ABOVE: Original painting by Gloucestershire artist Paul Bridgman of John Wayne Gacy on display at Littledean Jail .
All of Gacy’s known murders were committed inside his Norwood Park, Illinois home. His victims would typically be lured to this address by force or deception, and all but one victim were murdered by either asphyxiation or strangulation with a tourniquet (his first victim was stabbed to death). Gacy buried 26 of his victims in the crawl space of his home. Three further victims were buried elsewhere on his property, while the bodies of his last four known victims were discarded in the Des Plaines River.
Gacy became known as the “Killer Clown” due to his charitable services at fundraising events, parades, and children’s parties where he would dress as “Pogo the Clown”, a character he devised himself.
BELOW : Various exhibit items to include one of Gacy’s “Pogo The Clown ” suits , handwritten and signed correspondence , a hand painting and various other memorabilia, all of which is on display here at The Crime Through Time Collection , Littledean Jail , Forest of Dean , Gloucestershire, UK .
ABOVE AND BELOW : One of John Wayne Gacy’s original worn clown suits. There are two other known Gacy clown suits on display at The National Museum of Crime , Washington DC , USA .
BELOW: picture of 2 other Gacy clown suits, on display at The National Museum of Crime, Washington DC ….. Previously owned ( not sure if he still owns them ) by Jonathan Davis, lead singer of American Heavy Metal Band “Korn .”
ABOVE: John Wayne Gacy pictured in jail, so say, shortly before his execution by lethal injection
HERE ARE THE LAST THREE PARTS OF THIS “MUST SEE” IN DEPTH INTERACTIVE DOCUMENTARY FOOTAGE INTO THE LIVES AND CRIMES OF FRED AND ROSE WEST INCLUDING ROSE WEST PROSTITUTING HERSELF AT HOME AT 25 CROMWELL STREET , GLOUCESTER . VIDEOED BY HER HUSBAND FRED WEST
WHILST VERY INTRIGUING AND INFORMATIVE DOCUMENTARY FOOTAGE …. PLEASE BE WARNED THAT THERE IS CONSIDERABLE FOUL LANGUAGE IN SEVERAL PARTS FROM BOTH FRED AND ROSE WEST .
HERE AT THE JAIL WE EXHIBIT AND DISPLAY A NUMBER OF PERSONAL ITEMS , WORN CLOTHING AND ALSO TOOLS OF THE TRADE USED BY FRED WEST
DO COME VISIT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL AND SEE OUR EXTENSIVE AND DIVERSE PRIVATE COLLECTION OF TRUE CRIME MURDERABILIA , MEMORABILIA , THE TABOO AND MUCH MUCH MORE .
AS WE ALWAYS SAY …… IF EASILY OFFENDED, DISTURBED OR OF A SENSITIVE NATURE PLEASE DO AVOID VISITING THE JAIL
The nice folks at number 25
The world of brutality and degradation sank to a new low with the series of grisly discoveries at Cromwell Street, Gloucester in 1994. The occupants, Rosemary and her husband Fred West, were accused of murdering 10 women and young girls over a 16 year period ending in 1987. They had taken pleasure in luring away vulnerable runaways with offers of rides, lodging or jobs as nannies. Once in their clutches inside the House of Horrors the young women were stripped, bound with tape, abused, tortured, then killed, some were dismembered and buried.
The killer couple was arrested at their home, 25 Cromwell Street, Gloucester, in 1994. Police, armed with a search warrant, dug up the remains of the Wests’ 16 year old daughter, Heather, who vanished in 1987. Further excavations under the house and in the garden produced eight more female bodies and a further body was found under the kitchen of a former home in Gloucester.
The Wests shared a fascination with BDSM. Police found pictures and tapes of Rose bound, gagged and whipped. They also found a wide variety of apparatus including gags, hoods, and huge dildos. Their victims were often abducted, then bound and gagged before being subjected to hideous torture over a period of days in their cellar.
