The death of Jimi Hendrix
Forget the disinformation, the conspiracy theory nonsense
– Jimi Hendrix was NOT murdered, he wasn’t full of wine
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.
“Contrary to some reports, Jimi was still alive when he reached the hospital.”
– Noel Redding (in his book “Are You Experienced”)
So to begin, let’s have some first-hand information from those who were on the scene
at St. Mary Abbott’s Hospital on September 18th 1970:
The medical staff:
“We wouldn’t have worked so hard trying to resuscitate him if he was already dead.”
– Dr. Seifert (Medical Registrar, St. Mary Abbot’s Hospital – September 18th 1970) in a filmed interview in February 2000.
“We must have thought that at the time, there was a possibility that we could try and resuscitate him”
– Dr. Seifert in an interview with the BBC in 1995
“The patient was still alive…”
– John Suau (ambulanceman who accompanied Jimi to hospital)
from an investigation by Ex Police Superintendent Dennis Care (early 90s)
“I heard them [the two doctors] say later that he had died in the ambulance.”
– Walter Pryce (Accident & Emergencies Admissions Officer, St. Mary Abbotts Hospital 1970)
On that fateful day of September 18th 1970, the police and the officials at St. Mary Abbott’s Hospital informed the press
that Hendrix had passed away in the ambulance on the way to the hospital (or in Casualty) and that resuscitation failed to revive him:
“Pop star Jimi Hendrix died in an ambulance yesterday on the way to the hospital”
– David Tune (The Daily Mail)
“A spokesman for the hospital said the 27 year old guitarist was alive
when admitted but died shortly [after] noon”.
– Peter Goddard (journalist)
“The police sources said [Hendrix] was admitted to St. Mary Abbott’s Hospital
at 11:45 and died about one hour afterward….
…A hospital spokesman said first Hendrix was dead on arrival but doctors
who examined him later said he lived for about one hour after admission.”
– UPI press telex September 18th 1970
“The acid rock musician died today in a London hospital.”
– ABC News (18th September 1970)
“Doctors…fought to save his life but all attempts to resuscitate him failed”
– Evening Standard (18th September 1970)
10 days later, the official inquest confirmed that Jimi wasn’t dead at the Samarkand:
“The inquest into Hendrix’s death was told that he died on the way to hospital,
after being picked up by an ambulance at this building.”
It’s clear therefore that Hendrix had not been dead for hours at The Samarkand Hotel as often thought.
Over the years, the early 90s accounts of the ambulancemen and one of the doctors who worked at the hospital
have been completely at odds with the official statements and the forensics.
The above quotes prove that Jimi passed away either in the ambulance or moments afterwards in Casualty,
yet conspiracy theorists claim that the police and the hospital personnel had been brought into a gigantic cover-up
(by Scotland Yard/MI6/CIA,,..) during the first moments after Jimi died and pressured to subsequently lie to the press and interviewers.
Clearly infantile logic.
So how the hell did all this ludicrous murder fantasy come about?
On this page you will discover the truth about the death of Jimi Hendrix, who wasn’t murdered (and the proof that he didn’t have lungs and stomach full of wine).
All this “Jimi was murdered” nonsense mainly stems from two frauds.
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 and whose accounts, as you will see here, don’t match the forensic evidence at all.
So the conspiracy theorist has nothing whatsoever to back up the murder fantasy.
+ another fraud
The initial ambulancemen’s accounts (those seen in Tony Brown’s books for example), rejected by the police during a 90s re-investigation and by one of the ambulancemen had been gathered under curious circumstances involving a dangerous stalking fraud (see further down).
C O N T E N T S
Prologue – All the nonsense
I know, this site is a record guide but this subject needs addressing as there is so much rubbish all over the internet about Jimi being murdered.
I had read all the startling articles and books that implied that Jimi had been murdered but too many statements were very conflictual. So, with an open mind, I decided to sift through all the information available, in an effort and determine what really happened.
Looking meticulously through the all the data (and using plain old common sense) the entire murder theory simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. This is serious because a lot of the fraudulent information has ended up in many Hendrix books and documentaries. The lies have become part of Hendrix folklore and now we have people all over social media declaring that “Hendrix was murdered by his manager”, “Jimi was a touring slave”, “Jeffery kidnapped Jimi, “Jeffery spiked Jimi at MSG”,…. All totally false as it happens but people seem to prefer the myth (or are simply ill-informed) and like to see Jimi as a martyr. As Hendrix biographer Harry Shapiro put it in the book Electric Gypsy:
“Again, there is no evidence for such conspiracy theories. As in life, so in death, there were too many people wanting to hold Jimi up as a ‘victim’, a martyr to his genius, done in by evil managers, record companies, hangers-on, dope-dealers, political militants and so on. True, like anybody else in the public eye, Jimi was under inordinate amounts of stress. But to deny him any inner ressources of strength to win through, the belief in the power of his own vision and the ability to gain control over his life, is to do Jimi Hendrix a grave disservice.”… “In Gerry Stickell’s words, Jimi’s death was ‘an unfortunate accident’. And almost certainly, that’s what it was.”
So read on dear visitor and learn the truth about the death of Jimi Hendrix.
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, Michael Fairchild, Caesar Glebbeek, Harry Shapiro, Jerry Hopkins, Tony Brown, Dennis Care, Charles R. Cross, Sharon Lawrence, Ben Valkhoff, Luigi Garuti 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. Check out the neat assessment of this subject, featured in the Valkhoff/Garuti book “Hendrix 1970: Day By Day”.
Conspiracy theory nonsense
The circumstances surrounding Jimi’s death have been subject to much speculation. Theories abound claiming that it was suicide, an accident and even quite ludicrously that it was a murder conspiracy, instigated by his manager Michael Jeffery! The 2021 events in Washington DC and QAnon disinformation illustrate the lunacy that is born out of conspiracy theory mentalities. Truth denial is becoming widespread, especially in the U.S.A. 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. For some reason, the gullible seems to prefer the tragic, romantic idea of Jimi the martyr to his art. In many cases, it’s not really their fault because so much of the nonsense has crept into several Hendrix books, documentaries and thus into Hendrix folklore. A lot of information-gathering, 20 years after Jimi’s passing, was done under curious circumstances involving some highly untrustworthy individuals.
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 Dannemann 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 ambulancemen, 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 and within them led a path to the truth. 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.
Cause and effect
Attempted suicide seems unlikely. There are many quotes saying that Jimi was depressed, confused and insecure at this stage (Sharon Lawrence and Kirsten Nefer 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!
When you read Sharon Lawrence’s book, it seems that Jimi was very down during that time but Alan Douglas found Jimi to be very happy: “No depression, no discontent, nothing. He knew about all the business problems and what everybody was doing, and he was just waiting it out so he could deal with music the way he really wanted to.” “That week he was at his happiest and funniest, and I had the best time I ever had with him.” (from Guitar World Magazine – September 1975).
What is apparent however about Jimi’s last months is that his chosen lifestyle had become very erratic and unhealthy with poor sleep cycles and the consumption of great amounts of drugs and alcohol which had sent him into a spiral of paranoia, self-doubt, apathy and what appeared to amount to a bipolar disorder or even mild schizophrenia. Linda Keith: “He had huge mood swings that lasted days and I suspect today he would be diagnosed as bipolar.” (Mojo special 2023).
Carlos Santana, who had witnessed Jimi’s excesses in November 1969 at The Record Plant, NY: “To me, it was a combination of the lifestyle – staying up all night, chicks, too much drugs, all kinds of stuff. It was a combination of all the intensities he felt, along with a lack of discipline.“(2).
Buddy Miles: “To some degree, Hendrix suffered from the drugs he was taking, because he was doing heroin and after a while that will hurt anyone.” (10)
Brian Auger talking about meeting Jimi in 1970: “…he rolled out some silver paper which he opened up and he snorted what was obviously heroin.” (from my interview with Brian – see Index page).
Reading about Jimi’s confused and unpredictable behaviour during his last few weeks is unsettling and it reveals a man who was gradually losing control. He had relished shooting to international stardom in 1967 and 1968 but Noel remarked how, even then, Jimi would often display anxiety and paranoia (perhaps a symptom of his unstable, violent childhood and his equally hap-hazard and anonymous “chitlin’ circuit” days).
Eventually the pressures of being the highest paid rock star of the day got to him. His life became a maelstrom of demands from record companies, management, banks, lawyers, radical groups, ex-lovers with children that he’d fathered, Ed Chalpin, drug pushers, hangers-on,… He couldn’t just run away from his responsibilities, his mounting debts, so he unfortunately was drawn to the escape of various substances, which put him in a very precarious situation. Being “Jimi” Hendrix had become intolerable for him.
As Tony Brown said in the preface of his book The Last Days: “Anyone with an ounce of common sense could see that Hendrix was heading for a terrible fall.“
Harry Shapiro had this to say about Jimi’s condition when he arrived in London for the short European tour in August/September 1970: “Important… in assessing the events of the coming weeks is the fact that Jimi was physically very run down. His glandular problems earlier in the year were a testament to that and he never had or gave himself the time to recover fully. Jimi’s poor state of physical health was primarily a product of the lifestyle he led.”
Where to begin?
When all the talk of Jimi being murdered started being put about decades ago, I was shocked and intrigued. So I just had to find out more. As I delved into all the interviews, articles, books, videos,… comparing all the data, it became obvious that many statements didn’t fit the undeniable facts, i.e. the medical information. Something didn’t add up and I discovered that a murder simply didn’t take place at all.
It became evident that it was imperative to start at the hospital, because the procedures that were carried out at that crucial moment tell us everything we need to know about Jimi’s condition.
Working logically back from those facts permits one to eliminate a great number of false and untrustworthy accounts (the murder, the long-dead Jimi, the lungs full of wine, etc. – all nonsense as it turns out). 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
In the afternoon of September 18th, the police and a hospital spokesperson confirmed to the press that Jimi had passed away in the ambulance (see the above quotes from the press articles). It was also confirmed by the Accident & Emergencies Admissions Officer (Walter Price) at the hospital and confirmed again in the 1990s by the ambulanceman who was at Jimi’s side as the ambulance sped to the hospital with lights and siren according to the driver – so there was obviously a sense of urgency, a living patient. At the November 1970 inquest into Jimi’s death, it was also confirmed that Jimi died in the ambulance.
This was the reason why, on arrival at the hospital, Jimi was rushed to the Resuscitation Room (or Emergencies Room) in a last ditch attempt to revive him. This simple fact eliminates the popular myth 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 just stopped breathing (you’ve seen it movies) and have no pulse BUT might still have a chance of being resuscitated, before the point of no return – brain death. Doctors NEVER attempt to revive long-dead corpses that are six or seven hours gone, simply because of the visible signs of livor mortis (a.k.a. “dependent lividity” – skin discoloration) and rigor mortis (stiffness of the jaw, neck, limbs,…) which would inform them that the person is completely irrecuperable. Lividity can show up in as little as 15 minutes, so if Jimi had been dead for hours, skin discoloration would have been plainly visible to medical personnel. It obviously wasn’t the case.
Prior to admission, arrivals are always triaged and bodies exhibiting such signs are sent directly to the morgue. Jimi obviously exhibited none because the two doctors who examined him in the ambulance decided that he be rushed into the Emergencies Room for immediate resuscitation.
This simple fact has been somewhat overlooked for decades.
Jimi certainly didn’t drown in red wine
A doctor who was on duty the morning that Jimi died received a lot of publicity in the press when he said that he had pumped pints of red wine out of Jimi’s stomach and lungs. He said “The medical staff used an 18 inch metal sucker to try and clear Hendrix’s airway…but it would just fill up with red wine from his stomach”.
