Univibes special edition from Gerry Stickells who says as soon as he got the alert that something was wrong with Jimi, he rushed to The Cumberland Hotel (he had no idea that Jimi was at the Samarkand) and found Jimi absent. He phoned around and discovered that Jimi was at St. May Abbot's, so he went directly to the hospital (arriving there at around 1 p.m.) only to discover that Jimi was already dead.
John McDermott (in his book "Setting The Record Straight"): "As Hendrix lay dead in St. Mary Abbot's Hospital, Gerry Stickells was roused by a frantic phone call".
Caesar Glebbeek informs us that the apartment "clean-up" in fact took place with Monika between 3 and 4 p.m. (which makes more sense) and that Eric Burdon wasn't present at all! The police inspectors were due to visit the Samarkand flat on the afternoon of the 18th to carry out their investigation and interview Monika. So, to get ahead of that, once all matters were cleared up at the hospital, the Hendrix road crew then sped round to the flat before the police arrived, to clear away any remaining drug paraphenalia, Jimi's possessions, documents,...
This entering of the apartment to interfere with the scene was of course illegal, which must explain why all concerned covered their tracks afterwards and mixed up their stories. Shortly after the tidy up, three police officers arrived to interview Dannemann. They also took away bed linen for analysis. News of Jimi's death had spread and press photographers arrived outside the hotel. Monika and the crew were photographed as they left the flat but no photos showed Eric Burdon (the photographers wouldn't have missed such a big star leaving the flat). It is of course possible that Burdon was there and remained in the flat until the press photographers had left. The distraught Dannemann was then taken to the Russel Hotel where Burdon was staying (and where he probably greeted her).
The following day, Monika returned to the flat to get some note paper, on which Jimi had written the infamous "Story Of Life" poem and if true, this would be important because in Brown's "The Final Days", Eric Burdon that it was during his visit that they recuperated the poem. This proves that the "clean-up" that Burdon had always referred to was simply his own visit to The Samarkand with Monika on September 19th! Perhaps his only visit there and nothing to do with the prior drug "clean-up" on the afternoon of the 18th, just before the police arrived.
Nothing suspicious at The Samarkand
"Police took some blankets from Miss Danneman's 5gn.-a-week basement flat at the Samarkand Hotel in Bayswater for forensic tests." - Daily Mail September 19; 1970.
So the police evidently found no abundance of wine all over the bed (which there would've been if Jimi had been waterboarded as the conspiracy theorist think.
Terry Slater photographed burying the drugs?
This bizarre anecdote found its way into an edition of Philip Norman's book "Wild Thing: The short, spellbinding life of Jimi Hendrix". The author first points out that Slater lied about his visit to the Samarkand (see above). Then he says that when Slater was questioned by the police (date unknown), he admitted to clearing the flat of drugs and burying them in the Samarkand rear gardens (where Monika had taken the very last photos of Jimi a few days earlier). The book says that to Slater's amazement, the police produced a photo of him burying the drugs in the Samarkand gardens! - or so the proven liar Slater said. His story goes that other police officers (or one?) were watching the hotel in view of a potential headline-grabbing Hendrix drug bust. Even Jimi's road crew didn't know that Jimi was staying at Monika's so this would have to mean that the narcs had been following Jimi during his various escapades around London that week - during which, there had been plenty of opportunities to bust him! If they had let him flit around, one could speculate that they were hoping to catch any dealers that might have approached him at The Samarkand, hence the stakeout.
Without any evidence, this mention in Norman's book is simply unverifiable hearsay from a proven liar - but if it is true, two scenarios present themselves:
1. The police saw and photographed Slater before the ambulance arrived. This would mean that Slater didn't help Jimi at all (who certainly wasn't yet dead as we know - "knackered" as Slater told Kathy Etchingham). Did Slater accompany Monika to the hospital? Did Slater go back to the flat with Stickells and Barrett later in the afternoon for a further clean-up before the police arrived to do their questioning of Monika, inspect the flat, etc.
2. The spying police weren't in place on the morning of the 18th (so they didn't see the ambulance etc.). They set up surveillance after midday and saw/photographed Slater in the garden during the afternoon flat clean-up. At that point, they were unaware that Jimi had been taken to hospital just before midday as the news of his death hadn't yet circulated or been published in any way. They then saw the other police officers arriving to question Monika and either went down to see what was going on or phoned HQ to find out. This scenario seems the most probable under the circumstances.
> CNN interview with Eric Burdon (go to 4:30):
Mitch Mitchell's confused account
In a September 1985 Guitar World interview, Mitch said he got the call about Jimi's death at "around 10 in the morning." In the Shapiro/Glebbeek book Electric Gypsy (published in 1990), Mitch says that he got the call about Jimi being dead no later than 9:30! However, in his own book (1990), Mitch recounts how he had told Jimi that a Jam was planned with Sly Stone at the Speakeasy on the night of September 17th. Jimi was enthusiastic about it but of course never turned up. Mitch says that he hung around at The Speakeasy until "about four" (a.m.) of the 18th and then drove home which took "about an hour and a half".. Then he says: "I didn't go to bed and sat up for what seemed like a few hours, but may well have been longer. I'm not sure of the time, but I got a call from Eric Barrett, telling me that Jimi had died." So, if Mitch stayed up for "a few hours" (4 or 5?) but that "...may well have been longer", so 6 or 7 hours, that would take us to around midday, corresponding with Gerry Stickells account that he arrived at the hospital to discover that Jimi was dead, after having previously dashed round to the Cumberland Hotel (where he thought Jimi had spent the night).
So like with everyone else involved in this story, we have varying versions of what happened and when. The ambulance men, the doctors, Dannemann, Burdon, the road crew,... all giving varying accounts of their own experiences that day. This is why the only concrete proof we have that Jimi wasn't long dead on arrival at the hospital is the fact that resuscitation was attempted - a medical procedure that is never performed on 6-hours old bodies, which are stone-cold with rigor mortis and lividity (which obviously would have been evident if Jimi had past away at least an hour earlier). This simple fact eliminates the fabricated stories/memory problems of Mitch, Dr. Bannister and of course all the murder theory nonsense.