Rosemary it seems loved to torture by the insertion of huge dildos and they both had a fascination with an exteme form of bondage and suffocation. When they went too far, as they often did, Fred would dismember and bury the bodies. Even their own children were abused, raped and tortured by this wicked couple, being used as guinea-pigs for their sexual experimentation. Rose would usually do the tying up, and the children would be tied naked and spread-eagled on a metal bedframe. One of the children said later ” She had canes and whips, including a cat of nine-tails. She might use all of them or just a selection. When she had completed her experiments on us she would encourage Dad to rape us or insert objects into us herself”. It was a standing joke amongst the children that one of them, Charmian, was buried in the garden under the patio that Fred had laid. This family joke eventually led police and social workers to discover the whole grisly truth.
Fred, aged 7
Fred was born in 1941 in the village of Much Marcle, approximately 120 miles west of London, to Walter and Daisy West. It is believed that incest was an accepted part of the West household and Fred claimed that his father had sex with his daughters, using the logic, “I made you so I’m entitled to have you.” Fred left school when he was fifteen, almost illiterate, and went to work as a farm hand.
Fred’s troubles with the police began in 1961 when he was fined for minor thefts in Hereford. A few months later, he was accused of impregnating a 13-year-old girl who was a friend of the West family. Fred was uncooperative and didn’t see that there was anything wrong with what he had done.
This attitude and the ensuing scandal caused a serious breach with his family. Fred was ordered to find somewhere else to live and it wasn’t long before he was caught stealing from the construction sites where he worked and having sex with young girls.
When Fred was seventeen, he had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. After his recovery from the accident, he met the pretty 16-year-old Catherine Bernadette Costello, nicknamed Rena. They were to marry 4 years later, in November 1962. By then Rena was pregnant by another man. Her daughter, Charmaine, was born in March 1963, and in July 1964 Rena bore Fred a daughter named Anne-Marie.
Even though Rena had been a prostitute at various times, she was not happy to be a prisoner to the voracious sexual appetite of Fred West. Colin Wilson in The Corpse Garden tells how Fred’s interest in “normal sex” was minimal. “He wanted oral sex, bondage and…sodomy…at all hours of the day and night.”
Anna McFall, first known victim
Fred started a job driving an ice cream truck which afforded him unlimited access to many young women. For someone as highly sexed as Fred, it seemed like paradise. His politeness, apparent trustworthiness and sincerity, and his ability to spin interesting tales made him attractive to the teenagers who flocked around his ice cream truck. His continual seductions turned Rena and Charmaine into afterthoughts. One young girl he met was called Anna McFall
who, in early 1967, became pregnant with Fred’s child. She was trying unsuccessfully to get Fred to divorce Rena and marry her.
Fred’s response to the stress of her demands was to kill her and their unborn child,and then to slowly and methodically dismember her corpse and bury her along with the foetus. Oddly enough, he cut off her fingers and toes, which were missing from the gravesite. It would be his ritualistic signature in future crimes.
The following year Fred met Rose Letts, on November 29th, 1968, her fifteenth birthday.
Rose as a child
Rosemary Letts was born in November 1953 in Devon, England. Her father was a violent domestic tyrant who demanded unconditional obedience from his wife and children. He enjoyed disciplining them and seemed to look for any excuse to beat them.
.Rose was not a star performer in school and was known as ‘Dozy Rosie’. Also, she was overweight, which made her the butt of cruel jokes by her peers. She lashed out at them and attacked anyone who teased her. Consequently, she became known as an ill tempered, aggressive loner.
As a teenager, Rose showed signs of being sexually precocious, walking around naked after her baths and climbing into bed with her younger brother and fondling him sexually. Her father’s rules forbade her to date boys her own age and her heaviness and temperament kept boys from being interested in her. She focused her interest in sex on the older men of the village.
When she met Fred West there was an immediate sexual attraction but her father objected strongly to the relationship, and resorted to contacting Social Services and threatening West directly, but to no avail; she was soon pregnant with West’s child and found herself looking after his two children by Rena Costello, when West was sent to prison on various petty theft and fine evasion charges. She gave birth to daughter Heather in 1970. With three children to care for, a boyfriend in jail and constant money problems, Rose’s temper flared constantly. She resented having to take care of Rena’s children and treated them badly.