The problem with his story is that at the autopsy, a half-digested meal still in Jimi’s stomach. If his stomach had been pumped, how could a half-digested meal remain for the autopsy? Also, no wine was found to be among that half-digested meal, none at all was mentioned in the autopsy report. Vomit was also found in Jimi’s lungs at the autopsy – which would have been impossible if his lungs had been full of pints of wine (which was all pumped out according to Bannister and his conspiracy theorist fans). Lungs that had been flooded with wine would have left a trace, a residue. None was found at the autopsy.
All of this shows that the account of Dr. Bannister is pure invention (or the memory of a different case). If we follow Bannisters account more closely, that wine suctioning was done on another person entirely. Read on.
Bannister said that he had a vivid memory of the case. He told two newspapers that the body he watched being worked on was “very long” and that “He was about 10 inches (25.4 centimetres) longer than the trolley”! Hospital trolleys are 6’6″ in length in order to take a fully grown adult, so if the man’s feet were sticking out about 10″ off the end, that would mean a man over 7 feet tall. Jimi was only 5’10” tall! Further proof that Bannister’s account has nothing whatsoever to do with Jimi Hendrix.
How to explain these lies (or memories of a different case)? It transpired that Bannister was on trial for fraud when he came forward with his ludicrous comments in the 1990s! At the conclusion of the trial, he was convicted and struck-off the register as doctor. So the whole nonsense looks like an attention-grabbing exercise. More about that further down.
Dr. Teare (a Pathologist of The Department of Forensic Medicine at St. George’s Hospital, Westminster) performed the Post Mortem analysis of Jimi’s body. In the report he states that the cause of death was “inhalation of vomit” and not drowning. Medical authorities understand the difference (unlike the conspiracy theorists). Dr. Teare said of his autopsy at the inquest: “…he had vomit in his air passages.”
The Coroner’s summing up
From Gavin B. Thuston’s typed report: “The cause of death was clearly inhalation of vomit due to barbiturate intoxication.”
The 2016 autopsy review brought further proof – no murder and no wine in Jimi’s lungs
I’ll put this up now to save you a lot of time dear reader. First of all, back in October 1970, the inquest was told that Jimi passed away in the ambulance on the way to the hospital – so this is an established fact. Then in the 90s, during a Scotland Yard reinvestigation into Jimi’s death, pathologist Dr. Rufus Crompton went over the original Post-Mortem report about the stomach contents 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 seven to eight hours earlier as the conspiracy theorist likes to think).
For a second opinion, the police took steps to contact another eminent pathologist and he also confirmed the originally stated time of death.
Then, in 2016, 46 years after Jimi’s passing, Prof. Robert Donald Teare’s original 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).
Dr. Hunter’s detailed report was presented on the ReelzTV documentary titled “Autopsy – The Last Hours Of Jimi Hendrix”. 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. Despite the rather tacky, prime-time presentation (and some factual errors about Jimi regarding the events of his last few days in London), the documentary finally provides the irrefutable proof that Jimi Hendrix didn’t drown in wine.
Relating to the conspiracy fantasy 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”. This means that the relatively short time of such struggling/drowning is long enough for the fine membranes of the mouth, the nasal cavity, the stomach and the lungs to absorb alcohol in great quantities. Also, if Jimi had lain on the bed for 6 hours with pints of wine inside his lungs and stomach (as the conspiracy theorist claims), alcohol would have seeped through the membranes by natural diffusion (osmosis) into the blood. In his typed report, Prof. Teare had stated “Analysis for ethanol [alcohol] failed to reveal more than 5 mg%.”*. Dr. Hunter points out that that low level is not compatible with drowning in wine.
* The “5 mg%” mention was referred to simply because it was the minimum level of intoxication for a drink/driving offense.
Dr. Teare had also stated that Jimi had “100 mg per 100 ml of alcohol in his blood at the time he took the pills.” That alcohol was fully digested during the hours leading up to Jimi’s death in the ambulance and was found in Jimi’s urine at the autopsy (none left in the blood).
At the inquest, Dr. Teare had been more specific: “100 mil. % alcohol in urine but none in his blood”. The PROOF that Jimi didn’t drown in wine.
As said earlier, there wasn’t a trace of wine in the fluids that were found in Jimi’s lungs and stomach during Professeur Teare’s original autopsy in September 1970, only vomit.
Dr. Hunter also states that if Jimi forcibly drowned in wine, there would be visible signs of struggle/injury, but there were none at all 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…”.
The real cause of death – sleeping pills and a “black bomber”
Dr. Hunter says that Jimi’s heart dilation could 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 Durophet (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 Dannemann’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 the 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 in the 90s: “There is no villain” (8).
Water-boarding? Utter nonsense.
It’s very 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, drawn-out torture technique and would have left a very obvious criminal footprint – blatant incriminating evidence at the crime scene. No supposed “hit-men” would ever adopt such a messy, easily detectable technique to murder someone. Water-boarding would have left the bed soaked in red wine and we know that when the police visited the flat on the afternoon of the 18th, they found the place to be clean and they even took bedsheets for analysis, so they were obviously soiled. Obviously there was no trace of wine all over the place.
If anyone had wanted Jimi killed, 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 aquited luckily)!
What the conspiracy theorist doesn’t understand is that if the intention had been to murder Jimi at the hotel, the murderers would have expected the body to be discovered there and that the police would be summoned. Their water-boarding murder would have been discovered! They couldn’t possibly have imagined that Jimi would be rushed into Casualty at a random hospital for urgent resuscitation!
So the conspiracy theorist idea that the medical staff at St. Mary Abbott’s and the police were already giving false accounts to the press (as part of a “cover-up”) on the very afternoon that Jimi died is utterly ludicrous.
Whatever, all this “drowning in wine” is nonsense because we have the forensic proof that Jimi didn’t drown in wine at all. As stated above, no wine was seen or detected in Jimi’s body except a little in his urine. What does the conspiracy theorist think? That Bannister flushed Jimi out, then slipped some vomit back inside Jimi? Game over. No wine, no drowning, no murder. Case closed (but I’ll carry on).
Jimi’s manager didn’t have a life insurance policy on Hendrix
Another popular myth. It was Warner Brothers who had drawn up a policy for Jimi (just as they did for all top artists signed to their label) and they would have been the beneficiaries, not Jeffery or anybody else. We have it from good authority (Bob Levine) that Jefferey had tried to get Jimi to sign another life insurance policy but Jimi confirmed that he didn’t sign it (because at the time, he was trying to reduce his ties with his manager).
Jimi’s manager wasn’t an ex-MI5/MI6 special agent
Another fantasy served up for the gullible is that Mike Jeffery was a high-ranking British secret service agent, a spy during his army days. During his 60s/70s music business career, Jeffery was known for his dodgy methods, as being a scheming, ruthless businessman and skilled money-maker. He liked to use methods of intimidation and would brag that he used to be an MI6 operative. The conspiracy theorist prefers to simply trust in Mike Jeffery’s word (of all people). 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! Even Jimi attained the higher rank of Private First Class! Jeffery was in fact the Royal Army Education Corps, which was part of the Intelligence Corps. Research has also revealed that while in service, he spent his time on making money schemes such as re-selling newspapers to other servicemen and was even caught out.
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 Jeffery’s machiavellic manipulations, driven to tour until he dropped, worked to death etc. All utter rubbish as it turns out.
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) and a dense period in early 1968 (USA promotion), all of which Jimi loved according to his manager Chas Chandler.
After that climb to the top, Jimi toured far less and he made sure that tour gigs were grouped around weekends in order to leave himself time to chill and create during the week. After the last Experience gig in June ’69, Jimi took 10 months (!) off touring and returned in April ’70 for a well-planned (weekends) tour of the States before yet another month without touring, which included a 10-day holiday on the island of Maui! Billy Cox said in a 2022 interview that Jeffery had even made plans for Jimi and the band to spend the month of July on Maui for “R&R”! As said, Jimi only spent 10 days there.
When a short tour of Europe came up in September 1970 (only about 10 gigs planned), Jimi was in poor mental shape to cope with it, thanks to his reckless, drug and alcohol crazed lifestyle – however, as pointed out, it wasn’t as if he had been on a grueling tour schedule prior to that (not since 1968 in fact). While in Europe for that tour, Jimi ordered is road manager Gerry Stickells to organise further tour dates. Also, when Billy Cox fell ill (nervous breakdown), Jeffery proposed to fly the band and crew to Spain for a rest, while they discussed the recruitment of a new bassist and the reconfiguration of the cancelled dates.
So it is clear hat Jimi was hardly the touring slave that he has become pictured as.
The web of lies and twisted motivations
Over the decades, so many Hendrix biographers have unfortunately been misled by inaccurate information relating to Jimi’s tragic death. So people merely trusted the books, trusted Bannister. As I will detail below, all the false information stems specifically from the highly suspect accounts of the Dee Mitchell piloted interviews (her fake maiden name was Diana Bonham-Carter), ex-Dr. Bannister’s ludicrous account and roadie Tappy Wright’s (self-confessed) lies.
To see things more clearly, it is important to look at the sequence of events in detail, to give a better picture of Jimi’s irresponsible and reckless lifestyle and what actually happened on September 17th and 18th 1970.
THE CHAIN OF EVENTS
Monika Dannemann who was with Jimi when he fell into a coma at her rented London flat at The Samarkand Hotel.
Over the years, she spread ridiculous confusion about what actually happened on September 18th 1970,
either through shame or in an effort to shift responsibility towards Jimi.
So there are the essential facts, to get a clearer picture of what happened.
Summer 1970 – Jimi returns to Europe
Jerry Hopkins wrote in his book “Hit & Run – The Jimi Hendrix Story”: “Cocaine or amphetamines started the day, barbiturates or heavy downers like heroin or Quaaludes ended the day, and in between came the recreational drugs: beer and wine and Scotch, LSD, pot, hash, peyote, soma, mushrooms, mescaline, and speedballs made of smack and coke.”
Buddy Miles in the same book: “In those days [1969/1970] he was out there. He just didn’t care… Jimi was into acid heavily at that time, almost every day. Grass, hash, coke, booze, everything. He was a glutton. I hate to say that, but you have to be truthful.”
That gives some idea of where Jimi’s head was through in 1969/1970.
Working on his fourth studio album (two years after he’d worked on Electric Ladyland), Jimi was finally making progress by the summer of 1970. However, because of all the problems with the Ed Chalpin case, the lack of touring from mid 1969 to spring 1970, his overspending and the escalating costs of the construction of Electric Lady Studios, the Hendrix organisation was very short of money. So to bring in more funds, a short tour of Europe was organised. There was no other way to bring in funds because Jimi’s fourth album was still being worked on.
The evening before Jimi left for the Europe, he attended the launch party for Electric Lady Studios. He was up all night drinking and smoking and didn’t get any sleep at all. Road manager Eric Barrett flew to London with Jimi and he said that they were still drunk when they arrived at Heathrow Airport. He also got no sleep that first night in London. (12)
Robbie Krieger says in his autobiography that he was next to Jimi on the plane to London for the Isle of Wight festival 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 Jimi wasn’t talking about marijuana according to Krieger).
As soon as Jimi arrived in London, Kathy Etchingham got a panicked call from Angie Burdon, telling her that Jimi had gone mad. Angie recounted (to Kathy Etchingham) that she and another girl (who?) had been having fun with Jimi who suddenly snapped. He violently banged the girls heads together and smashed up the hotel suite then 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 a hot day at the time). Kathy recounted that Jimi complained of having a bad cold and that he looked very ill with a cold fever. In 1996, she embellished that a little, telling Musician magazine “He was suffering from a reactive depression from all the problems he had.” In her book, Kathy said: “…it is obvious he was suffering some kind of withdrawal symptoms…” which might well have been from heroin. In his book Charles C. Cross mentions that Jimi had kicked his heroin habit during his 10-day holiday in Hawaii (mid August 1970) because he kept his drug-pushing girlfriend Devon Wilson away. Had he really managed to kick the habit?