What a mess this whole thing is. Time to look at what happened at the hospital to determine exactly in what condition Jimi was when he arrived there.
Jimi is admitted to the Casualty and the Emergency Room
Jimi was brought to St. May Abbott's Hospital at 11.45 a.m. on September 18 1970.
> Walter Pryce (a hospital porter that morning) stated that when the ambulance arrived, the ambulance men dashed into Casualty. This proves that Jimi was not long dead. If they were rushing, it means that there was a sense of urgency - so Jimi had either passed away a short time earlier or was on the verge of death.
Then, according to Pryce, two doctors went to the ambulance and tried to revive Jimi but couldn't."I heard them say later that he had died in the ambulance. They took him straight down to the mortuary. He never left the ambulance. That's definite.". A bizarre account which doesn't correspond at all with what the rest of the medical staff recounted. In actual fact, an admissions card wasn't filled for admission to the hospital but Jimi was rushed into the Casualty ward (so again, he obviously wasn't cold and stiff like a 5 hour old dead body would be).> Dr. Robert Brown (who saw Jimi being rushed in) interviewed by journalist/filmaker Aidan Prewitt:
"I just saw him, checked him – there was nothing to be done. But they kept going; they were moving. I just came along with the trolley, walked with it for a few steps and on it went. But saw that there was nothing to be done. They were going the right way to the emergency department but there was nothing to be done there either. "He was then taken from – instead of into the casualty department, into the emergency section".
Brown says that Jimi appeared to be dead and had been dead for "some time" or "quite a while" - which is rather vague.
AP: May I ask what – I mean, he was unresponsive, obviously, on the bier. Was there an immediate giveaway that it had been some kind of overdose?
BB: No. All that was apparent was that he was dead and beyond recovery.
AP: How do you tell someone is beyond recovery – there’s obviously no pulse, no breathing…
BB: Yeah, well people – after they’ve been dead for a while, it’s classical medical knowledge; when there’s not life. When somebody’s not got life in them anymore.
AP: But evident that he had been dead for some hours.
BB: For quite a while, yes.
AP: What are the signs that someone’s been dead for a bit?
BB: Well these don’t apply to him, because he was effectively my patient at the time. But – the classic symptoms that a person has died. The body is no longer warm, and so on. And the person’s not breathing. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t resuscitate them. But you look at their vital signs; you look for their pulse, you look at a person’s eyes and so on.
So the young and inexperienced Brown only walked alongside the trolley for about 5 to 10 seconds and had the impression that Jimi had been dead "for a while". When asked whatthe signs of somebbody who has been dead for many hours are he says that those signs "...didn't apply to him". So this proves that Jimi hadn't been dead for 4, 6 or 8 hours at all. Brown goes on to say "...becasue he was my patient at the time". Whaaat? A young doctor, fresh out of medical school, walks alongside a hospital trolley for 5 to 10 seconds and claims that Jimi was "his patient at the time"? What utter nonsense. It certainly seems that Mr. Politician was greatly exaggerating things in order to add juice to his autobiography.
In a 2011 interview with Benjamin Law, Brown said "...Jimi Hendrix was brought in dead. Straight away, I knew who he was, but there was nothing I could do for him."
So Brown was touting "...there was nothing I could do for him." - falsely portraying himself as the doctor that treated Jimi on arrival. At least his statement that Jimi was rushed to the resuscitation room fits the facts.
Monika recounted (again in that Guitarist article) that she felt that she wasn't being treated seriously at the hospital, so she phoned Alvenia again, asking her to get in touch with Gerry Stickells for assistance. This doesn't fit Alvenia's later account where she said that she had headed for the Samarkand by taxi just after Monika's second call from that location.
Alvenia Bridges arrived soon after to find Monika in a state of panic. Alvenia said that the ambulance attendants assured her that Jimi "...was going to be alright" (from Jerry Hopkins' book). In Johnny Black's book "The Ultimate Experience", there is a quote from Alvenia where she says that Monika had checked Jimi into the hospital under a false name and that "She was afraid he would get mad at her". However, in Tony Brown says (in his book "The Final Days") that the admissions book states Jimi's name, age and time of admittance. Why would Alvenia invent a story about the false name? Perhaps that false information was corrected (by Monika or Gerry Stickells who arrived shortly afterwards) once it was confirmed that Jimi couldn't be saved.
PROOF THAT JIMI WAS NOT "LONG-DEAD"
In the afternoon of September 18th, the news spread that Jimi had passed away and rapidly, numerous journalists arrived at the hospital.
Here is the varying information that the journalists obtained from hospital staff within hours of Jimi's passing.
Henry Maule of The Daily Sketch said that Jimi "was found deeply unconscious at the home of a blonde girlfriend..."
Walter Price (St. Mary Abbotts admissions officer) - "I heard them [the two doctors] say later that he had died in the ambulance."
A BBC TV news reporter standing outside The Samarkand on the 28th of September after the inquest: "The inquest in Hendrix's death was told that he died on the way to hospital, after being picked up by an ambulance at this building." (you can see this news report in the documentary "The Uncut Story")
David Tune - The Daily Mirror, 19th September 1970: "Pop star Jimi Hendrix died in an ambulance yesterday on the way to the hospital"
The Daily Telegraph (24th September 1970): Herbert Dannemann states that his sister Monika told him over the phone on the 19th "She said he died in the ambulance"Peter Goddard (journalist): "A spokesman for the hospital said the 27 year old guitarist was alive when admitted but died shortly [after] noon".
Evening News (18th September 1970): "Pop star Jimi Hendrix died in London today after being taken to hospital suffering from an overdose of drugs" - "He was certified dead by a doctor who examined him in the back of the ambulance"
Evening Standard (18th September 1970): "Doctors...fought to save his life but all attempts to resuscitate him failed"
Noel Redding (in his book "Are You Experienced): "Contrary to some reports, Jimi was still alive when he reached the hospital."
A sense of URGENCY!
Even with their slight differences, these statements prove without a doubt that Jimi certainly wasn't long-dead when he arrived at the hospital and this is obviously why the medical staff tried to save him in the resuscitation room.