A Young Fred and Rose
After Heather’s birth, and shortly before Fred’s release, it appears that Rose killed Fred and Rena Costello’s daughter, Charmaine. Since Fred was in jail when Charmaine was murdered, his involvement probably extended to burying her body under the kitchen floor of their home on Midland Road where it lay undiscovered for over 20 years. Before he buried Charmaine, he took off her fingers, toes and kneecaps.
Rena Costello was killed in August 1971 by Fred West. Fred saw that he had no choice but to kill Rena. In all likelihood, he probably got her very drunk and then strangled her at his house on Midland Road. He then dismembered her body and mutilated it in the same odd way that he had Anna McFall’s body: he cut off Rena’s fingers and toes. Then he put her remains into bags and buried her in the same general area as he buried Anna McFall.
On 29 January 1972, Fred and Rosemary married in Gloucester, and on 1 June that year, Rose gave birth to their daughter, Mae. Like Fred, Rose came from a family where incest was considered normal and even after the birth of her fourth child Rose’s father, Bill Letts, with Fred’s approval, would often visit the West’s for sex with his daughter.
Charmaine (left), baby Heather and Anna Marie
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Rose’s magazine ad for prostitution
Torture, Rape, Incest and Murder
The Wests were both indulging their unconventional sexual appetites by this time, with Rose matching her husband in her extreme sexual needs. She had a voracious sexual appetite and enjoyed extreme bondage and sadomasochistic sex. She was bisexual, and many of their victims were picked up for both her and her husband’s sexual pleasure. West also worked as a prostitute (often while Fred watched).
Fred West himself had an almost insatiable appetite for bondage and violent sex acts on underage girls. He fitted out the cellar at No 25 as a torture chamber, and his 8-year-old daughter, Anne-Marie, became one of its first occupants, subjected to a horrifically brutal rape by her father whilst her stepmother held her down. This became a regular occurrence, and the child was threatened with beatings if she told anyone of her ordeal.
In December 1972 the Wests carried out a sexual assault on 17-year-old Caroline Owens whom they had hired as a nanny. Caroline was very attractive, so much so that Rose and Fred competed with each other to seduce her. When Caroline told them she was leaving the couple abducted, stripped and raped her. Caroline escaped and reported the couple to the police. As a result the Wests were fined for serious sexual assault in January of 1973.
Rose and Fred
Cellar of Death
Over the next five years eight young girls were lured to an horrific death in the Wests’ cellar. Lynda Gough, Lucy Partington, Juanita Mott, Therese Siegenthaler, Alison Chambers, Shirley Robinson and 15-year-old schoolgirls Carol Ann Cooper and Shirley Hubbard, all became victims of the West couple’s insatiable appetite for violent sex. After brutal sexual attacks, all were murdered, dismembered and buried in the cellar under No 25, having first had their fingers and toes removed.
Bondage was becoming a major thrill for Fred and Rose. Shirley’s head had been wrapped entirely with tape and a plastic tube was inserted in her nose so that she could breathe. Juanita had been subjected to even more extreme bondage and her body had been suspended from the beams of the cellar.At least one girl, Lucy Partington, was sexually abused for over a week before her death.
Rose continued to produce children at regular intervals and the birth of daughter Louise in November 1978, brought their offspring to six, although not all were fathered by West. Barry joined the brood in June 1980, with Rosemary Junior following in 1982 and Lucyanna in 1983. They were aware to some extent of the activities in the house, but West and Rose exercised strict control over them.
West’s incestuous interest in his own daughters continued, and when Anne-Marie moved out to live with her boyfriend, he switched his attentions to younger siblings, Heather and Mae. Heather resisted his attentions and, in 1986, committed the cardinal sin of telling a friend about the goings on in the house. The Wests responded by murdering and dismembering her, and burying her in the back garden of No 25, where son Stephen was forced to assist with digging the hole.
