Huge alcohol binge killed Amy Winehouse

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The Independent Online

The singer Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning after a huge binge- drinking session that sent her into a coma, a coroner ruled.

A verdict of misadventure was recorded at an inquest into the death of the star, who is best known for her album Back To Black. She was found in her bed in her £2.3m Camden flat in north London on 23 July.

Her father Mitch had said that he believed that the 27-year-old, who fought addictions to drugs and drink, died after suffering a seizure as a result of alcohol withdrawal. Although a post-mortem examination found no traces of illegal drugs, the Grammy award-winning star had drunk more than five times the legal drink-drive limit, despite repeated warnings from her doctor of the possible consequences.

The inquest at St Pancras coroner's court, attended by Mitch and Janis, Winehouse's parents, heard that the singer had returned to drinking after three weeks of abstinence. Police recovered two large bottles of vodka and one small one.

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

The alcohol in her system was sufficient to have stopped her breathing and send her into a coma, the court heard.

Dr Suhail 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. The legal limit for drivers is 80mg. Her vital organs, including her liver and heart, were in good shape.

In a statement, the Winehouse family said: "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 that Amy was battling hard to conquer her problems with alcohol and it is a source of great pain to us that she could not win in time. She had started drinking again that week after a period of abstinence."

Winehouse had kicked her drug habit but fell back into a pattern of abstaining from drink for weeks, then starting again. Dr Christina Romete, her GP, saw the singer the night before she died and said she was tipsy but coherent.

Winehouse told her that she did not know if she was going to stop drinking but that "she did not want to die". The doctor added: "She was looking forward to the future," as the singer's tearful parents listened from the public gallery.

Dr Romete said she often advised the singer of the effects of alcohol.