Doctors, nurses and the Casualty Officer are highly trained members of hospital staff (unlike ambulance crew and police constables), they are experts in the triage of arrivals and they can easily see signs of rigor mortis or livor mortis (dependant lividity) which reveal that a person has been dead for longer than 30 minutes. The development of rigor mortis is also accelerated by barbiturate in the blood system and we know that Jimi had taken a huge dose (the sleeping pills and the "brown bomber"). So if Jimi had been dead for an hour or so, the signs would have been clearly detectable.They doctors obviously saw no signs of these, which is why Jimi was immediately rushed into Casualty for a resuscitation attempt and not taken directly to the morgue.
In 1993, ambulance man John Suau told investigator Dennis Care that Jimi sighed and stopped breathing as they arrived at the hospital (from Caesar's book). Ambulance crew were not doctors and thus not qualified to determine if someone is completely, brain dead. Jimi must have been on the verge of death or had just passed away. He might have stopped breathing at that point but there was obviously an urgent need for a resuscitation attempt, which is exactly what happened.
Notes: When reuscitation is performed
The resuscitation attempt in the Emergency Room
> Dr. Seifert, the Medical Registrar, also said that Jimi wasn't admitted to hospital but that he was taken into Emergencies.
In a Biography TV documentary, Dr. Seifert says "I immediately tried to help with the resuscitation. There was a monitor on, which was dead".
In another interwiew: "Jimi was rushed into the resus room*. He was put on a monitor, but it was flat. I pounded his heart a couple of times, but there was no point in doing anything else as he was dead.... I never spoke to or saw anyone about Jimi — no woman in admissions.... No one would have been allowed to look at him or stand over him. That would never have been done. I would have done anything to save him, but it was too late, he was dead.... No nurse went out to say we'd revived him, because we didn't — that just never happened. We didn't work on him anything like an hour, just a few minutes — he was dead."
"I did not know who he was when he was first brought in and initially, I am certain that none of the attendant medical officers or nurses knew who he was. I did not personally see the ambulance when Jimi arrived. It is difficult to know exactly how soon after Jimi arrived that I attended the Casualty Department, as Dr. Bannister and myself were called to the Department as soon as he arrived." - " My duty as a Medical Registrar was to try and resuscitate any patients coming in who were unconscious. We would have been giving him cardiac massage. I have no idea what Dr. Bannister did at Casualty at that stage." - We worked on him for a very short time, probably five to ten minutes. I do not consider that he had much chance of survival. I have never discussed the details concerning 18 September 1970 with Dr. Bannister.Note that while the medical team were working on Jimi in the resuscitation room, with him hooked up to a cardiac monitor, an oxygen mask, repeated chest pounding, he wasn't yet certified as dead. It was only when Dr.Seifert took the decision to stop these procedures that Jimi's death was certified. That certification wasn't made at the moment Jimi arrived at the hospital.
In 1995 Seifert was interviewed for a BBC documentary titled "Wink Of An Eye" where he said "We must have thought that at the time, there was a possibility that we could try and resuscitate him" (proving that Jimi hadn't been dead for hours) but "Unfortunately because the monitor remained so inactive, it was obvious that we weren't able to resuscitate him, and I have always assumed that Jimi Hendrix was brought in dead.
Then in 2010, Dr. Seifert implied that Jimi was still alive when he arrived at the hospital - which is why they tried to save him!
So I contacted Caesar Glebbeek to get some clarity about this. In 2010, Caesar Glebbeek demanded an explanation from Dr. Seifert. For the first time ever, anywhere (many thanks to Caesar), here is their exchange:
Caesar Glebbeek to Dr. Seifert
CG: "In reference to question #28: I am rather puzzled about two completely different statements you have given in the past. I now repeat these two versions by you:
"Unfortunately because the monitor remained so inactive, it was obvious that we weren't able to resuscitate him, and I have always assumed that Jimi Hendrix was brought in dead.
Source: Radio interview with you for the BBC program The Wink of Any Eye: The Last Days of Jimi Hendrix, transmitted 10 September 1995." (full transcript below).
"To say that he [Jimi] was dead when they [Reginald Jones and John Suau] got to the [Samarkand] hotel is probably incorrect. When they brought Jimi into the hospital there was still some life left in him which is why we worked so hard on him. We wouldn't have worked so hard trying to resuscitate him if he was already dead. There was some breathing going on. Whether you call that life or not is another story. I worked on him for about ten minutes, and when I couldn't get him to breath. I then decided to shut down the oxygen and declare that he was dead. I personally couldn't find any sign of alcohol or anything like that on him when I examined him."
Source: filmed interview with you conducted by David Kramer in London, 23 February 2000.
In Version #1 you say, "I have always assumed that Jimi Hendrix was brought in dead" and five years later you say in Version #2, "We wouldn't have worked so hard trying to resuscitate him if he was already dead".
I would like to think that when Jimi was wheeled into Casualty, the medical persons who triaged him (i.e. before you or Dr. Bannister attended to Jimi) would be fully qualified and would be able to spot a dead patient from a patent who¹s unconscious, and therefore if Jimi was dead that he would have been taken straight down to the morgue and not into Casualty for emergency treatment.
I would normally present both versions if and when I do not know which version is the fully correct one, but in this case your own two versions are so opposing to each other (i.e. dead vs. alive) that I prefer, if possible, to end up with one version and not two.
Dr. Seifert: "I would stick with version #2, the monitor was very inactive but obviously we needed to try to resuscitate him if possible and that is what we did."
So Dr. Seifert confirms that Jimi wasn't brain dead on arrival, which is why he attempted resuscitation but it's important to understand the difference between clinical death and biological death
Shall we read that again:
- "We must have thought that at the time that there was a possibility that we could try and resuscitate him."
- "We wouldn't have worked so hard trying to resuscitate him if he was already dead. There was some breathing going on - whether you call that life or not is another story. I worked on him for about ten minutes, and when I couldn't get him to breath. I then decided to shut down the oxygen and declare that he was dead. I personally couldn't find any sign of alcohol or anything like that on him when I examined him."
So because CPR definitely was performed on Jimi, this proves without any possible doubt that Jimi had passed away in a short time prior to admission (resuscitation being never performed on 4, 5 6 hour old dead bodies).
"They thought they had saved him"?
