Winehouse was over five times drink-drive limit

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The Independent Online

The singer Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning after being more than five times the drink drive limit, a coroner ruled yesterday.

A verdict of misadventure was recorded at an inquest into the death of the Grammy award-winning star who was found in her bed at her north London flat, on July 23.

Although a post-mortem examination found no traces of illegal drugs, she had 416mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in her system. The driving limit is 80mg.

The inquest at St Pancras Coroner's Court, attended by the 27-year-old's parents Mitch and Janis Winehouse, heard the singer had started drinking alcohol again after abstaining for three weeks. Police recovered three bottles of vodka, two large and one small.

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

Dr Baithun, the pathologist who conducted the post-mortem, said at 200mg per decilitre (of blood), someone would lose control of their reflexes and 350mg was considered a fatal level. Her vital organs, including liver and heart, were in good shape.

Winehouse, best known for her Back to Black album, had kicked her drug habit but would abstain from alcohol for weeks, then start again. Dr Christina Romete, her GP, saw the singer the night before she died. She told the inquest she was tipsy but coherent. Winehouse told her she did not know if she was going to stop drinking, but "she did not want to die... she was looking forward to the future".

Dr Romete added she had repeatedly warned Winehouse about the adverse effects of alcohol, "including respiratory, depression, death, heart, fertility and liver problems".

The singer's family said later in a statement: "It is some relief to finally find out what happened to Amy. We understand there was alcohol in her system when she passed away. It is likely a build-up of alcohol in her system over a number of days. The court heard Amy was battling hard to conquer her problems with alcohol and it's a source of great pain to us she could not win in time."

The family said the verdict underlined the importance of the work of the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which has been created to help young people with addiction issues.