Father 'speechless' over Amy Winehouse death

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The Independent Online

The grief-stricken parents of Amy Winehouse today made an emotional visit to see the tributes left outside the home where she died.

Mitch and Janis Winehouse sobbed as they looked at the flowers, candles, cuddly toys and even cigarette boxes and alcoholic drinks left at the edge of police cordons surrounding the singer's house in Camden, North London.

Mr Winehouse, who flew back from New York after hearing the news of his daughter's death, told a crowd gathered outside that they were "devastated", adding: "You people in the street, I can't tell you what this means to us - it really is making this a lot easier for us."

It is understood the Back to Black singer's funeral could take place as early as tomorrow as Jewish Law states a funeral has to take place as soon as possible.

An inquest has been opened and adjourned but no cause of death was given.

Mr Winehouse said: "Amy was about one thing and that was love, her whole life was devoted to her family and her friends and to you guys as well.

"We're devastated and I'm speechless but thanks for coming."

The circumstances around her death were described as "non-suspicious" by coroner's officer Sharon Duff.

Ms Duff told the two-minute hearing: "I bring before you the death of Amy Jade Winehouse, aged 27, born on the 14 September 1983 in London.

"She was a divorced lady living at Camden Square, NW1. She was certified dead at her home by a paramedic and a doctor on July 23.

"She was a singer-songwriter at the time of her death and was identified by her family here at St Pancras this morning.

"A section 20 post-mortem has been carried out and histology and toxicology samples taken to determine the cause of death.

"The scene was investigated by police and determined non-suspicious."

The coroner adjourned the inquest until October 26.

Winehouse battled drink and drug problems throughout her career and news of her death was quickly followed by suggestions that it could be related to one or the other.

The troubled artist had cancelled all tour dates and engagements last month after a series of erratic public appearances. She was booed at a shambolic performance in Serbia.

A friend of Winehouse, Piers Hernu, said fame had led her to loneliness, and isolation led to drink and drugs.

Freelance journalist Mr Hernu, 44, said: "She was clearly a show off and clearly an attention seeker but that attention grew until she had the attention of pretty much the whole world and that burden seemed to disagree with her.

"Ultimately I don't think she could cope with the fame and being an outgoing, friendly kind of girl, she was happiest when she was in the pub or wandering down the street with her friends.

"She couldn't do that anymore for the last four or five years, it was impossible, she'd be mobbed by paparazzi and absolutely hounded.

"That drove her to become more insular, to stay at home more, to be more bored, more lonely.

"It probably alienated her from her friends, made it more difficult for her to make new friends and so she was trapped in a sort of bubble of loneliness and boredom and she filled that gap with drink and drugs."

Mr Hernu first met Winehouse on the Camden party scene in 2004. The contact led him to interview the singer on several occasions.

He said: "We'd go round to her stylist's house and have drinks and food, watch TV and maybe Amy would pick up the guitar."

At these meet ups Mr Hernu said he had seen a "very caring Jewish mother side" to Winehouse's personality.

He said: "She liked to cook for people and make sure they all had drinks and were happy.

"That was the domestic side which I don't think many people saw, specially in recent years."