Jimi’s Post Mortem report gave clues about Jimi’s condition. It revealed that he had a dilated right side of the heart so from what the autopsy says and the fact that Jimi complained of having an unshakable “cold” in the last fortnight of his life.
Doctor Michael D. Hunter (in his 2016 autopsy review) ruled out rheumatic fever but said “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 well have been suffering from the flu.
To combat the infection, the jet-lag, the lack of sleep, Jimi had three nights ahead of him to get some rest before the Isle Of Wight gig but instead, thrilled to back in good old London where his fame and fortune had begun, he went into full-on party mode.
In the many interviews with Jimi over the following few days he’d tell one interviewer that he was excited about the many projects that he had on the boiler (his new studio, forming a bigger band, writing a symphony, playing with Gil Evans and Roland Kirk,…) then the next day he’d say to another interviewer “…I feel that I have nothing more to give musically.” Clearly opposite states of mind at the same time. Linda Keith said (in the 2023 Mojo Hendrix special) that she met Jimi the night before he flew to the Isle Of Wight and that he seemed depressed and wanted to move into a new phase of his career. So it’s evident that Jimi was hungry for change.
The Isle Of Wight Festival and following short tour
On the evening of August 30th, 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 “very out of it in somebody’s garden” near the festival site, according to McTell (7). Before going on stage, Roy Carr of the N.M.E. said that Jimi “shared a catering-size bottle of vodka with friends and journalists” (7). Festival MC Jeff Dexter said “I went out to introduce Jimi, and he said ‘Hang on, I’m not ready’. It took him about 40 minutes to get himself together. He was in a state.” The festival DJ and co-MC Jeff Dexter said of Jimi’s condition “He seemed a bit out of it….a little confused, not in total good nick.” (15)
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 in his autobiography “…it was stupid that we didn’t have some kind of play before IOW. In actual fact we’d been playing quite well on the road [in the U.S.] but to go out cold was a mistake. We were rusty and it showed….whatever the reason was, it was just a lousy performance… I remember we were all really brought down by our performance.”.
Richie Havens met Jimi backstage and was shocked how ill he looked: “He looked like he’d been up for days.” Jimi told Havens about how stressed he was about his music business troubles.
Jimi came off stage at the Isle Of Wight at something like 4 a.m. Some eye witnesses said that Jimi collapsed when he came off stage. He headed for a hotel for some much needed rest, as he was due to play the same day in Stockholm! So did he go and get a good night’s sleep?… not exactly: Jimi’s chauffeur Derek Dyer went to the hotel room a few hours later to take Jimi to the airport and saw that there were two young girls (“…must have been about 16 or 17, I suppose…”) in his bed. (8).
The evening of that day, Jimi played in Tivoli Gardens, Stockholm and before taking the stage, he was seen to down a bottle of whisky like it was water (8). Noel: “You have to see the film made in Stockholm to believe it. I’d never seen Jimi looking so drunk on stage before.” (Noel was referring to the hand-held black and white video camera footage of parts of the gig). Another patchy performance ensued.
This was followed by a shoddy performance at Gothenburg. Chas Chandler attended that concert and found Jimi to be a shadow of his former self: “He was wrecked…it was really awful to watch…no discipline at all there.” (11)
It was after the Gothenburg gig that Cox went to his hotel room and was tempted to try LSD (2). Another account said that he’d drank some punch that had some LSD in the mix. This sent Billy into a spiral of paranoia. Jimi spent the night with one of his many girlfriends Birgitta Moberg, who took a photo of Jimi sleeping, which the ill-informed take to be a photo of Jimi dead.
The next night came the catastrophic Aarhus gig. When Jimi arrived at the Hotel before the gig, people noticed that he didn’t look well and he was trembling and sweating a lot. He took a handful of downers (Mandrax) to help him to sleep but instead, a stoned and rambling Jimi gave interviews to various journalists (check out the Valkhoff/Garuti 1970: Day By Day book to read the interviews). He told journalist Anne Bjorndal that he was thinking of cancelling the concert. He told another (Hasse Boe) that he hadn’t slept for three days (it’s perfectly clear that his exhaustion had nothing to do with fictional non-stop touring).
Gerry Stickells remarked how exhausted Jimi was, due to his flu, lack of sleep, drug taking, drinking and partying. He told the organisers that Jimi was too tired to play but they refused to accept it. Remember, this was only day three of the tour (after Jimi’s had had a month off touring and a 10-day holiday in Hawaii).
Jimi had to fulfil the contract that he’d committed to. Eye-witnesses said that before the show, Jimi swallowed a handful of sleeping pills (surely his own downers). He had to be helped onto the stage by the roadies. Then a totally wrecked Jimi abandoned the performance after just two songs. He was helped virtually bent-double back to his dressing room (2). Backstage, the concert manager said that Jimi collapsed in his arms and that he had that cold fever. Jimi asked the organisers if they had any cocaine – they had none). Then, instead of finally getting a good night’s sleep, he told his girlfriend of the moment (Kirsten Nefer) that he wanted to talk to her all night. Which they did.
Next up was a gig in Copenhagen, where against all odds, he put on fantastic performance – one of the best concerts of his career! Before the gig, Kirsten Nefer had taken Jimi home to meet her mother. He had a much needed nap and was given a good meal. This gave Jimi a boost and he played brilliantly at the evening concert. Mitch told Nefer that Jimi hadn’t played that well for years (5). However, before that show, Kirsten said that he’d had a panic attack, locking himself in the dressing room and it took some persuading to get him to go out and perform. Obviously, things were not right in Jimi’s head.
The following Berlin show was much weaker but his final concert at Fehmarn was an improvement but the occasion was marred by bad weather and trouble with aggressive Hells Angels. Billy’s condition had worsened and after the concert he was even hospitalised and given the strong sedative Thorazine. He was then flown back to the states and the rest of the tour had to be suspended while the Hendrix crew tried to find a replacement bass player. Noel Redding was called but unfortunately he failed to respond before it was too late. If contact with Noel had been established, the chain of events would have been entirely different. As it was, the tour ground to a halt, leaving further dates simply cancelled.
Back to London
Right after the Fehmarn Island concert (September 6th), Jimi and the crew flew back to London. He went back to the Londonderry Hotel but he was turned away because of the incident with the two girls nine days earlier, so he checked into the Cumberland Hotel instead (11). He didn’t sleep there however, preferring to stay at Debbie Tooney’s Fulham flat (an American friend that he’d met through a friend at the Speakeasy).
He spent a week flitting around town with 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 yet 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 Dannemann in January 1969 while in Dusseldorf. When he flew to England in March 1970 (to try and persuade Kathy Etchingham not to marry Ray Mayer) he called Monika, asking her to see him in London but she was ill and couldn’t make the trip. September 1970 and Jimi renewed contact with her.
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” but she 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 actually were engaged – which Kirsten firmly denied.
One of Jimi’s long-term American girlfriends, the possessive and dominating “super groupie” Devon Wilson, heard that Jimi was dating Nefer and was furious. She flew to London on the 12th (with Alan and Stella Douglas) and proceeded to phone Jimi, telling him off. Nefer was witness to this (11).
Journalist Sharon Lawrence was apparently quite 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 for a while! “His face was ashen and his brown eyes appeared exhausted and even frightened. Never had I seen him like this… 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 saying that Jimi looked “smacked out”. Burdon’s roadie Terry Slater said that Jimi looked disorientated. (11) . Burdon in his book “I Used To Be An Animal”: “He had his guitar with him and was wobbling too much to play.” They politely invited him to come back the next day.
Jimi talks to Chas
It’s said that on Wednesday the 16th of September, Jimi visited Chas Chandler at his Upper Berkeley Street flat (which they had shared for a while in the early London days). Or did he? In an interview with Record Mirror (26/09/1970) Chas said “Last time I saw Jimi was about three months ago, when he called round to my flat. But I spoke to him on the Wednesday before he died.” So perhaps Jimi only phoned Chas on the 16th. Monika is quoted in the book Electric Gypsy saying that Jimi had given Chas the phone number of his ‘secret’ address because he wanted to discuss the idea of Chas managing him (that would mean simply creative management, as before, and not business management, which was purely Jeffery’s domain).
Chas had told other journalists that the physical meeting with Jimi had happened in back in March (which was in fact when Jimi had been in London briefly).
In Chris Welch’s book, Chas is again quoted: “I never heard any more about him for three months until two days before he died. He asked me to produce for him again. He rang me again on the Thursday and we got to discussing the design for a cover.” So it definitely looks like they didn’t meet during that final week.
From that Record Mirror interview with Chas: “I’d been talking to his lawyer, who is also mine in America [Henry W. Steingarten], and there was talk about my producing him again. From what I hear, there is a lot of Hendrix material available, but it was just that he wasn’t too happy with the way some of it had worked out. That’s where the talks started.” 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. However, in the 90s, Chas said he never said those things to the press (about meeting with Jimi in March)! Hells bells.
Confirmation that Jimi had proposed to Monika?
In the afternoon (or evening according to Monika), they went to a party at Dick Fontaine’s house for Judy Wong’s birthday party. Wong confirmed that Jimi announced to her that he and Monika were going to get married (11).
Then Jimi went again to Ronnie Scott’s (with Monika) and jammed with Eric Burdon & War (the show was taped, eventually surfacing on bootlegs).
Daniel Secunda said that on that day he dined with Jimi, Alan Douglas and his wife Stella and Devon Wilson and that “Jimi and the girls were so smacked out they barely ate anything or said a word.” Jimi spent the night at Secunda’s flat, in bed with Devon and Stella (according to Secunda).
In her book and the many interviews, Monika Dannemann painted quite a rosy picture of Jimi’s last couple of days on planet Earth 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.
What follows of events on Thursday, September 17 right up to the fateful morning of the 18th.hecame
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 Jeffery’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.” (again, 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 Majorka.
In the afternoon of 17th, Monika grabbed her camera and took the 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 and producer who had been involved with setting up Track Records with Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp in 1966.
Then 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 in the Big Apple 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 and a couple of female friends 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 and state of mind.
In the late afternoon/early evening, Harvey was driving through London in his left-hand drive 1968 Mustang with a girl named Beth Riley in the front seat with him. At the traffic lights, the girl saw Jimi in Monika’s car and waved. Jimi waved back. According to Riley, Harvey recognised Monika as being an old school friend! He invited Monika and Jimi to his home for a drink but first they followed Jimi to the Cumberland Hotel where he dropped off his shopping, checked his messages and spoke to Mitch Mitchell on the phone. They then followed Harvey to his nearby home, where another girl joined them. 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. In an article in The Daily Telegraph in 2010, journalist Bryony Gordon said that the mother of an old friend of hers lived in Clark’s Mews at the time and she remembered having seen Jimi in the Mews on the 17th of September. She remembered this because she asked Harvey to move the big American car (a Ford Mustang that she mistook a “huge Cadillac” that she thought belonged to Jimi) which was blocking her exit. When Harvey emerged to move his Mustang, she saw Jimi drive off with a friend (Monika of course, driving her blue Opel GT Coupé). The woman (Eliza – surname unknown) said that this was at the moment that she was leaving to see a movie (“Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid”, showing on Oxford Street at the time), which would mean that this would have been early evening and not at 10:40 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.
