Police to review Stones guitarist Brian Jones' death

Forty years after the body of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones was found floating in his swimming pool following a binge of drugs and drinking, police said Monday they are reviewing the case in light of new evidence turned over by a journalist.



Jones' 1969 drowning was ruled an accident, though friends and fans have long insisted the 27-year-old rock star was murdered, and reports have swirled of a deathbed confession by a building contractor.

Sussex police in southeast England said they will examine the new documents and have not yet decided whether to officially reopen the case.

"It's too early to comment at this time as to what the outcome might be," the Sussex duty inspector said, reading a statement over the telephone.

Police did not give further details or name the journalist. The Mail on Sunday identified him as Scott Jones — a free-lancer who is not related to the musician — and said he had handed over 600 documents to police.

Brian Jones was a founding member of the Rolling Stones and reportedly came up with the band's name, taking it from a song title on a Muddy Waters album cover.

"In the beginning, Brian Jones was the real catalyst for the Rolling Stones, the smart, handsome, multi-instrumentalist leader who loved the blues and galvanized the band," Jasen Emmons, the director of curatorial affairs at Seattle's Experience Music Project, said in an e-mail.

But his role started to shrink as the band branched out from blues covers, "and his legendary substance abuse made him less reliable and desirable, although it didn't hurt the Stones' reputation as one of rock n' roll's most dangerous bands."

Jones stood out even among his bandmates for his flashy clothes and prodigious appetite for drugs. But he was quickly eclipsed by swaggering lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, whose songwriting propelled the band's popularity.

Increasingly marginalized and drawn to drugs and alcohol, Jones was convicted twice on narcotics charges, avoiding jail by promising to quit his habit.

He left the band a month before his July 2, 1969, death and was replaced by Mick Taylor.

Two 1994 books have claimed that Jones was murdered by a London building contractor hired to help renovate Jones' 11-acre Sussex estate. "Paint it Black: The Murder of Brian Jones," by Geoffrey Giuliano and "Who Killed Christopher Robin?" by Terry Rawlings, said the builder, Frank Thorogood, confessed on his deathbed in November 1993 to killing Jones.

"It was me that did Brian. I just finally snapped," Thorogood was quoted as telling Stones road manager, Tom Keylock, in Rawlings' book. Keylock died in July.

It was not clear why British police did not reopen an investigation after those books were published.

Journalist Scott Jones interviewed the woman who discovered the guitarist's body, Janet Lawson, shortly before she died last year.

In the interview, published in The Mail on Sunday last November, Lawson said that Keylock, who was her boyfriend at the time, was worried about tensions between Jones and Thorogood.

The night Jones died, official reports said there were three guests at his home — Lawson, Thorogood and Jones' girlfriend Anna Wohlin. All three gave statements to police saying Jones had been drinking that evening.

However, Lawson told Scott Jones that police had pressured her and "were trying to put words into my mouth," the newspaper report said.

It quoted Lawson as saying that the evening Jones died, the group had eaten in the early evening, and Jones and Thorogood began fooling around in the swimming pool. A short while later Jones, who was by then in the pool alone, asked her to find his asthma inhaler.

"I went to look for it by the pool, in the music room, the reception room and then the kitchen," she said, when suddenly an agitated Thorogood appeared.

"Frank came in in a lather. His hands were shaking. He was in a terrible state. I thought the worst almost straight away and went to the pool to check. When I saw Brian on the bottom of the pool and was calling for help, Frank initially did nothing."

She said her original police statement did not mention any tensions between Jones and Thorogood, or the fact that Thorogood initally ignored her cries for help because she was "tired, confused and nervous."

Scott Jones also spoke to Bob Marshall, the chief investigating officer in the case. Marshall, who retired in 1974, said he still believed Jones' death was "a tragic accident, a simple drowning."

The title of Rawlings' book, " Who Killed Christopher Robin?," is a reference to Jones' estate, which was formerly the home of the late A.A. Milne, author of "Winnie the Pooh," which features the character Christopher Robin.

The Rolling Stones are one of the most influential and biggest-selling rock bands in the world, with album sales estimated at more than 200 million copies. The band's long list of classic hits include "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Street Fighting Man" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

The band, now made up of Jagger, Richards, Ronnie Wood — who replaced Taylor in 1975 — and drummer Charlie Watts, topped Forbes' list of wealthiest musical performers in 2007, earning some $88 million between June 2006 and June 2007, mostly from their "Bigger Bang Tour." E-mails and phone calls to the groups' publicists and record labels were unanswered Monday.

Meanwhile, Jones' early death continues to feed his reputation long after he is gone.

"It's that mystery surrounding his death combined with the public's fondness for conspiracy theory that keeps Jones' death front and center," Richard Aquila, a professor at Penn State, Erie, who studies social and cultural history, said in an e-mail. "After all, he was a founding member of one of rock's all-time greatest bands — another example of a fallen rock star gone but not forgotten."

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?