Given that the West’s vicious sex acts did not result in murder every time, and the sheer number of attacks, it was inevitable that someone would expose their activities, which resulted in them coming to the attention of Detective Constable Hazel Savage, who led a search at Cromwell Street in August of 1992 that found pornography and clear evidence of child abuse. West was arrested for rape and sodomy of a minor, and Rose for assisting in the rape of a minor.
In the course of the investigation DC Savage uncovered the abuse of Anne-Marie, as well as the disappearances of Charmaine and Heather, that warranted further investigation, as well as rumours about what might be buried under the patio. The younger West children were taken into care, and Rose attempted suicide at this time, although she was found by her son, Stephen, and revived.
On 24th February 1994 a warrant was obtained to search the Cromwell Street house and garden, and police found the remains of two dismembered and decapitated young women, one of whom the police suspected might be Shirley Robinson. West claimed sole responsibility for the murders and, when Rose heard of the confession, she denied all knowledge of Heather’s death.
As the case against them developed, Rose tried increasingly to distance herself from West, claiming that she was also a victim, but police were not convinced of her innocence, given the sheer number of murders which had occurred, and her participation in the rapes.
On 13th December 1994, West was charged on twelve counts of murder, and he was taken into custody at Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, pending trial where, on 1st January 1995, he hanged himself in his cell with knotted bed sheets.
Rose West went on trial on 3rd October 1995 in the glare of media frenzy. Witnesses including her daughter Anne Marie and Caroline Owens, one of their first victims, testified to her participation in sexual assaults on young women. Her defence counsel tried to argue that evidence of assault was not evidence of murder but, when Rose testified on her own behalf, her violent nature and dishonesty became clear to the jury, and they unanimously found her guilty on ten separate counts of murder on 22nd November 1995. She was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in jail. Rose West’s sentence was later extended to a “whole life” sentence by the Home Secretary, effectively removing any possibility of parole.
No 25 Cromwell Street, or the “House of Horrors”, as it was dubbed by the media, was eventually razed to the ground in October 1996, and in its place is a pathway that leads to the town centre.
There remains a widespread belief both with the public and within the police that Fred and Rose West’s victims numbered far more than the twelve with which they were charged and it is still considered highly likely that Fred West maintained another burial site yet to be discovered. And 12 women and children are definitely gone, forever, and two of their unborn babies, and we’ll never know how many more, simply listed as ‘missing’ during the Sixties and Seventies.
HERE IS AN UPDATED BACKGROUND AND TRIBUTE TO THE ICONIC AND NOW TRAGICALLY DECEASED MUSIC ICON – AMY WINEHOUSE WHO DIED AT HOME IN CAMDEN , LONDON ON THE 23RD JULY 2011 AND WHOSE FUNERAL WAS ON THE 26TH JULY 2011 .
As we have long featured the sadly turbulent career and mass of tabloid sensationalism that has plagued her short life here at the jail …….. here is some more interactive news report footage of her untimely death and soon after private funeral .
Here at the jail we have a great many personal signed photographs from Amy Winehouse pieced together in a now historical archive of montage displays , to include a great many tabloid extracts that have covered her life and success
Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer-songwriter known for her powerful contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres including R&B, soul and jazz.
Winehouse’s 2003 debut album, Frank, was critically successful in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the “Big Four“: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. On 14 February 2007, she won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist; she had also been nominated for Best British Album. She won the Ivor Novello Award three times, one in 2004 for Best Contemporary Song (musically and lyrically) for “Stronger Than Me“, one in 2007 for Best Contemporary Song for “Rehab“, and one in 2008 for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for “Love Is a Losing Game“, among other distinctions. The album was the third biggest seller of the 2000s in the United Kingdom.