Gerry Stickells said that he spoke on the phone to Jimi on this evening and found him in “…a great mood…he was to sign the contracts for his German tour in October the next day. We were also talking about doing four dates in the States around Thanksgiving. He said ‘OK, we’ll talk more about that tomorrow when you bring the contracts.” (6)
The Lyceum? Scotch of St. James?
I read somewhere (source needed) that Eric Clapton said he saw Jimi in a bar that evening but didn’t join him. Eric also told a BBC reporter that he’d seen him in another box at The Lyceum but as far as we know, Jimi didn’t go to the Lyceum that evening (or did he briefly pop in and out?). Perhaps Eric was confusing the sighting with a visit to the Scotch Of St. James because in June 2011, musician Meic Stevens stated that he was with Jimi at the Scotch and that Clapton was there too! Stevens recounted that Jimi was intrigued by what he was drinking, which was Louis St George Burgundy. 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’s another sign of Jimi’s reckless behaviour.
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 the party that 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, she 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 (who had been one of the girls that Jimi had aggressed a The Londonderry Hotel when he’d arrived in London) and several other people.
At the inquest Dannemann made no mention of this party. Those at the party indicated that Jimi came, hung out, ate some Chinese take-away food and appeared relaxed 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, got into the elevator and left. “That was around three in the morning by then.” according to Angie (and exactly as Monika had said to The Daily Sketch).
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 Jeffery 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 ridiculous hearsay can be discounted because it has been proven that Jimi died in the ambulance.
Monika said that after this party, she and Jimi drove round to visit Alvenia where she was staying at Pat Hartley and Dick Fontaine’s house on Elvaston Place (Alvenia confirmed this). After that they went for a drink in Soho before they dropped Alvenia off at Ronnie Scott’s (obviously to meet Eric who was doing a residency there with the group 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. (she’d also said that she picked Jimi up at Kameron’s flat “after 3 a.m.”) but if we follow Angie and Alvenia’s accounts, Jimi left the flat at around 3 a.m., then went to meet Alvenia, had drinks in a Soho bar then went by Ronnie Scott’s and then drove back to The Samarkand,… it would appear that the return to hotel 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 Jeffery, 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 simply that of a young, naive girl, jealously in love with Jimi.
Sleeping pills at The Samakand
Sleeping pills and amphetamine – a deadly mix
During the couple of weeks leading up to the accident at the Samarkand Hotel basement apartment, we have numerous accounts mentioning Jimi’s habit of taking sleeping pills/downers in an irresponsible way. When his girlfriend of the moment Kirsten Nefer met up with him before the disastrous Arhus performance, she found him at the hotel “…staggering, he was really out of it… Jimi talked and talked but it was all gibberish…. Jimi kept acting weird. He told me that he had taken some sleeping tablets that had made him confused and that he hadn’t slept for days.”
At the hotel after the Arhus performance, after collapsing then asking for cocaine backstage, Jimi again took sleeping pills at the hotel but didn’t attempt to sleep, telling Kirsten that they had to talk all night – “We talked until about seven in the morning. By that time the effect of the sleeping pills were beginning to wear off.” (6)
A few days later (around September 14th), Jimi took a taxi with Devon Wilson to Roger Daltrey and Heather Taylor house in the Berkshire countryside. Daltrey was out on tour with The Who in Europe but Heather’s friend Catherine James was present and she recounts in her book “Dandelion: Memoir Of A Free Spirit” that they all took LSD: “Jimi could barely stand and repeatedly asked ‘Do you have any Mandrax or some Valium?’ I had already given Jimi two Mandrax, but he had already forgotten he’d even taken them…. he finally passed out cold on the floor.”
Catherine goes on to say: “We’d seen Jimi pretty high in the past, but never like this…. Heather sighed ‘Oh God, what if he ODs here? Roger will kill me.”. (6)
In a 2022 interview with Romesh Ranganathan (for the latter’s light-hearted television “mis-investigation”) Roger Daltrey talks of how it was a thing, a trend back then to take downers like Mandrax or sleeping pills and that if you got past the sleep inducing effect, you would get a certain “high”. This was perhaps what Jimi was indulging in, along with the LSD, the cocaine, the weed,…but really, what exacerbated his condition was the fact that he was taking amphetamines and barbiturates – uppers and downers… on a day-to-day basis. A recipe for disaster.
In his autobiography “Lonely Boy” (Windmill Books 2016), Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols talks about spending hours and hours learning the guitar and how much amphetamines helped him with that task: “Some people call them black bombers, others call them black beauties, but either way, you’d better get plenty of Mandrax to take afterwards if you ever want to get to fucking sleep.” Exactly the path Jimi took on September 18th, which would lead to his death.
The final return to the Samarkand
So the detailed events above reveal that after flitting haphazardly 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 yet 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 visit to meet Alvenia Bridges, the drinks in Soho, the return to The Samarkand (at around 4 or 5 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 5 and 6 a.m. or even later, all of which in fact lines up with what Monika recounted about that morning.
The number of pills and when they were taken – a complete mystery
So much for Monika’s account that they’d had a tranquil night at the flat. Also, personally attacking and screaming at Jimi was hardly the behaviour of someone assigned to get Jimi to The Samarkand Hotel so that he would fall prey to hit-men (as the conspiracy fantasist will claim).
What actually happened on their return to the Samarkand is shrouded in mystery and not helped by the multitude of varying accounts from Monika:
1 – Jimi had tried the tablets BEFORE Sept 18th:
Guitarist (September 1995) – “That morning I secretly took a sleeping pill which is something I would never normally do”. Oh really Monika? The pills were prescribed to you!
In the same article: “I had hidden them in a cupboard but Jimi had already taken one a few days earlier when he couldn’t sleep so he knew the sleeping tablet’s effect. I secretly took one because if he knew I’d taken one he’d immediately take one too”.
In Electric Gypsy: “…these tablets were not very strong. He had tried them out before and he couldn’t sleep with them.”
In her own book: “A few days earlier he had taken one of my tablets and it had taken him an hour to fall asleep.”
2 – 18th: Jimi took the pills without her knowing
In The Final Days (P. 152), she tells Sharon Lawrence that she didn’t give Jimi the pills: “…he must have found them in the cupboard”
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.”
3 – 18th: Jimi took tablets on the 18th and she was aware of it at the time
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.
The Final Days (p 128) – “…he was wide awake and he was then saying he needed to have sleep, so he was thinking of taking sleeping pills…”
The Final Days (P. 156) – She told P. Weyell of the Coroner’s Office that at 7 a.m. “He took some tablets and went to bed”.
“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.” (1)
– A very revealing quote comes from Monika’s brother Herbert. She phoned him right after the tragic incident and told him that Jimi had taken a handful of pills because “…he wanted to sleep for a day and a half.”
4 – Monika gave Jimi the tablets:
– 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 Kathy’s book, Monika told Kathy, Mitch and Noel 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”!!!
5 – Monika also took a pill:
– The Daily Sketch, ten days after Jimi’s death: “I took a sleeping tablet about 7 a.m…”
– At the inquest: “I took a tablet at about 7 a.m.”
– In her own book: “I secretly took one sleeping tablet”
– Electric Gypsy “Monika says that she took a sleeping pill but never saw Jimi take any himself.”
– The Final Days (p 128) – “… I think it was six o’clock or a bit later before I took mine.”
Somewhere within all of Monika’s different accounts lies the truth.
Dr. Rufus Crompton and the number of pills…and “there is no villain”
During the 1993 re-investigation (triggered by the Mitchell/Etchingham research) pathologist Rufus Crompton was asked by detectives to examine the medical evidence. Here is what he told the BBC:
“We are going, to a large extent, on evidence from people which cannot be corroborated one way or the other. For instance, what he ate, what went on the previous evening, whether he went to bed a happy man or not, how many of these pills he took, when he took them,… these are all quite important facts in which we just have to believe what we’re told…My personal opinion is that there is no villain.”(8)
So after reviewing all the evidence, the Post Mortem Reports, Dr. Crompton found nothing suspicious about Jimi’s death at all.
Kathy informs us that Dr. Crompton said that the barbiturate reading in Jimi’s liver was so high that he couldn’t have survived (Dr. Michael D. Hunter later 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 Crompton’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.“
Jimi called his doctor in New York
There is yet another account, this time from Jimi’s friend Buzzy Linhart (who had played vibraphone on “Drifting”). 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 Linhart’s/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 “Tuinals” (which was the brand name he was familiar). Vesparax was in fact a combination of secobarbital/brallobarbital/hydroxyzine and Tuinals were composed of only secobarbital) – hence his erroneous assumption about the pills’ potency.
Linhart’s account sounds factual. If he’d wanted to add some spice or extra credibility to his book, he could have said that Jimi phoned him directly, excited about recording together or any old thing.
In a letter to Harry Shapiro (dated Feb. 28 1992) Dr. Rufus Crompton 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, he wouldn’t be drinking wine! Crompton was obviously being swayed by (the fraud) Dr. Bannister’s ridiculous story of the 7 foot tall man that he vividly remembered pumping wine out of. That stupid, invented story had already appeared at that stage. After that, Dr. Crompton was consulted in the 1994 re-investigation (triggered by Kathy Etchingham to help Noel) and was presented with all the medical evidence. He stated to the police that Dr. Bannister’s account made no sense (document further down).
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 told the police, the inquest and the press on many occasions) and the police found 1 pill near the bed, then that would leave only 5 pills 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 (she told Kathy Etchingham that she drove down Queensway to buy them!).
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 in her book (The Inner World Of Jimi Hendrix) “…I did have about forty five prescribed sleeping tablets, in packs of ten, in a large cupboard opposite the bed, they were left over from two operations I had recently undergone in Germany.”
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 his condition of 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?
Was it an innocent mistake?
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!
As stated above, Monika told Kathy Etchingham, Mitch and Noel 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”! Also, 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.
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 own powerful prescription tablets and this had 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 another recent ReelzTV documentary and in the documentary “Hendrix And The Spook”).
After their very public argument outside Phillip Harvey’s flat and the nagging at Pete Kameron’s flat and the further argument at the Samarkand, did Monika fear that Jimi would leave her for good? 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? Monika could quite possibly have witnessed Jimi’s high drug tolerance during their time together (back in 1969 and September 1970), and this could have led her to accept the dosage that Jimi took (either alone or given by her).
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.
Dannemann – the calculated killer?
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 Bridges and Eric Burdon. 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. 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”
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 Jeffery as the conspiracy theorist likes to imagine. Jimi could have fled her at any moment.
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 were the hospital staff!!So was Scotland Yard!!! So were MI6, the CIA and the Free Masons!!! Seriously nuts.
The call for help
According to Monika, she said she took a sleeping pill but woke up 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 the common practice in Germany is to call the doctor before calling an ambulance (in order to validate the necessity of emergency services).
Proof that Monika phoned for help well after 9 a.m.
Curiously, Noel’s mother said that 9:30 was around the time that she learnt of Jimi’s death, which simply doesn’t fit what is the actual timeline of events at all.
Alvenia wasn’t at Fontaine’s house but Judy gave Monika the phone number of the Russel Hotel, where she knew Alvenia had spent the night with Eric Burdon after the couple had left Ronnie Scott’s. When Monika finally got through to Alvenia, she asked her if she knew the name/number of Jimi’s London doctor. Alvenia didn’t know and has 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 – but to make things worse worse, Eric Burdon grabbed the phone and didn’t treat her seriously at all. Read on.
Eric Burdon rejects Monika’s call for medical assistance!
Monika calls 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 (1)). At that moment, they didn’t assume that Jimi would be dead very shortly. To them, he was just in some difficulty. 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 at The Samarkand
The ambulance arrives
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.