In the 90s TV special "Jimi Hendrix: The Man They Made God", Alvenia Bridges (who had arrived at the hospital to find Monika in distress) said this:
Alvenia: "A nurse came out and said that they thought they had saved him. Then they came back and they said he was gone…and I didn't believe them because they'd just said a few minutes ago that they thought they had him. So I insisted to see him. I saw his hand and that beautiful turquoise ring that I gave him, there… and I said to the nurse, OK, he's gone."
However, Dr. Seifert denied this: "No nurse went out to say we'd revived him, because we didn't — that just never happened."
Once Monika and Alvenia were informed that Jimi couldn't be resuscitated, Alvenia phoned Eric Burdon who sent someone to take them back to his hotel.
The Coroner's Office Report
The Coroner's Office Report* stated that Dr. Seifert saw Jimi "before and after death", really meaning before and after the pronouncement of death by Seifert himself.
*That report makes no mention of a certain Dr. Bannister who later liked to put it around that he had worked hard on Jimi to bring him back to life, saying that he pumped pints of wine out of Jimi. This is utter nonsense as Seifert makes no mention of this and he has said in a letter to Univibes chief Caesar Glebbeek that he had no recollection of anyone called Dr. Bannister working under him that day.
It is also important to know that if medical staff in casualty pump contents from a body before a post-mortem analysis, the action must be documented with a description of what was extracted. This information must be communicated to the coroner. No such documents were filled out. In his ludicrous account, Bannister also said that the body that he worked on had been dead for hours, which means rigor mortis and lividity would be plainly evident (as such the body wouldn't be admitted to Emergencies). So why would the hero Bannister work away like Dr. Frankenstein, trying to bring a blue stiff back from the dead? It's hilarious but this nonsense does appeal to infantile minds.
> The official documents - the Coroner's Report and the Death Certificate <
Dr. Bannistein prepares to try and bring a long-dead corpse back to life.
The Bannister farceThe ex-doctor Bannister came to the surface in the 90s, spouting all sorts of nonsense about pumping wine out of a dead body, saying it was Hendrix. At the time, he was being sued for professional misconduct and fraud and must have decided after all those years, to try and get credibility and publicity in some way. His trial for fraud, patient neglect and extortion was very big news at the time in Australia, with full-page articles about his crimes in the newspapers in 1991. As a result of the trial, he was struck-off as a doctor.
Bannister said that a friend of his had read a book about Hendrix ("Electric Gypsy" by Harry Shapiro and Caesar Glebbeek) and in it, the medical team are accused by Monika Dannemann as being incompetent because they hadn't carried out a tracheostomy procedure on Jimi (who had just passed away or was on the verge of clinical death as we have seen above). This accusation didn't help Bannister's case at all, so he decided to go public, worldwide, to defend himself and to paint a picture of himself as a hero doctor who would do everything possible to revive a dead man - and a celebrity too! What a great way to attract publicity to his fraud case and to improve his image. It in fact transpires that Bannister was either remembering (or deliberately substituting) an entirely different case!
First of all, it was Dr. Seifert who worked on Jimi in the Resuscitation Room and not Bannister. Seifert: "I have no idea what Dr. Bannister was doing at that stage".
Even when recounting the case of his 7 foot tall corpse, Bannister let it slip that he didn't perform the procedures and that it was "the medical staff" that did it.
Pumping out of wine?
Bannister said that the lungs and stomach of the patient treated were full of wine - pints of it. The conspiracy theorist invents the idea that Jimi was water-boarded by Mike Jeffrey's heavies. Also, because the level of alcohol Jimi's blood was quite slight, this is seen as further proof that Jimi didn't willfully drink the wine but that it was forced down his throat. How ridiculously wrong the theorist is because lungs and stomach full of wine, even for a very short period of time (during a reflex struggle for example) would have left a very high level of alcohol in the blood!
The conspiracy theorist claims that Bannister pumped all the wine out before the body got to Dr. Teare (who performed the autopsy). The conspiracy theorist doesn't realise that any vomit/fluids remaining in the stomach, swilling around with theoretical pints of wine would have been flushed out too! The FACT that the remains of "a medium sized meal" (in liquid form - chyme) was found in Jimi's stomach proving without a shadow of a doubt that no stomach pumping of pints of wine had occurred at all! Also, there was no hospital documentation about wine being pumped from Jimi Hendrix in casualty. If doctors carry out such a procedure it legally has to be logged for the medical record of the patient and especially anything related of the contents of a patient's stomach or lungs (possible evidence of cause of accident/death). As said above, medical staff are forbidden to carry out such an exercise on dead bodies before an autopsy. Also, any pumping out of wine would still leave the fine lung tissues coated in wine residue. The autopsy made no mention AT ALL of any trace of wine in the lung tissues, only fluid vomit. So what to the conspiracy theorists think? That Bannister also gave Jimi's lungs a good rinse after having pumped out the wine? Hilarious.Reginald Jones (ambulance driver): "His airway was completely blocked all the way down, his tongue had fallen back, he was flat on his back you see."
John Suau (ambulance attendant): "The vomit was all the way down, we couldn't have got an airway down." - "The vomit was dry and there was a hell of a lot of it"
If this statement is true, it proves without any doubt that pints of wine couldn't possibly have been in Jimi's and lungs if his trachea was full of dried vomit and lots of it. How could water-boarding leave the trachea blocked up with dry vomit and a partially digested meal in the stomach! Hilarious nonsense.
It gets better. The conspiracy theorist likes to say that a "plug" of vomit in Jimi's trachea held back the pints of vomit in the lungs. However, their star witness Bannister said: "[Hendrix] did not have an obstruction of the airways."! Contradicting himself in another account, Bannister says: "The medical staff used an 18 inch metal sucker to try and clear Hendrix's airway..."! He continued: "...but it would just fill up with red wine from his stomach". Ah, so the red wine was in Jimi's stomach now?
If Jimi had been waterboarded with wine (as the conspiracy theorists like to imagine) then after the deadly act, how could his stomach be full of wine and his airways be blocked up with vomit? Makes no sense at all.
