Doherty friend shocked by filmmaker's 'drug' death

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The Independent Online

The best friend of the rock star Pete Doherty tonight told of the moment he found an heiress to the wealthy Goldsmith family dead in his flat after taking a suspected drug overdose.

Robin Whitehead, a 27-year-old film-maker, is thought to have taken a heroin overdose while in the east London flat of Peter Wolfe, a musical comrade of Doherty.

A post-mortem examination on Wednesday proved inconclusive and police say they await the results of further tests before a cause of death is established. Sources say this is not uncommon in cases of suspected drug overdoses.

But today Wolfe rejected the suggestion that Ms Whitehead had taken illegal drugs. He told reporters that Ms Whitehead had spent her final evening in his flat drinking Twinings tea and watching Rome on DVD.

He said: “I would be surprised it if was illegal drugs and not prescribed drugs. Nothing criminal has happened.” He said that he was aware she was taking prescription drugs but did not know what they were.

Wolfe said that he and Ms Whitehead were “the closest of friends” but that he had only seen her three times in the past four years. He added: “One of the things we were doing was being together and getting through being clean and making it work. She had never done drugs to a big extent. Robin’s main thing was art.”

Wolfe was the last person to see Ms Whitehead alive. Explaining her final hours he said: “We were drinking lovely Twinings tea and all of that. We stayed up late and put on Rome the mini-series on DVD. We were tired and only got to the second episode when we fell asleep.”

Recalling the moment he found Ms Whitehead, Wolfe, who lives in the Homerton tower-block flat with his girlfriend Jill, said: “I woke up and went down to see Robin and took her a cup of coffee. I wanted to give her breakfast in bed and I thought it would be a perfect day. The rest is something that I never ever want to be near again.”

Wolfe said he initially thought Ms Whitehead was sleeping but later called an ambulance at about 8pm. He said he fell asleep after making the emergency call.

While Doherty is as well-known for his much-publicised drug-addiction and his failed relationship with the model Kate Moss as he is for his music, Wolfe is best known for his work with Doherty, particularly their collaboration on their 2004 single For Lovers.

Ms Whitehead was making a documentary about Doherty shortly before her death and had spent much time in his circle of friends. Her death comes three years after that of Mark Blanco, an actor who died at a party attended by Doherty.

Last night a spokeswoman for the rock star, who was this week fined for taking heroin to a court appearance, released a statement on his behalf.

It said: “Peter Doherty was shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Robin Whitehead. Peter wishes to convey his condolences to Robin’s family and her close friends at this very difficult time.”

Ms Whitehead was the granddaughter of the late Teddy Goldsmith, the founder of The Ecologist magazine, and was a second-cousin of Zac Goldsmith, the prospective Conservative MP, and Jemima Khan, the ex-wife of the former Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan.

A statement released on behalf of her family said: “Robin had an exceptional capacity for compassion and for love both to her family and close friends and to all those whom she touched. This was reflected in the depths and passion of her art. To lose her so young and so far before her life’s work was done is heartbreaking.

“We would now ask that the media respects our privacy while we try to come to terms with our bereavement.”

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “Police were called at approximately 8.10pm on Sunday by the London Ambulance Service following reports of a woman found dead at an address in Daubeney Road, E5. The woman was 27 and from the Northampton area. Next of kin have been informed and we are awaiting formal identification. Her death is not being treated as suspicious.”