In the early 90s, the two ambulance attendants Reg Jones and John Suau were interviewed (by Dee Mitchell and Kathy Etchingham) and they said that they had the impression that Jimi was already dead at the hotel apartment (ambulance staff are not qualified to determine death). They also said that Dannemann wasn’t at the flat when they arrived (although one of them said, around the same time, that she in fact was!).
For the record, the following 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 ambulanceman John Suau! – see further down).
It must be pointed out that the ambulancemen interviews presented here were set up by Dee Mitchell, who Kathy Etchingham would soon expose as a libelous, stalking fraud (see her book “Gypsy Eyes”).
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 Etchingham’s 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 apartment 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. 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 Mitchell/Etchingham 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 an irrecuperable 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 but it could have been put on afterwards of course to clear traffic ahead – as Monika said in her book “The driver used the siren only once, when we encountered heavy traffic.”
John Suau (ambulance attendant)
The other ambulance attendant, John Suau, initially gave an initial 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.”
There is something which throws doubt on these quotes (which are from the Mitchell/Etchingham dossier). They mention masses of vomit (brown and black) all over Jimi and the bed. Where did that great quantity of regurgitated food come from? We know that Jimi only nibbled a few mouthfuls of Chinese food right before he left the gathering at Pete Kameron’s flat and that a half-digested meal (with traces of rice) was still in his stomach at death (Post-Mortem Report). So with so little food consumed during the evening/night and with some of it still in his gut and lungs at the hospital, the notion that Jimi vomited profusely all over the place appears ludicrous (unless he’d had another meal after the party – which doesn’t seem to be the case apart from one bite of a tuna fish sandwich according to Monika).
Suau would later refute the above accounts!
Hendrix researcher and ex. Police Superintendent Dennis Care interviewed Suau during his 1993 investigation into the circumstances of Jimi’s death. His report was submitted to Al Hendrix and to Monika Dannemann. His 50 page report remains unpublished but extracts appear in Caesar Glebbeek’s Univibes special “Until We Meet Again”):
“He was on the bed, lying on his back; there was vomit around his mouth, on his chest and some on the pillow cases – not masses of it but more than enough to see what had happened… The patient was still alive, just, but he was pretty far gone… The bladder and bowels had not voided then and neither did they in the ambulance on the journey to the hospital… There was no mess in the ambulance caused by our patient…”
Dennis Care showed John Suau what had been published about his presence 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 [Dee and Kathy]… The vast majority of that document* is untrue and does not reflect what I said at that [telephone] interview.”
* The Mitchell/Etchingham files, 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]
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 that that imply).
Suau 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” – “Unconscious” – Again, proof that Jimi wasn’t considered to be long-dead. Ambulances never transport dead bodies (unless they die in the ambulance – which as we know was the case with Jimi).
Note that Suau’s and Jones’s accounts make no mention of wine at all (which would have been all over the place if Jimi had been water-boarded). 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 the ridiculous “drowned in wine” is well and truly ruled out, even if one believes what Dee and Kathy put together.
ALSO – P.C. John Shaw visited the flat later, on the afternoon of the 18th and he stated at the inquest that there was nothing unusual in the flat and that everything was “smart and clean” – which it certainly wouldn’t have been if Jimi had been in a “pool of vomit” or had been waterboarded with wine!
Shaw even took the bed sheets away for analysis, which tells us that must have been stained with vomit (so the “clean-up” crew hadn’t changed he sheets evidently). There is also a quote from a housekeeper at the Samarkand by the name of Lydia Ranvaud: “Two pillow cases were thrown away on the instructions of Mr. Dan Hall but there was really no need to have done this, they merely required washing out…”(1)
Suau also stated 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 moneuver). Again, if Jimi had been long-dead, rigor mortis would have made it impossible to seat him in the chair! So Jimi was obviously still supple.
Note that Monika said that the ambulancemen told her that Jimi would be walking out of the hospital that afternoon (but then Monika said a lot of things).
So it evident that the paramedics found Jimi unconscious, in a coma and not dead.
P.C. Ian Smith’s unreliable accounts
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 ambulancemen were there, but Jimi was dead … There was really nothing they could do for him.” Smith disputed 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.” However, in a 1990 interview with the Bucks Advertiser, Smith remembers being greeted by Monika at The Samarkand!
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 what is in Tony Brown’s books (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! So nothing that P.C. Smith has said can be taken seriously.
What a ridiculous labyrinth of conflicting accounts this case is!
A passer-by sees Jimi alive in the ambulance?
On Facebook, an eye-witness account came from passer-by Michael Glass (who saw Jimi in the ambulance):
“I was there in London when Jimi died. I lived next door to where he was staying. I had just come from the market and was walking by and heard him struggling with strangling. I looked into the ambulance and saw Jimi. It was a major drag.”
Was Monika in the ambulance?
When interviewed by Dee Mitchell and Kathy Etchingham in the early 90s, it seemed that the ambulancemen 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 Dannemann 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.
John Suau told Dennis Care that what is in the books (Kathy Etchingham, Tony Brown etc.) is untrue and that Monika was at The Samarkand when they arrived and that she either travelled with them to the hospital or followed the ambulance (because he remembered a woman being there at the Admissions desk): “I also remember vaguely a woman at the Admissions Desk; she could only have known where we were taking the patient if she’d come with us or followed us.”
Also, when (the fraudulent) Dee Mitchell switched to researching to help Monika (instead of Kathy), she again contacted Suau. In a letter to Monika in 1995 she said: “…the problem is, he said different things all three times… The very first time I spoke to him [during the research with Kathy], he said no one else was in the flat but ‘the little girl’. And when I asked ‘who if anyone, had come in the ambulance with Jimi’, he said ‘I think the little girl did, the little blond girl, yes, she rode in the back of the ambulance.’ “
Over the years, she has been quoted saying that she was in the ambulance or that she “drove with them” (implying in her car) and this seems to be confirmed by 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. Also, in an interview on ABC Radio Hobart (Australia/North Tasmania), Bown said that when he saw Jimi being wheeled in on a stretcher: “His girlfriend was trotting up the hill behind him in her high-heels I remember and looking helpless”. Monika wasn’t tall but perhaps her high heels and long blond hair gave her a sleek look.
So obviously Monika either travelled in the ambulance or followed directly behind in her car. In her book, Monika says “From the hospital, Gerry Stickles, Eric Barrett and Alvenia Bridges took me back to the flat.” Which would obviously mean that she hadn’t followed the ambulance to the hospital in her car (or one of the guys drove her there in her car).
Interestingly in 1993, Dee Michell 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! This was after the ambulancemen’s accounts had appeared in Tony Brown’s book “A Visual Documentary” (1992) and before Kathy’s book appeared (1998). Dee said “When I asked ‘who’ if anyone had come in the ambulance with Jimi, he said ‘I think the little girl did, the little blond girl….yes, she rode in the back of the ambulance.” Was this Dee merely trying to get into Monika’s confidence (as she had previously done with Kathy?). The other quotes above would seem to confirm that Monika did in fact travel in the ambulance.
Was Jimi sat up in the ambulance?
Ambulanceman Reg Jones said that to get Jimi up the narrow 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 ambulancemen 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 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.”
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 ambulancemen had indeed made this fatal error! So this evidently wasn’t merely an invention by Monika.
Is there another clue from an ambulanceman who had teamed up with either Suau or Jones some time later? Charles Todd: “I worked in Fulham as an ambulanceman and often paired with an ‘old timer’, who had transported Jimi to hospital. He was conveyed unconscious, in a chair, with his head unsupported and apparently died from asphyxiation consequent upon vomiting.” (14) However, Todd doesn’t say that his colleague actually said this and he might simply have read read about it.
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 ambulanceman 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 ambulancemen were trying to cover themselves by recounting their stories about Jimi being already dead when they arrived at the Samarkand. These 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.
In January 1992, David Smith of the London Ambulance Service interviewed the two ambulancemen and concluded that on September 18, 1970, the two men had “acted in a proper and professional manner” and that nobody had travelled in the ambulance with them. In that case, Dannemann must have followed the ambulance in her car (because she was present at Casualty when Jimi was being wheeled in – witnessed by Dr. Brown).
All David Smith had to go on of course was what the two men told him. There was no third party or ambulance camera to confirm what the two men recounted! So it’s possible that Suau and Jones had made sure that their stories matched, to avoid any trouble.
HOWEVER, there is more to all this than meets the eye.
The initial Dee Mitchell/Kathy Etchingham accounts published in various magazines and books have been taken as gospel but 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? Read on
“Dee” Mitchell – not what she seemed
In her fascinating book “Through Gypsy Eyes” (1998), Kathy Etchingham recounts how the recruitment of Mitch Mitchell’s wife Dee for 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 him to defend himself from Monika’s attack.
Kathy had initially met Dee at Mitch’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 managed to track down Reginald Jones and fixed up a meeting with Kathy and herself. She also fixed up a phone interview with the other ambulanceman John Suau. We must remember that Dee had been aware that Kathy’s specific intention was to disprove Monika’s accounts about what had happened at the Samarkand, in order to help poor Noel.
When their research was finished and the interviews had been published (in the fanzines Straight Ahead #43 and Voodoo Child #27, then in Tony Brown’s books), the two women had little contact with 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 had started spreading rumours that Kathy and her doctor husband were dealing drugs and even abusing children! Dee even claimed that Hendrix researcher Tony Brown could confirm this!
Kathy and her husband were of course outraged and alerted the police, who promptly went and told Dee that if she didn’t stop this stalking and aggressive harassment, she would face arrest.
The police discovered that “Dee” was in fact hiding her real identity. Dee had told Kathy that she was English and that her maiden name was Diana Bonham-Carter (the famous family of aristocrats) but Kathy discovered that she was in fact American and her real name was Dolores Cullen! Then Kathy discovered that Cullen had a long history of stalking and aggressing people that were associated with the 60s music scene! You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Then, incredibly, perhaps as a perverted revenge tactic against Kathy, Dee began to groom Monika Dannemann into her confidence and began feeding her with false and damaging information about Kathy! Monika put some of this in her book and as a result was taken to court by Kathy (who won). Monika’s world crumbled around her and this led to her suicide.
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 saying that she had described Mitch as a drunk and a drug addict. She then put it around that it was Kathy who was framing Noel’s girlfriend!
Kathy decided to dig deeper and contacted a record producer who knew Cullen and he described her as “The world’s biggest liar”. The more Kathy investigated, the more horror stories she found about Delores Cullen a.k.a. Diana Bonham-Carter a.k.a. “Dee” Mitchell – the very person who was at the origin of the initial ambulancemen’s accounts, which as I have shown, do not correspond at all with the confirmed medical evidence.
Full details of this outrageous story in Kathy’s book.
The “Dee” Mitchell/Kathy Etchingham research – tainted?
So obviously Kathy’s research partner was anything but trustworthy. One might suspect that in order win Kathy’s confidence, the devious Dee pre-briefed ambulanceman Jones before the meeting with Kathy in order to fulfil the mission which was 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 him 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! I prefer to accept the account as noted by ex-Police Superintendent Dennis Care rather than suspect accounts which had been set up by Dee Mitchell.
Alarm bells rang out to Kathy about her research partner but unfortunately she didn’t doubt the reliability of what she heard from the ambulancemen. Kathy teamed up with Hendrix researcher Michael Fairchild to get the story out (initially in Steve Roby’s “Straight Ahead” Hendrix fanzine) but he would soon discover that the research had been rejected as “untrue” by one of the John Suau! On his website (Rock Prophecy) Fairchild 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,…”. Source.
Perfectly correct Mr. Fairchild – just as the hospital had told the press on the day and just as the inquest had been informed. We also now know that the delay was caused by Eric Burdon, who had told Monika to stop panicking and give Jimi coffee etc (see further down).