Unfortunately for the conspiracy theorists, their theory comes crashing down for two simple reasons:
1 - Drowning in wine leaves great quantities of alcohol... in the blood
As detailed at the top of this page, the experienced forensic pathologist Dr. Michael D. Hunter stated in his detailed review of Jimi's autopsy that if a great quantity of wine had been forcibly poured into Jimi's lungs and stomach, this would have shown up in his blood count after death. As we know from the autopsy, the level of alcohol Jimi's blood was at driving limit level and not at all at the toxicity levels that would result from drowning wine.
2 - Bannister worked on a body over 7 feet tall
Bannister described the body he worked as being unusually tall. In a 1998 interview with Richard Jinman published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Bannister said that he still has vivid memories of the guitarist's height:
"He was about 10 inches (25.4 centimetres) longer than the trolley".
Also this from The Times Online (20/07/2009):
"He had no idea who the famous patient was but remembers that he was “very long”. Mr. Bannister, 67, speaking at his home in Sydney, said: “He was hanging over the table we had him on by about ten inches.”
That means a man who was over 7 feet tall. So obviously this wasn't Hendrix who was only 5'11" tall.
Bannister also said the team (and not himself personally according to one of his statements) worked on the body for about half an hour but Dr.Seifert, who was in charge that morning, stated that they only worked on Jimi for a 10 minutes. Dr. Seifert of course made no mention of the pints of wine because thet came from the other case , another day or month - the 7 foot tall man.
Original articles here
In the time frame of Bannister's position at the hospital, any number of coloured patients would have been admitted for overdose emergencies. It's not as if Jimi's arrival at St. Mary Abbott's was a unique occasion. Kathy Etchingham once said that the medical staff had treated Jimi like yet another dead junkie coming into Casualty. The hospital staff had no idea that this was a rock star in The Resuscitation Room. Bannister didn't even know who Hendrix was in 1970! So in his fabrication of a story to better his name, he got all his facts wrong, getting carried away with his self-portrayal as a caring life-saver and as a result he painted himself into a corner, rendering his own statements totally useless as evidence (though unbelievably, conspiracy theorists, with their school playground level of judgment, swear by what he said!).
Because we know that Jimi was 5'11", hadn't been dead for very long and hadn't drowned in wine (as confirmed by pathologist Dr. Michael D. Hunter in his 2016 autopsy review), this nonsense can only leave two possibilitie for Bannister's account at a time when he was facing trial for fraud:
1. He invented his wine story but made a huge error in saying that Jimi was about 7 feet tall (doesn't seem plausible).
2. He was actually remembering a different case (a 7 foot tall black man) and confused it with the case of Jimi in the Emergencies ward around the same period of time (his service between 1970 and 1972) and didn't research sufficiently before going public with his story.
"Jimi wasn't tall, but when posed with us flanking him, he photographed larger than life" - Noel Redding in his book "Are You Experienced".
Wine all over the 7 foot man? And Jimi?
Bannister said that "There was red wine all over him" (meaning the 7 foot all man of course) and that his hair was soaked in it. However, in a filmed interview in 2000, apparently (according to Caesar Glebbeek) Dr. Seifert totally contradicts this, saying "I personally couldn't find any sign of alcohol or anything like that on him, when I examined him". However (yet again), there is said to exist yet another filmed interview where Seifert says that he does remember there being some wine on Jimi! That in itself would be nothing extraordinary as Jimi had drunk a little wine that evening (according to Monika) and definitely had been vomiting!
Dr. Robert Donald Teare, who carried out the post-mortem examination of Jimi's body a couple of days later, made no mention whatsoever of wine on Jim's body, in his hair, in his stomach or in his lungs. No odor of wine at all. He stated that Jimi's lungs were congested, showed oedematous (swoleness) and "vomited material could be expressed from the smaller bronchi.". At the inquest, he stated "...he had vomit in his air passages" - so Jimi had obviously not been drowned in wine, which would have flushed any vomit out of his lungs (and stomach). Remember also that the ambulance crew also made no reference to wine all over Jimi or all over the bed - only vomit.
Dr. Seifert is quoted above saying "I personally couldn't find any sign of alcohol or anything like that on him when I examined him.". However, apparently, in a filmed interview he stated that there was some wine on Jimi! What to make of this? Well, Monika Danneman had recounted that when she saw Jimi with vomit on his face, she grabbed the first thing to hand - a bottle of wine (which would be the bottle of white wine they had opened) - and splashed it on his face to clean him! Whether she poured some into his mouth (as she supposedly admitted to Sharon Lawrence) remains open to speculation. That splashed white wine would have obviously run onto Jimi's body/clothes. It is also true that when Jimi vomited, some wine that he had drunk was regurgitated! So it's really no big deal or proof of Bannister's fantasy that wine might have been detected on Jimi in some way or other. We know for certain that Jimi didn't drown in wine anyway.
The scarf of the 7 foot manAnother ludicrous theory bandied around by the conspiracy theorist is that Bannister mentioned that the body he worked on was still wearing a scarf. It is claimed that Bannister couldn't possible have known that a photo (by Monika Danneman) existed of Jimi wearing a scarf in the Samarkand Hotel garden the day before he died. It is claimed that this photo didn't appear in the press or in any publications until the 1990s. This is seen as proof that Bannister worked on Jimi that day, pumping wine out of him.
It was a friend of Bannister's who had alerted him to what Monika had said about the Emergencies medical team in the book "Electric Gypsy". This friend could also have furnished Bannister with other publications.
HOWEVER, as usual, the scarf theory is completely wrong because the Samarkand garden photo had been published in multiple publications since the early 70s.
Here are some examples from my personnal archives.
So did the desperate Bannister (in court for fraud at the time) attempted to lend credibility to his story, adding the scarf detail because he had seen one of the last photos ever taken of Jimi? He might have also made an error about Jimi's height after misinterpreting other photos of Jimi where he looked tall.
It is possible of course that the 7 foot man that Bannister actually worked on (clearly not Hendrix) was wearing a scarf. Scarves very common in the late 60s to mid 70s.
Why didn't Bannister come forward in 1970?
If Bannister had thought that his patient had been drowned in wine, why didn't he come forward when he saw the headline news that evening and the following day? Why didn't he alert his colleges? The police? He didn't of course because there was no wine pumping of any patient that day, only urgent resuscitation attempt on Jimi Hendrix.