Winehouse was credited as an influence in the rise in popularity of female musicians and soul music, and also for revitalising British music. Winehouse’s distinctive style made her a muse for fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld. Winehouse’s problems with drug and alcohol abuse, violence, and her self-destructive behaviours were regular tabloid news from 2007 until her death. She and her former husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, were plagued by legal troubles that left him serving prison time. In 2008, Winehouse faced a series of health complications that threatened both her career and her life.
Winehouse died at the age of 27 on 23 July 2011, at her home in London; police have said that the cause of her death is “as yet unexplained”.
Winehouse was born in the Southgate area of north London to a Jewish family, who were influential toward her interest in jazz. Winehouse was the daughter of Mitchell Winehouse, a taxi driver, and Janis Winehouse (née Seaton), a pharmacist. She had one brother, Alex, who was four years older than her. Mitchell often sang Frank Sinatra songs to young Amy, who also took to a constant habit of singing to the point that teachers found it difficult keeping her quiet in class.Early life
After toying with her brother’s guitar, Winehouse received her first guitar when she was 13, and began writing music a year later. She began working soon after, including as a showbiz journalist for theWorld Entertainment News Network, in addition to singing with local group the Bolsha Band. Her boyfriend at the time, soul singer Tyler James, sent her demo tape to an A&R person.Winehouse signed to Simon Fuller‘s 19 Management in 2002. While being developed by the management company, the artist was kept an industry secret. Her future A&R representative at Island/Universal, Darcus Beese, heard her by accident when the manager of The Lewinson Brothers showed him some productions of his clients on which Winehouse featured as vocalist. When he asked who the singer was the manager told him he was not allowed to say. Having decided that he wanted to sign her it took several months of asking around for Beese to eventually discover who the singer was. By this time Winehouse had already recorded a number of songs and signed a publishing deal with EMI. Through the publishers she formed a working relationship with the producer Salaam Remi.
Beese introduced Winehouse to his boss, Nick Gatfield, and the Island head shared his enthusiasm in signing the young artist. Winehouse was signed to Island/Universal as rival interest in Winehouse had started to build, with representatives at EMI and Virgin also starting to make moves. Beese told HitQuarters that he felt the reason behind the excitement over an artist who was an atypical pop star for the time was due to a backlash against reality TV music shows with audiences becoming starved for genuine young talent.
Winehouse’s debut album, Frank, was released on 20 October 2003. Produced mainly by Salaam Remi, many songs were influenced by jazz and, apart from two covers, every song was co-written by Winehouse. The album received positive reviews with compliments over the “cool, critical gaze” in its lyricsand brought comparisons of her voice to Sarah Vaughan,Macy Gray and others.
The album entered the upper levels of the UK album chart in 2004 when it was nominated for BRIT Awards in the categories of “British Female Solo Artist” and “British Urban Act”. It went on to achieve platinum sales. Later in 2004, she won the Ivor Novello (songwriting) Award for Best Contemporary Song, alongside Salaam Remi, with her contribution to the first single, “Stronger Than Me“. The album also made the short list for the 2004 Mercury Music Prize. In the same year, she performed at the Glastonbury Festival, the V Festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival (7 July 2004, at the Club Soda), and on the Jazzworld stage. After the release of the album, Winehouse commented that she was “only 80 percent behind [the] album” because of the inclusion by her record label of certain songs and mixes she disliked.
International success and Back to Black
In contrast to her jazz-influenced former album, Winehouse’s focus shifted to the girl groups of the 1950s and 1960s. Winehouse hired New York singerSharon Jones‘s longtime band, the Dap-Kings to back her up in the studio and on tour. In May 2006, Winehouse’s demonstration tracks such as “You Know I’m No Good” and “Rehab” appeared onMark Ronson‘s New York radio show on East Village Radio. These were some of the first new songs played on the radio after the release of “Pumps” and both were slated to appear on her second album. The 11-track album was produced entirely by Salaam Remi and Ronson, with the production credits being split between them. Ronson said in a 2010 interview that he liked working with Winehouse because she was blunt when she did not like his work. Promotion of Back to Black soon began and, in early October 2006, Winehouse’s official website was relaunched with a new layout and clips of previously unreleased songs.Back to Black was released in the UK on 30 October 2006. It went to number one on the UK Albums Chart numerous times, and entered at number seven on the Billboard 200 in the United States. It was the best-selling album in the UK in 2007, selling 1.85 million copies over the year.