So unfortunately for the poor conspiracy theorist, even the much published ambulancemen’s accounts aren’t reliable. Other quotes by them reveal that Jimi wasn’t dead when they found him at the Samarkand – which makes perfect sense in relation to the urgent procedures that were carried out at the hospital.
When Kathy presented all her findings (including the ambulancemen’s accounts gathered with Dee) to the authorities, they were unconvinced. See The 1993 Police Investigation further down this page.
Alvenia Bridges arrives at the Samarkand
In his autobiography and on film, Burdon says that Alvenia quickly went alone 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 Alvenia 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) and it fits the timeline in relation to what she said about putting her shoes on while still on the phone with Monika just before she left to head for The Samarkand.
On arrival Alvenia says that she asked the taxi driver to wait, while she went down to the basement flat. Finding nobody there, she asked the taxi driver where the nearest hospital was. He told her that it was St. Mary Abbotts, so off they sped the hospital. When she got there, she found a distraught Monika sitting in the Casualty ward, waiting for news of Jimi. Monika told her that she had checked 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!).
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 Jimi’s road manager Gerry Stickells first got the alert (from Terry Slater 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 is quoted in the September 19th issue of The New York Post saying:
“The next morning somebody woke me up. They didn’t say he was dead, so I rushed to the hospital. That’s where I found out”.
In a 90s interview with Harry Shapiro, Stickells said was told at 8 or 9 a.m. that Jimi was already dead. Memory problems Gerry? As the inquest was told, Jimi died in the ambulance. Obviously, what he said the day after Jimi died was the truth. By the 90s his memory was hazy.
So like with everyone else involved in this story, we have varying versions of what happened and when. The ambulancemen, the doctors, Dannemann, Burdon, the road crew, Mitch (see further down),… 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 or 7 hour old corpses, which would be stiff with rigor mortis and blotched with lividity. Jimi obviously didn’t exhibit these signs because his heartbeat and respiration had only just stopped in the ambulance. This simple fact eliminates the fabricated stories/memory problems of all concerned and of course all the murder theory nonsense.
What a mess this whole thing is. Now it’s time to look at what happened at the hospital to discover exactly in what condition Jimi was when he arrived there.
Jimi is admitted to the Casualty and the Resuscitation/Emergencies Room
Jimi was brought to St. May Abbott’s Hospital at 11.45 a.m. on September 18 1970.
> John Suau (ambulanceman) to researcher Dennis Care: “As the ambulance pulled into the hospital, the patient sighed and stopped breathing. At this stage, the ambulance had pulled into the ambulance bay. The ambulance was met by a nurse or doctor to whom I said ‘He’s gone’ “
This mention of something serious happening on arrival corresponds with what Monika said: “Just as we entered the entrance to the hospital, the ambulancemen started to move fast and put an oxygen mask on Jimi, so I knew there was something wrong there.” (2)
> Walter Pryce (Accident & Emergencies Admissions Officer): “The ambulance turned into the hospital, the two ambulancemen jumped out and 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, “Two doctors went out there, tried to revive him but couldn’t. I heard them say later that he had died in the ambulance.” (confirmed to the press and at the inquest).
Pryce also said ” They took him straight down to the mortuary. He never left the ambulance. That’s definite.” (2) 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 Emergencies room of the Casualty ward.
> Dr. Robert Brown interviewed by journalist/filmaker Aidan Prewett:
“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 “a few steps” and had the impression that Jimi had been dead “for a while”. When asked what the signs of somebody who has been dead for many hours are he says that those signs “…didn’t apply to him”. So this again proves that Jimi hadn’t been dead for 4, 6 or 8 hours at all. Brown goes on to say “…because he was my patient at the time”. Whaaat? A young doctor, fresh out of medical school, walks alongside a hospital trolley for 5 seconds and claims that Jimi was “his patient at the time”?
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.” What could he do in 5 seconds as the trolly rushed passed him? What utter nonsense. It certainly seems that Mr. Politician was greatly exaggerating things in order to add juice to his autobiography. At least his statement that Jimi was rushed to the resuscitation room fits the facts (confirmed by Dr. Seifert below).
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”. Obviously Jimi wasn’t dead at the Samarkand.
However, in Tony Brown’s book “The Final Days” it says 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 again 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…”
A British 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” – here is the video of the journalist)
David Tune – The Daily Mail, 19th September 1970: “Pop star Jimi Hendrix died in an ambulance yesterday on the way to the hospital” – clipping
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”.
ABC News (18th September 1970) – “The acid rock musician died today in a London hospital.”
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” – clipping
Walter Price (St. Mary Abbotts admissions officer) – “I heard them [the two doctors] say later that he had died in the ambulance.”
A sense of URGENCY!
Even with their slight differences, the above 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.
THE TRIAGE OF HOSPITAL ARRIVALS
Doctors, nurses, Casualty Officers are highly trained members of hospital staff (unlike ambulance crew and police constables), they are experts in the triage of arrivals.
The 3 main triage categories, based on the Emergency Severity Index are:
1. Immediate – Immediate threat to life and major illnesses or injuries needing prompt attention.
2. Priority – Conditions requiring urgent treatment with no immediate threat to life, limb or function.
3. Standard – Minor Illnesses or conditions
On arrival, Jimi was classed as “Immediate” and was thus rushed to the Resucitation Room. The personel that handle admissions can easily see signs of rigor mortis or livor mortis (dependant lividity) which reveal that a person has been dead for longer than 30 to 60 minutes. Lividity can show up in as little as 15 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 visible in which case he would have been sent directly to the morgue and not rushed to the Resuscitation Room.
Dr. Seifert – the resuscitation attempt
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 interview: “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.”
Dr. Seifert contradicts himself
Then in a filmed interview in 2010, Dr. Seifert implied that Jimi was still alive when he arrived at the hospital – which is why they tried to save him!
“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.”
So to get to the bottom of this, I contacted top Hendrix researcher Caesar Glebbeek to get some clarity. Caesar had already been on it and had contacted Dr. Seifert in 2010 demandeding an explanation for his conflicting accounts. For the first time ever, anywhere (many thanks to Caesar), here is their exchange:
Caesar Glebbeek asks Dr. Seifert to clarify
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.” – BBC “Wink Of An Eye” Radio documentary.
– “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.”
It’s interesting to note also that Dr.Seifert said “I immediately tried to help with the resuscitation.” This tells us that when Seifert arrived at the Emergencies Room, Jimi was already receiving urgent treatment. Again, this was obviously not a 7-hour old corpse which would have had displayed all the signs of rigor/livor mortis. Jimi was obviously at that delicate, desperate stage of death.
Dr. Rufus Crompton
When police detectives asked pathologist Dr. Rufus Crompton to go through the medical evidence during their 1993 re-investigation into the case (triggered by Kathy Etchingham’s dossier, he was of the opinion that Jimi couldn’t have been breathing by the time he reached hospital because the autopsy revealed vomit in the form of “free fluid” in one of his lungs. However, Dr. Michael Hunter pointed out (in his 2016 assessment of the autopsy) that any vomit/gastric juices could have been displaced from the stomach to the lungs during the displacement of the body between The Samarkand Hotel and the arrival at Casualty (particularly during the sitting of Jimi in a special chair to ascend the basement flat steps for example).
It has been stated of course that the barbiturate dose had heavily sedated Jimi, inhibiting his gag reflex. This would explain the fact that Jimi was in serious trouble in the ambulance and gave his last gasp on arrival. Dr. Seifert’s reference to “some breathing going on” must have been an indication of a slight responce to the resuscitation proceedures (perhaps what led to the confusion detailed below – “…they thought they had saved him”?).
So because we know that 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 is never performed on 4 to 6 hour old dead bodies).
Did Dr. Seifert momentarily revive Jimi?
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: “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.”
Dr. Seifert denied this in his initial statements: “No nurse went out to say we’d revived him, because we didn’t — that just never happened.” However, the other interview he mentions “breathing going on”, so perhaps a brief moment Jimi responded to the CPR and this was witnessed by a nurse who, without Seifert knowing, took it upon herself to inform Alvenia and calm the hysterical Monika.
One must also remember that some press reporters had been told by a hospital spokesperson that Jimi was alive when admitted and died afterwards (see top of page). Was this also in reference to a moment when it seemed that Jimi was responding to resuscitation?
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 (which would mean that Monika hadn’t followed the ambulance in her car but had travelled in it. Monika would return to The Samarkand apartment later in the day to meet the police there.
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. See below.
Dr. Bannistein prepares to try and bring a long-dead corpse back to life (a fantasy)
The Bannister farce
The 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, Bannister was being taken to the criminal courts for professional misconduct and fraud. He must have decided (after all those years!) to try and get some 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.
It is so silly and tragic how Bannister’s nonsensical accounts have become so popular, so quoted, when all the other accounts and recorded facts reveal that what he said is utter nonsense. As we have seen, the ambulancemen’s accounts, the admissions officer’s account, Dr. Seifert’s account, the autopsy, the inquest, Dr. Michael D. Hunter’s 2016 autopsy review (proving that Jimi can’t have drowned in wine),… all stack up and make the opportunist Bannister look like a fool.
All this came about, Bannister says, because 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 in the ambulance as we have seen above). This accusation didn’t help Bannister’s case at all, so he decided to go public, 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 an entirely different case, or making the whole thing up without doing enough research about how tall Jimi was!
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.
Pathologists can’t make sense of Bannister’s statements
Pathologist Dr. Rufus Crompton was consulted in the 1994 re-investigation (that was initiated by Kathy Etchingham) and he was presented with all the medical evidence. He stated to the police that Dr. Bannister’s account made no sense.
Also, in the recent light-hearted BBC documentary “The Misinvestigations of Romesh Ranganathan”, Donald Teare’s autopsy report (and Bannister’s accounts) were presented to forensic pathologist Professor Jason Payne-James, who makes a mockery of Bannister’s wine story and saying that his story is “difficult to believe” and he scoffs at his statements concerning enormous quantities of wine extracted from Hendrix. Prof. Payne-James goes on to say …“the toxicological findings, the chest findings, all provided a very clear and unambiguous picture of what happened.“, concluding that Jimi’s death was simply due to his consumption of drugs and alcohol (Prof. Payne-James was referring to Dr. Teare’s autopsy statement:“100 mg per 100 ml of alcohol in his blood at the time he took the pills.”).
Bannister was quoted in the Times saying : “Hendrix had been dead for hours rather than minutes when he was admitted to the hospital.” But then another interview he totally contradicted himself saying “I suspect that he had been dead for quite some time,… if not at home then on the way to the hospital,…”. So he had obviously got all muddled up while inventing his little fantasy. At least he got something right in that last comment!
So unfortunately for the conspiracy theorist, the murder theory comes crashing down for three very simple reasons:
1 – Drowning in wine leaves great quantities of alcohol… in the blood
As detailed at the top of this page, the 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 inquest statement by Dr. Teare, the amount of alcohol Jimi’s blood “none”.
2 – Bannister said that great quantities of wine were pumped out of the Jimi’s stomach and lungs and yet:
A half-digested meal was found in Jimi’s stomach at the autopsy and fluid vomit (“free fluid”) was found in his lungs. Impossible if all fluids were supposed to have been suctioned out.
3 – Bannister said that a man over 7 foot tall was on the trolley
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 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 just under 5’10” tall (as stated on his army medical papers “69 and a 1/2 inches” ).
“Jimi wasn’t tall, but when posed with us flanking him, he photographed larger than life” – Noel Redding in his book “Are You Experienced”.
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.
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 desperate 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!).
Pints of wine held back…by vomit? – The laughable conspiracy theorist’s suggestion
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” (admittedly these accounts are from the rather unreliable Mitchell/Etchingham interviews).