When confronted with this, conspiracy theorists propose that MI6 and Scotland Yard suppressed the documentation and threatened the hospital staff with death if they came forward with information that might put their collective "plan" in jeopardy. They even consider the autopsy report to be fixed, a cover-up, with the coroner being threatened. To find further excuses and counter-arguments for their absurd theories, they even include Dannemann, Eric Burdon, Alvenia Bridges, Gerry Stickells, Eric Barrett and Terry Slater in the plot (all obeying orders for fear of being assassinated themselves), along with Jeffery, his hit-men and the CIA! You couldn't make this stuff up - but yes they do!
The conviction of Bannister
Bannister was tried and de-registered in 1992 in New South Wales on several fraud charges. He appealed many times to get the sentence reversed but the courts maintained their decision about him. It also later transpired (from Caesar Glebbeek's investigation) that even back in the 70s, he had been "let go" (meaning fired) from St Mary Abbott's hospital and that he had a reputation of being "sleazy".
September 28th - The inquest
Professor Donald Teare:
"...he had vomit in his air passages" - thus proving again that Jimi didn't drown in wine (which would have diluted and flushed away all vomit)
Concerning Vesparax: "It minimises all reflex reactions including the closing of the air passages to exclude fluid passing down or up from the stomach. Because the air passages were slow to close he would inhale some of the vomit and this would prevent him breating."
The coroner's report of September 28 by Gavin L.B. Thurston stated that the cause of death was "inhalation of vomit due to barbiturate intoxication".
At the inquest, the coroner Thurston stated that the dose of pills was "...not large enough to be fatal and he would have normally been expected to recover". However, in the 90s, Kathy Etchingham contacted Dr. Rufus Compton, Director of Forensic Medicine at St. George's Medical school (who had worked with Professor Teare). When he analysed the autopsy report (with the help of a toxicologist) he stated that the barbiturate reading in Jimi's liver was so high that he wouldn't have survived and that the inhalation of vomited just hastened his death. Compton also said that at least 4 Vesparax tablets would've been enough to cause the readings from Jimi's liver*. This was confirmed in the 2016 analysis of the autopsy report by forensic pathologist Michael D. Hunter and that the inhalation of vomit was not the actual cause of death, it was the strong dose of barbiturate from Danneman's sleeping pills.
* This corresponds with what I said earlier about the real possibility that Jimi only took 5 pills maximum! Perhaps first three (like on the night of the 15th), then Monika gave him a couple more, when they didn't appear to work (as she recounted to Kathy, Mitch and Noel!).
So again, Jimi's death had nothing whatsoever with "drowning in wine" as the crackpot conspiracy theorists claim.
The time of death and rice (in)digestion
From the accounts of those at Pete Kameron's party, Jimi sampled some of the chinese (or Polynesien) delivered food from Stella Douglas's bowl right before he left (at 3 a.m. according to Angie Burdon). The determining of the time of death is important if we are to get a clearer picture of what happened and crucial evidence is at our disposal - from Professor Donald Teare's Post Mortem report! The report states that in Jimi's stomach was found "a medium sized, partially digested meal" and that "The sample of stomach contents when examined microscopically was found to contain starch granules. Whole rice grains could be discerned". So it was a microscope that detected starch granules and the examiner discerned one or two whole rice grains that weren't yet dissolved. So it's not as if Jimi was found with a stomach full of rice as the murder theorists ludicrously like to imagine.
The murder theorists like to put it around that the fact rice was found in Jimi's stomach proves that he had been dead for 6 hours or more. They have a misguided idea that food remains in the stomach for about an hour and was found in Jimi's stomach because he was killed at 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning. This doesn't correspond at all with medical facts. Read on.
The slowing down of rice digestion
It normally takes about six to eight hours for food to pass through the stomach and small intestine during digestion. In the stomach, gastric juices reduce the density of rice so that it can pass into the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum and ileum) and it is there that it is in fact digested (Source). The half digested food in the stomach is called chyme. Differing foodstuffs have varying digestion times but the pre-digestion process in the stomach can be greatly slowed by various things: the composition of other foods in the stomach at the same time, the presence of alcohol and the ingestion of certain drugs. We know that Jimi sampled some of the chinese food at Peter Kameron's party between 2 and 3 a.m. approximately. That light meal would normally take a couple of hours to be transferred to the small intestine but with everything that Jimi was ingesting that night, the pre-digestion process was greatly slowed:
Recent studies have proven that alcohol dramatically slows down the digestion time, adding many hours onto the normal stomach digestion time. From the various accounts of people who socialised with Jimi on September 17th and into the early hours of the 18th, he was drinking pretty well constantly and including during his rice meal at Peter Kameron's apartment between 2 and 3 a.m.
The post mortem also found that Jimi had amphetamine in his system (a "brown bomber" taken at Peter Kameron's little gathering) and this type of drug also slows down the digestion process: "If intestinal activity is high, amphetamine may reduce gastrointestinal motility (the rate at which content moves through the digestive system)..." (Source).
Barbiturate (i.e. Vesparax)
"Barbiturates in large hypnotic and anesthetic doses produce a reduction of the gastric and pancreatic secretions... (Source)
We can pretty well assume that Jimi was a regular cannabis user and very probably during that busy night of socialising. Cannabis can also slow down the process of digestion and trigger vomiting! (Source).
The simple act of sleeping also slows the digestive system Source
Jimi had been consuming all of the above digestion inhibitors that night, so this explains why a "half digested" meal (in fact only broken down to chyme) remained in his stomach. If one or two rice grains were discerned in the chyme, this would be due some grains that were less cooked that others or might have hardened due to re-heating).
During the 90s Scotland Yard reinvestigation, their pathologist went over the original pathologist's report (of September 1970) about the stomach contents in relation to the time of death and he came to the conclusion that Jimi's time of death was at the same time as stated in the initial report (and not five hours earlier as the conspiracy fans like to think). To further confirm this, an eminent pathologist in England was consulted and he also confirmed the originally stated time of death.
So again we have proof that there was...