The conspiracy theorist likes to say that the “plug” of vomit in Jimi’s trachea held back the pints of wine in the lungs. How could water-boarding leave the trachea blocked up with dry vomit, holding back pints of wine and a partially digested meal in the stomach! Hilarious nonsense. As if Jimi could have pints of wine inside him and have a dry vomit plug in his trachea!
It gets better: Bannister said: “[Hendrix] did not have an obstruction of the airways.”! …and even better, totally contradicting himself in another account, Bannister says: “The medical staff used an 18 inch metal sucker to try and clear Hendrix’s airway…but it would just fill up with red wine from his stomach”.
Ah, so the red wine was in Jimi’s stomach now? When one informs the conspiracy theorist why Dr. Seifert and Dr. Teare (autopsy) didn’t detect any presence of wine in Jimi, the reply is that Bannister had pumped it all out! The conspiracy theorist doesn’t realise that any food, vomit/fluids remaining in the stomach, swilling around with pints of wine, would have been flushed out too! The FACT that the remains of “a medium sized meal” (in semi-liquid form – chyme – which when expelled is called…vomit) 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! The conspiracy theorist prefers to believe in an impossibility to keep a ludicrous murder fantasy alive.
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). This information would have turned up at the official inquest. 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 – the “free fluid” found in Jimi’s lung (which wasn’t found to be wine).
So what does the conspiracy theorists think? That Bannister gave Jimi’s lungs a good rinse after having pumped out the wine? Then put vomit back in? Hilarious.
As stated by Dr. Teare at the inquest (and confirmed in the 2016 autopsy analysis by pathologist Dr. Hunter), the fact remains that amount of alcohol in Jimi’s blood was “none” – proof that he didn’t drown in wine. Any alcohol that had been drunk that night had been slowly digested up to midday of the 18th and showed up in the analysis of Jimi’s urine at the autopsy).
Wine all over the 7-foot man. Jimi too?
Bannister said that “There was red wine all over him” and that his hair was soaked in it. He was of course referring to the case of the 7-foot tall patient/body.
In the Post Mortem report, Dr. Teare had made no mention whatsoever of wine on Jim’s body, in his hair, in his stomach or in his lungs. Remember also that the ambulance crew made no reference to wine all over Jimi or all over the bed – only vomit (though that was only in their unreliable accounts to Mitchell/Etchingham).
The police took away the bedsheets on September 18th and obviously found nothing suspicious, no soaked-in wine.
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.”. Yet in an unreleased/unheard filmed interview by film-maker David Kramer (which remains hearsay until we can see or hear said interview), Seifert apparently mentions that Jimi did smell of wine! Can we hear the interview please David?
Also, when Rufus Crompton looked through the evidence (which included at that stage Bannister’s nonsensical account), he mentioned: “…he smelled of wine and it was on his face and hair, his blood alcohol was low.”
Of course the conspiracy theorist champions these statements as being proof of waterboarding (queue laughter).
So where can this supposed wine on Jimi have come from? Well, we have a clue.
When Sharon Lawrence pushed Monika for more information about what went on at The Samarkand, she confessed to Sharon that as Jimi lay there in a coma with vomit on him, she poured some wine on him, in an effort to flush it off because “…it was messy”! She had probably also been following the advice that Eric Burdon had given her on the phone: “…splash some water in his face”.... and the nearest thing to hand was wine! 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. So there is the explanation for the spilled wine!
The scarf of the 7 foot man?
Another 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 Dannemann) 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 by the conspiracy theorist as being proof that Bannister worked on Jimi that day, pumping wine out of him.
HOWEVER, as usual, the scarf theory is laughably wrong because the Samarkand garden photo had been made available to press agencies and published in numerous publications since the early 70s.
Here are some examples from my personal archives.
As said above, 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, press cuttings…
So did the desperate Bannister (in court for fraud at the time) attempt to lend credibility to his story by 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? Hilarious.
It is possible of course that the 7 foot man that Bannister actually worked on (clearly not Hendrix) was actually wearing a scarf! Scarves were of course very fashionable, 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 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 as we know, 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! You couldn’t make this stuff up – but yes, these idiots do, imagining something like the assassination of a head of state!
All this nonsense can only leave two possibilities 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 (which 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.
The conviction of Bannister
Bannister was tried and de-registered in 1992 in New South Wales on multiple 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”.
The so-called “clean-up” at The Samarkand – when and which one?
Monika 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 fabled cleaning up of the Samarkand appartment.
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). She arrived at the flat (with the front door open), finding that the ambulance and Monika had already departed – so this was at about 11:40. Burdon’s road manager Terry Slater also sped round there (alone apparently), grabbed some incriminating drugs and buried them in the Samarkand Hotel gardens.
Scenario 1 – Clean-up before the ambulance came?
The famous 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 arrived. We now know this wasn’t the case because we know that Jimi was in a coma at that stage.
In the 90s, Terry Slater told Kathy Etchingham that when he had arrived at the flat (alone), Jimi was lying on the bed “knackered” (which doesn’t necessarily mean dead). Slater said that he buried some drugs in the garden. He didn’t mention anyone being there with him.
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! Which is it Eric?
Let’s not forget that Burdon also said about the phone conversation with Monika: “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“. So Burdon wasn’t part of the “clean-up” crew, either with Slater (before midday) of the rest of the road crew (later in the day).
Scenario 2 – Clean-up after the ambulance had left?
Eric Burdon had 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)!
Eric also said in another account that when entered the flat, “on the bed I could see the impression of where Jimi had lain”. He said it again in 2014, during an interview on CNN: “…walking into a room where my friend had been lying in this bed so long that I could see the indentation in the mattress…”. He said to Kathy Etchingham: “I think I saw Jimi on the bed”! Hell, it’s one or the other Eric!
When Terry Slater made an official statement (in the 90s, after 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, Alvenia, Burdon or Slater standing there, watching it leave. John Suau told Dennis Care that somebody must have let him into the flat and that he remembered a woman being at the Admissions desk who must have either travelled with them or followed them.
Monika is escorted from the flat in the afternoon of September 18th
Scenario 3 – Two clean-ups (the real deal)
I could never accept that the “clean-up crew” would have tidied up, while leaving Jimi 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 entire focus of their existence – their friend Jimi Hendrix – over some ludicrous concern about there being some drug paraphernalia around one of his many girlfriend’s rented flat? No way. The conspiracy theorist will tell you that the crew were all terrified of being hit by Jeffery and his MI5/CIA buddies as well and that they were “brought into the conspiracy” and have lived in fear to this day! Hilarious nonsense!
So it looks like this is what really happened:
Terry Slater (sent by Eric “I was out of my brains” Burdon) entered the Samarkand, either just before the ambulance arrived or just after it had left, to assist Monika. He buried some drugs in the garden then left.
There exists a quote by Gerry Stickells saying that he got the alert about Jimi between 8 and 9 p.m. However, there is that other quote from him (1) where he says that 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 said he phoned around and discovered that Jimi was at St. May Abbot’s Hospital, so he went directly there (arriving at around 1 p.m.) only to discover that Jimi was already dead (his quote concerning this from September 19th edition of The New York Post is further up the page).
In his book, 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 paraphernalia, Jimi’s possessions, his guitar, documents,… This is what Burdon meant by “We had to be there before”.
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 says that it was during this visit that they recuperated the poem. In Jon Brewer’s documentary “Jimi Hendrix – The Guitar Hero”, Burdon describes how heard that Jimi had died: “I got this phone call,… and I went over there and found this note….” with no mention of finding Jimi unconscious in the flat.
Confusing things further, in the same film, he says that he’d watched Jimi being carried out of the flat. He also says that Jimi died because of the incompetence of the ambulance crew (meaning that from what he’d seen, Jimi was in a position to be saved and not a long dead stiff at that stage).
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 and that is when he saw the “impression on the bed where Jimi had lain” as he told CNN. This was obviously his only visit to the Samarkand and nothing to do with the prior “clean-ups” on the afternoon of the 18th.
Note that Lemmy of Motorhead (who was once a roadie for The Experience and was perhaps still in touch with the crew) confirms in that Brewer documentary that Jimi died at the hospital.
Nothing suspicious at The Samarkand
“Police took some blankets from Miss Dannemann’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 thinks.
Terry Slater photographed burying the drugs?
This bizarre anecdote found its way into 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. It’s hard to imagine the police following Jimi all over London during that week.
Mitch Mitchell learns of Jimi’s death
In his autobiography (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.”
Also, in a 1990 MTV “Rockumentary” directed by Michael Alex, Mitch said: “I drove back to the country and I got the phone call, telling me (this was much later)… Jimi’s died.”
So, if Mitch was at The Speakeasy until 4 a.m., drove home (arriving between 5:30 and 6:00) stayed up for a few hours (so 3 or 4 hours) but that “…may well have been longer”, so 6 or 7 hours, that would take us to around midday, which corresponds perfectly 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).
> In a September 1985 Guitar World interview, Mitch had 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! Of course the conspiracy theory saw this as proof that Jimi had been dead for hours at The Samarkand. Mitch’s other statements (filmed and in his autobiography destroy that theory yet again).
September 28th – The inquest
A British TV news reporter standing outside The Samarkand on the 28th of September after the inquest: “The inquest into 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” and in the link at the top of the page).
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 trace of 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 breathing.”
At the inquest, the coroner Gavin Thurston stated that the dose of pills was “…not large enough to be fatal and he would have normally been expected to recover”. The coroner’s report of September 28 by Thurston stated that the cause of death was “inhalation of vomit due to barbiturate intoxication”.
However, in the 90s, Kathy Etchingham contacted Dr. Rufus Crompton, Director of Forensic Medicine at St. George’s Medical school (he had worked with Professor Teare) and 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. 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.
As to the actual quantity of pills, Crompton said that at least 4 Vesparax tablets would’ve been enough to cause the readings from Jimi’s liver*:
“We are going, to a large extent, on evidence from people which cannot be corroborated one way or the other. For instance, what he ate, what went on the previous evening, whether he went to bed a happy man or not, how many of these pills he took, when he took them,… these are all quite important facts in which we just have to believe what we’re told.” (8)
* 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 to do with “drowning in wine” as the crackpot conspiracy theorists claim.
Time of death and rice (slowed) rice digestion
From the accounts of those at Pete Kameron’s party, Jimi sampled some of the Chinese (or Polynesian) delivered food from Stella Douglas’s bowl right before he left (at 3 a.m. according to Angie Burdon). In the Post Mortem report, Prof. Donald Teare 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 distinguished”.
The murder theorists like to put it around that the fact that the remains of a rice meal was found in Jimi’s stomach proves that he had been dead for 6 hours when the ambulance arrived (at the same time, they think that Bannister pumped pints of wine out of Jimi’s stomach – which would have taken all the food with it!).
So there must be an explanation for why some rice grains in Jimi’s stomach. Well there is.
First of all, the vomit was obviously the same matter that had just been in Jimi’s stomach, so the fact that it was there isn’t in question. However, it’s not as if Jimi was found with lots of rice in his gut and all over himself. The substance that Prof. Teare found was a paste (chyme/vomit) in which whole rice grains “could be distinguished” – so a few grains still not quite broken down. Its presence in Jimi’s stomach when he died is no mystery whatsoever. A bit of scientific research proves this:
It normally takes about two to three hours for food to pass through the stomach where gastric juices reduce the density of rice so that it can pass into the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum and ileum) where it is actually digested (Source).