- NO DEATH SIX HOURS BEFORE THE AMBULANCE ARRIVED
- NO MURDER
The alcohol level detected in Jimi's system was low (46 mgs per 100 ml) and not important enough to be considered to have played a role in Jimi's death. During the evening of the 17th and early hours of the 18th of September, Jimi drunk some white wine according to Monika. There was no mention of wine in the official documents because this was nothing alarming. The post-mortem report by Professor Donald Teare mentioned "a medium sized partially digested meal" in the stomach but not any quantity of fluid. The same report mentioned 400 ml of "free fluid" in the left lung. It wasn't listed as wine.
The coroner Gavin Thurston mentioned red wine?
This is of course only hearsay but Sharon Lawrence said in her book that journalist Jack Meehan told her that he met the coroner Gavin Thurston the day after his report, to get more details. Apparently Thurston told Meehan that "...a fair amount of red wine had been imbibed". It was of course Prof. Donald Teare who had performed the autopsy and his report made no mention whatsoever of wine. He had simply said that the alcohol in Jimi's blood was about equivalent to just over the driving limit. So it would seem that Sharon Lawrence was inventing something to build her argument that Monika had given Jimi wine to drink and splashed him with it in an effort to revive and clean him! So this Gavin Thurston "quote" holds no weight at all in this investigation.
Also; Monika said that Jimi had drunk white wine at her flat but not red. It isn't known if Jimi had drunk any red wine at Pete Kameron's flat previously. Dr. Seifert apparently mentioned in a filmed interview that there was some wine on Jimi. This is however not a revelation that the Frankenstein-like Dr. Bannister gave a truthful account. People drink wine and can vomit it back up when too inebriated, so it's no big deal. BUT...
Did Monika force red wine on Jimi?
Monika said that she and Jimi had bought two bottles of white wine and a bottle of red. She said that Jimi drank some WHITE wine at the Samarkand on the morning of the 18th (Jimi was known not to like red wine). In one interview Monika said that when she saw that Jimi was in difficulty, she gave him a little wine to drink to help him feel better! This makes no sense because when she noticed that Jimi was in difficulty, she couldn't wake him! She added that she had cleaned some vomit off Jimi's face with what was at hand, which was red wine!
In a phone call in 1996, Sharon Lawrence pressured Monika for details about exactly what happened. Sharon lost her patience and accused her being responsible for Jimi's death because of her negligence. Sharon says that she asked Monika bluntly "Did you pour red wine down his throat?" (in reference to a comment apparently made by the coroner to Meehan on September 29, 1970). A distraught Monika replied "It was all untidy. He was messy. I thought it would help"... "I am sorry. Believe me, I am sorry". WTF?? She admitted it?! Did she forcefully pour wine down Jimi's throat to make sure that he would be sufficiently knocked-out and remain with her at the Samarkand?
However, as detailed further up, we know that Jimi's alcohol level was low, proving without a shadow of a doubt that he didn't drown in wine at all.
Did Jimi suffer from sleep apnea?
One must also take into account that Jimi's girlfriend Carmen Borrero recounted (source unknown) that on several occasions she found Jimi sleeping and choking! She said that she had to assist him and clear his windpipe when he started chocking in his sleep. Apparently Jimi's mid 60s girlfriend Fayne Pridgon has also mentioned similar incidents. This is an important revelation and it could mean that Jimi in fact suffered from sleep apnea. After Jimi's disastrous Arrhus gig (September 2, 1970 - where he was too ill to do more than two songs and asked for cocaine backstage) he slept very deeply. Helle Hellmann was present and said "He was so exhausted. I honestly thought he was going to die. That night, his breathing was so laboured, I was scared he would stop breathing..."
So this condition may have contributed to Jimi's predicament at The Samarkand Hotel (though the dose of quinalbarbitone from the Vesparax tablets had been enough to push him over the edge).
The 1993 Police investigation
By 1993, after the debacle with Dee Mitchell, Kathy Etchingham hired a private investigator to look deeper into the case. More interviewing of the various protagonists ensued, including Monika Dannemann. Kathy then submitted the findings of the private investigation to the Attorney General's office who decided that a new investigation be launched (headed by Detective Superintendant Douglas Campbell. Unfortunately, the dossier that Kathy, Dee and the private investigator had assembled over the years, with all the quotes from the ambulance man, the doctors, etc. and Detective Campbells findings all failed to convince the Attorney General Sir Nicholas Lyell that a new inquest was necessary.
Kathy keeps going!
Unperturbed, Kathy went on to publish her great book ("Through Gypsy Eyes"). I personally believe that Kathy was sincere about everything that appeared in her book but had she been manipulated by the devious Dee Mitchell? The problem at the moment is that there are too many conflicting accounts and it is only through logic that we can try and ascertain the truth.
When I asked Kathy Etchingham what she thought about Suau's rejection of what was in her book, she was dumbfounded. As far as she was concerned, the interviews were correctly represented in the books. Kathy doesn't agree at all with Caesar Glebbeek's investigation which was presented in his Univibes special "Until We Meet Again".
So her research continues and it should clear up a lot of questions. The new findings will be published when circumstances permit it. So, even if it proves my amateur sleuthing wrong, bring it on Kathy!
After their very public argument outside Phillip Harvey's flat and the nagging at Pete Kemeron's flat, the futher argument at the Samarkand, did Monika fear that Jimi would leave her? In the early 80s, Monika told Kathy, Mitch and Noel that she had given Jimi some sleeping tablets and then gave him some more. Did her possessive jealousy lead her to deliberately try to knock Jimi out in order to keep him at the flat? Or, did she innocently under-estimate the strength of those tablets? If it was a simple error or a miscalculation of a dose to keep Jimi with her, then that would explain Monika's total panic and her muddled stories, as she tried to cover up the terrible guilt and fear that she was responsible for the death of Jimi Hendrix.
Talking about the events of September 18th his book, Noel Redding (who met Monika in the 90s) says of her: "At about 6 a.m., she says that he complained that there was something wrong and wondered whether someone had slipped him an OD." This could of course had been another attempt by Monika of deflecting the blame from herself.