Foodstuffs have varying digestion times but the pre-digestion process in the stomach can be greatly slowed down by various factors: the composition of other foods in the stomach at the same time, the presence of alcohol and more importantly the ingestion of certain drugs. We know that Jimi sampled some of the Chinese food at Peter Kameron’s party at around 3 a.m.. 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. Professor Teare stated in the Post-Mortem Report that Jimi had “100 mg per 100 ml of alcohol in his blood at the time he took the pills”, which it seems was anywhere between 6 and 8 a.m. This deadly mix threw Jimi into a coma, greatly affecting his normal bodily functions (cough reflex, digestion,…).
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).
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).
Jimi had been indulging in all of the digestion inhibitors listed above before he took the sleeping pills. So evidently, the breaking down of the food in his stomach was slowed. He continued to drink wine at The Samarkand, so instead of his stomach emptying after 2 to 3 hours, the slowly dissolving meal was still there when he took the sleeping pills at around 6 or 7 a.m. This fatal dose of quinalbarbitone in the Vesparax tablets plunged him into a coma, thus further slowing or even halting the digestive process.
Barbiturate (the Vesparax)
“Barbiturates in large hypnotic and anesthetic doses produce a reduction of the gastric and pancreatic secretions…” (Source)
The simple act of sleeping also slows the digestive system. (Source)
The toxic cocktail in Jimi’s stomach and bloodstream greatly affected his bodily functions (we know that it even hindered his cough reflex). So the food (almost completely broken down already) remained in his stomach, as he drifted into oblivion.
A forensic toxicologist confirms the rice digestion delay
The delay in the breaking down of the rice in the stomach is acknowledged by a forensic toxicologist in the (otherwise poorly researched) documentary “Hendrix And The Spook” (Tim Conrad 2020).
In the film, Professor Atholl Johnson states: “Let’s say he’d eaten around 2 a.m., and then died four or five hours later, then with the drugs he’d taken, you could expect to still see stuff in the stomach and particularly the rice.” . We know that Jimi didn’t die at 6 or 7 a.m. of course.
We must remember that Angie Burdon said that Jimi left the party at about 3 a.m. and that Jimi ate a little of the food just before he left. Normal digestion of approximately four hours would take us to 7 a.m. However with all the drugs, alcohol and sleep added to the mix, the breakdown of the rice obviously took around 8 to 9 hours (with only a few last grains remaining).
So, as I showed (years ago), the presence of a few grains in the stomach is no mystery at all.
Two pathologists confirm the official time of death
Dr. Rufus Crompton went over the Post Mortem report (for the 90s police reinvestigation) 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, a second opinion was asked for and another eminent pathologist in England was consulted and he too confirmed the originally stated time of death, i.e. just before midday on September 18h 1970. So the rice argument is well and truly ruled out.
No alcohol in Jimi’s blood at death
During the evening of the 17th and early hours of the 18th of September, Jimi drank 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. As said earlier, he had also said that Jimi had “100 mg per 100 ml of alcohol in his blood at the time he took the pills.” That alcohol was fully digested by the time Jimi died hours later and was present in Jimi’s urine (stated at the inquest). The autopsy report mentioned 400 ml of “free fluid” in the left lung. It wasn’t listed as wine.
Proof that Jimi didn’t drown in wine
Relating to the conspiracy fantasy 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”. This means that the relatively short time of such a struggling/drowning is long enough for the stomach and lungs to absorb alcohol in great quantities. Also, even after death, the absorption of alcohol into the blood would continue naturally through osmosis (diffusion). If Jimi had lain there dead for 6 hours with pints and pints of wine inside him, a LOT of alcohol would have seeped into his blood.
At the inquest, Dr. Teare pointed out that there wasn’t any alcohol in Jimi’s blood: “none”.
Dr. Hunter also states 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 and stomach of a 7 foot tall man which clearly wasn’t Jimi Hendrix (more of that further down).
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 didn’t meet the drunk-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.
Did Monika force 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 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 blood alcohol level was at 0% at death, so now wine contributed to his death.
A “partially collapsed lung”
The Post-Mortem report mentioned that Jimi had a partially collapsed lung. Also known as pneunothorax, this can be caused by CPR (which was performed on Jimi in the Emergency Room).
Did Jimi suffer from sleep apnea?
One must also take into account that Jimi’s girlfriend Carmen Borrero said 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 choking in his sleep (5).
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 the disastrous Arhus concert, journalist Helle Hellmann was present on one of the rare occasions where Jimi grabbed some sleep: “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…” – a presage of the tragic event of September 18th. Hellmann perhaps witnessed an afternoon nap because according to Kirsten Nefer he stayed awake talking to her all night.
So this condition of sleep apnea may have – must 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 anyway).
The 1993 Police investigation
By 1993, after the (in hindsight unreliable) work done with Dee Mitchell, Kathy Etchingham submitted the information of the private investigation to the Attorney General, who instructed the Crown Prosecution Service to re-open the case and a new investigation was launched (headed by Detective Superintendent Douglas Campbell. Unfortunately, the dossier that Kathy, Dee and the private investigator had assembled over the years, with all the quotes from the ambulanceman, the doctors, etc. and Detective Campbell’s findings all failed to convince the Attorney General Sir Nicholas Lyell that a new inquest was necessary. Here is a letter from the Metropolitan Police about their investigation into the dossier assembled by Etchingham/Mitchell:
This is interesting because the whole notion of Jimi being dead for hours before the ambulance arrived stemmed from the ambulancemen’s accounts gathered by “Dee” and Kathy. The police re-investigation throws out that “evidence” as being an embellishment, tailored to suit an agenda to discredit Monika (and thus help Noel Redding who was being attacked by Monika).
It’s important to note also that the girls’ research was thrown out by the authorities, even without them being aware of the rather devious manipulations of “Dee” Mitchell in relation to Kathy, her libelous, fraudulent behaviour.
The police detectives asked pathologist Dr. Rufus Crompton to go through the medical evidence and after considering his opinion, that there was nothing suspicious about Jimi’s death, the authorities decided not to re-open the inquest.
Note also that Dr. Bannister’s accounts are also rejected as nonsense in the above letter, with the statement that Dr. Crompton was “unable to understand Dr. Bannister’s opinions”.
More professional criticism of Bannister’s nonsense came in the 2021 BBC (half humorous) documentary about Jimi’s death titled “The Mis-investigations of Romesh Ranganathan”. The forensic pathologist Professor Jason Payne-James was consulted and he reviewed the autopsy report and the accounts of the doctors and he duly scoffs at Bannister’s ludicrous story about a great volume of wine in Jimi’s lungs and stomach.
So one can forget the initial ambulancemen’s accounts and forget Dr. Bannister’s ludicrous wine story.
Kathy keeps going!
Unperturbed, Kathy went on to publish her great book (“Through Gypsy Eyes” – 1998). I personally believe that Kathy was sincere about everything that appeared in her book but, as she recounts herself, she had been manipulated and inevitably misled by “Dee” Mitchell.
When I asked Kathy Etchingham what she thought about ambulanceman John Suau’s rejection of what was in her book (and subsequently in Tony Brown’s and other publications), 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”. However (as seen in another recent ReelzTV documentary) she rightly rules out the Mike Jeffery murder nonsense but she firmly believes that Monika drugged Jimi with the pills in an effort to keep him with her at the hotel, and her plan went tragically wrong.
So her research continues and any new findings will be published when circumstances permit it. Bring it on Kathy!
The 1993 Dennis Care investigation
As said all through this page of proof that Hendrix wasn’t murdered, I have referred to the early 90s private investigation by the ex-Police Superintendent Dennis Care. In a letter to Caesar Glebbeek, Care said that he also interviewed the ambulance men and Monika Dannemann.
There were only two copies of his 50 page report: one for Al Hendrix and one for Monika Dannemann. The two passed away long ago so the documents are stashed away in the Hendrix vault and in Uli Roth’s attic. However Hendrix researcher/biographer and Univibes magazine writer/editor managed to contact Dennis Care and obtain extracts of the report, which were included in a Univibes special edition about Jimi’s death in 2011.
Care came to the same conclusion as the police (see above) and found no indication of murder at all. Most importantly, he showed the Etchingham/Mitchell material (which has found its way into many books and articles) to ambulanceman John Suau, who said that the texts didn’t represent what he had recounted to the two women and that Jimi was alive at the flat, but passed away in the ambulance (which corresponds with the police and hospital statements that were made to the press on September 18th 1970 and at the official inquest into Jimi’s death.
Dennis Care (rom the article by John Leonard below): “From my investigations, I believe it was a clear case of accident.”
Here are a couple of press reports about his investigation that appeared in the press in the early 90s:
The Tappy Wright farce and 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!
Bob Levine who co-managed the Jeffery/Hendrix office in New York
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.”
A special page about the infamous manager
18 September – Jimi Hendrix dies.
21 September – Post-mortem by Professor Robert Donald Teare (phorensic pathologist).
28 September – The inquest (which was confirmed that Jimi had died in the ambulance)
1980s – Kathy Etchingham contacts Monika Danneman to find out more about what happened at the Samarkand Hotel.
1990 – Noel Redding’s book “Are You Experienced”. Monika sues Noel for defamation.
1991 – To help Noel and counter Dannemann’s accusation, Kathy Etchingham and “Dee” Mitchell interview the ambulance men and further investigate.
1992 – The London Ambulance Service interview the two ambulance men. No misconduct determined.
1992 – Dr Bannister reads Electric Gypsy and contacts the co-author (with Caesar Glebbeel) Harry Shipiro, to recount his story (since proven to be false).
1992-1993 – Private investigation by Dennis Care, a former polic superintendant of the Sussex police. His 50 page report (submitted to Al Hendrix and Monika Dannemann) remains unpublished, however Dennis Care revealed his findings to the writer/editor of Univibes magazine (Caesar Glebbeek).
1992-1993 – Etchingham/Mitchell submit their dossier of research to the Attorney General’s office (who decide that the case should be re-opened by Scotland Yard).
1994 – Scotland Yard conclude that they find nothing suspicious and reject the findings of the dossier submitted by Etchingham/Mitchell.
1998 – Kathy Etchingham’s book “Through Gypsy Eyes” (revealing the fraudulent conduct of her reserch partner “Dee” Mitchell).
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 MI5 and didn’t have an insurance policy on Jimi.
Watch out folks, “You can’t believe everything you see and hear can you”.
All I can say is, poor old Jimi.
(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)
(5) “Room Full Of Mirrors – A Biography Of Jimi Hendrix” – (Charles R. Cross, Hodder & Stoughton 2006)
(6) “Hendrix 1970: Day By Day” by Ben Valkhoff and Luigi Garuti (2022)
(7) “The Ultimate Experience” by Johnny Black (Thunder’s Mouth Press 1999)
(8) “Wink Of An Eye” – (BBC Radio 1 1995)
(9) Musician Magazine (February 1996)
(10) Hendrix 1969: Day By Day by Ben Valkhoff and Luigi Garuti (2021)
(11) Hendrix: The Final Days by Tony Brown (1997)
(12) Hit ‘n’ Run by Jerry Hopkins (1983)
(13) The Inner World Of Jimi Hendrix by Monika Dannemann ((1995)
(14) Hendrix – The Day I Was There by Richard Houghton (2018)
(15) Mojo: TCollector’s Series – Hendrix (2023)
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.
There is another in-depth look at the circumstances of Jimi’s passing
is this terrific new book from Ben Valkhoff & Luigi Garui: Hendrix – 1970: Day By Day
The conspiracy theory is well and truly trounced over at The Velvet Rocket
(however the participants in the comments haven’t yet grasped the fact that Jimi passed away in the ambulance).
About conspiracy theorists
Even faced with overwhelming evidence that proves that Jimi wasn’t murdered,
why does the conspiracy theorist believe he was?
Some clues here:
Why so many people believe conspiracy theories
The illusory pattern perception of conspiracy theorists
Escape from the rabbit hole
“All I want is the truth
Just give me some truth”
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