The conspiracy theorist believes that Monika was some sort of cool, calculated agent working in league with Jeffery/MI5/COINTELPRO in the plot to assassinate Jimi Hendrix! I kid you not. This is disproved by the accounts of Alvenia, Eric Burdon and by Vic Briggs' wife Elandra (see below). Monika had in fact been in an utter state of panic about Jimi's situation as she desperately tried to find out if Jimi had a doctor in London and in the aftermath of his death. Monika had lied, saying that everything was hunky dory with Jimi that night but those at Harvey's and Kameron's flats witnessed a volatile and aggressive Monika, publicly insulting him. Also, when the police visited The Samarkand Hotel in the afternoon of September 18th, they found out that the violent arguing had continued in the flat when the couple had returned after their evening at Kameron's and in Soho (Jimi had even walked out of the flat to cool off at one point).
In a 2015 interview, Alvenia Bridges states that when Monika phoned her on that September 18th morning in 1970, "...she was hysterical...hysterical".
Monika completely broke down after Jimi's death and I found the proof after an interview I did with ex-Animals guitarist Vic Briggs, which led me to being contacted by his wife Elandra Meredith. On September 18th, Elandra had been summoned (either to the Samarkand or Eric Burdon's hotel room) to help the hysterically out of control Dannemann:
"The experience that most shook me to the core was finding myself in the house of Jimi Hendrix (sic) right after he died. His distraught girlfriend, Monika Danneman, was pacing back and forth and round and round chain-smoking. The room was thick with smoke and fear and horror." - "Monika was out of her mind with shock, distraught to the point of madness, pacing like crazy, smoking non stop with trembling hands. She seemed incapable of relating to anything." - "She was ranting, not sure what said, or what I said, I have the feeling I could not get her attention to even try to calm down"
> My interview with Elandra Meredith
Finally, if Monika was on a mission to make sure Jimi was at the Samarkand in the early hours of the 18th, for the "hit" (cue laughter) then why had she been nagging, aggressing and arguing with him all evening and all night (as witnessed by many and confirmed by the police)? Hardly the behaviour of a calculated agent for Mike Jeffrey as the conspiracy theorist likes to imagine. Also, if she was a conspirator, why would she create all the fuss phoning around and alerting Judy Wong, Alvenia and Eric, with all the "flat full of drugs" panic? All a conspirator would have to do is sit tight then phone for an ambulance.It gets worse, the conspiracy theorist also believes that Alvenia, Burdon,Wong, Stickells, Barrett and Slater were also part of the conspiracy! So was the hospital!! So was Scotland Yard!!! So were MI6, the CIA and the Free Masons!!! Seriously nuts.
The Tappy Wright farce > the invention of the murder story
This brings us back to Tappy Wright's book "Rock Roadie" and the account that Jeffery told him that he "had to do it", that he "had no choice" but to kill Jimi.
HOWEVER, Bob Levine (who was Jimi's US manager and a personal friend of Jimi's) questioned Tappy as to why he made such outrageous claims in his book and TAPPY WRIGHT ADMITTED THAT HE HAD MADE IT ALL UP JUST TO HELP SELL THE BOOK!
John McDermott: "Bob Levine called me recently (December 2010) and he was absolutely furious that Tappy Wright had suggested that Michael murdered Jimi or that he engineered Jimi's death...".
Bob Levine in a 2011 interview for musicradar.com:
"Jimi Hendrix was not murdered," says Bob Levine, who was the US manager of the late guitarist at the time of his death in 1970. "Despite the allegations that have recently been made, I need to set the record straight once and for all. Jimi died an accidental death, but he definitely wasn't murdered - not by Michael Jeffery, his UK manager, and certainly not by anybody connected to him. The whole thing is one giant lie."
"I told Tappy, 'What are you doing making up this story? So you want to sell books - why do you have to print such lies?' And he said to me, 'Well, who's going to challenge me? Everybody's dead, everybody's gone. Chas Chandler, Michael Jeffery, Mitch Mitchell, Noel Redding…they're all gone. Nobody can challenge what I write.'"
"It's totally unfair to Jimi," Levine says. "It's unfair to everybody who was around at the time. I just think it's really unfair to the fans, to anybody
whoever loved Jimi Hendrix. Yes, he died a tragic death, and he died much too young. But spreading these lies that he was murdered?
It's utter crap, and I've been silent about this for much too long."
The Bob Levine interview
The Mike Jeffrey murder conspiracy nonsense
So there we are folks. Jimi wasn't long-dead when he arrived at the hospital. Tappy Wright admitted that he made up a murder story to help sell his junk book. Bannister made it all up and described a body that wasn't that of Jimi Hendrix. Mike Jeffery was never in the British secret service, MI5 or whatever.
Watch out folks, "You can't believe everything you see and hear can you".
All I can say is, poor old Jimi.
The Univibes special edition "Until We Meet Again - The last weeks of Jimi Hendrix" by Caesar Glebbeek created a lot of swell when it appeared in 2011.
Caesar has played a major role since the 1970s in the meticulous archiving of everything Hendrix. His magazine Univibes has long been THE serialised bible for Hendrix information (along with the more recent Jimpress (from my hometown of Warrington, Cheshire!). The book he put together with Harry Shapiro "Jimi Hendrix: Electric Gypsy" is also valued as an essential read by all Hendrix aficionados.
In Caesar's 2011 special Univibes edition about the theories surrounding Jimi's tragic death, some recent statements by key witnesses contradict their initial statements and interviews and are completely at odds with previous research by Tony Brown, Kathy Etchingham and others. So many facts are getting lost in the sands of time and a lot of confusion remains. It'd help if Eric Burdon and Eric Barrett could come forward and tell us more about what happened at The Samarkand Hotel.
(1) "Until We Meet Again - The Last Weeks Of Jimi Hendrix" (Caesar Glebeek/Univibes 2011)
(2). "Electric Gypsy" (Shapiro/Glebbeek, Mandrian 1994)
(3)."Hendrix - Setting The Record Straight" (McDermott/Kramer, Warner Books 1992)
(4) "Jimi Hendrix: A Visual Documentary (Tony Brown, Omnibus Press 1992)
Check out this excellent discussion at Crosstown Torrents
An interesting article about the Jeffery/Douglas issue Rockmine
Why so many people believe conspiracy theories
The illusory pattern perception of conspiracy theorists