Originally performed by The Shirelles in the 1960s, this version slows the tempo down and features a jazz arrangement.
Problems listening to these files? See media help.
The album spawned a number of singles. The first single released from the album was the Ronson-produced “Rehab”. The song reached the top ten in the UK and the US.Time magazine named “Rehab” the Best Song of 2007. Writer Josh Tyrangiel praised Winehouse for her confidence, saying, “What she is is mouthy, funny, sultry, and quite possibly crazy” and “It’s impossible not to be seduced by her originality. Combine it with production by Mark Ronson that references four decades worth of soul music without once ripping it off, and you’ve got the best song of 2007.” The album’s second single and lead single in the US, “You Know I’m No Good”, was released in January 2007 with a remixfeaturing rap vocals by Ghostface Killah. It ultimately reached number 18 on the UK singles chart. The title track, “Back to Black“, was released in the UK in April 2007 and peaked at number 25, but was more successful across mainland Europe. “Tears Dry on Their Own“, “Love Is a Losing Game” and “Just Friends” were also released as singles, but failed to achieve the same level of success.
A deluxe edition of Back to Black was also released on 5 November 2007 in the UK. The bonus disc features B-sides, rare, and live tracks, as well as “Valerie”. Winehouse’s debut DVD I Told You I Was Trouble: Live in London was released the same day in the UK and 13 November in the US. It includes a live set recorded at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire and a 50-minute documentary charting the singer’s career over the previous four years.Frank was released in the United States on 20 November 2007 to positive reviews. The album debuted at number 61 on the Billboard 200 chart.
In addition to her own album, she collaborated with other artists on singles. Winehouse was a vocalist on the song “Valerie” on Ronson’s solo album Version. The song peaked at number two in the UK, upon its October single release. The song was nominated for a 2008 Brit Award for “Best British Single”. Her work with ex-SugababeMutya Buena, “B Boy Baby“, was released on 17 December 2007. It served as the fourth single from Buena’s solo debut album, Real Girl.
A special deluxe edition of Back to Black topped the UK album charts on 2 March 2008. The original edition of the album resided at the number 30 position, in its 68th week on the charts, while “Frank” charted at number 35. By 12 March, the album had sold a total of 2,467,575 copies, 318,350 of those in the previous 10 weeks, putting the album on the UK’s top 10 best-selling albums of the 21st century for the first time. On 7 April, Back to Black was residing at the top position on the pan-European charts for the sixth consecutive and thirteenth aggregate week.Back to Black was the world’s seventh biggest selling album for 2008. These sales helped keep Universal Music’s recorded music division from dropping to levels experienced by the overall music market.
At the 2008 Ivor Novello Awards, Winehouse became the first artist to receive two nominations for the top award, best song, musically and lyrically. She won the award for “Love Is a Losing Game” and was nominated for “You Know I’m No Good”. “Rehab”, a Novello winner for best contemporary song in 2006, also received a 2008 nomination for best-selling British song. Winehouse was nominated for a MTV Europe Award in the Act of The Year category.Amy Winehouse – The Girl Done Good: A Documentary Review, a 78-minute DVD, was released on 14 April 2008. The documentary features interviews with those who knew her at a young age, helped her gain success, jazz music experts, as well as music and pop culture specialists. A clip of Winehouse’s music is included in the “Roots and Influences” area that looks at connections between different artists at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex NYC, which opened in December 2008. One thread starts with Billie Holiday continues with Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige and finishes with Winehouse. In a poll of United States residents conducted for VisitBritain by Harris Interactive that was released in March 2009, one fifth of those polled indicated they had listened to Winehouse’s music during the previous year. Winehouse performed with Rhythms del Mundo on their cover of the Sam Cooke song “Cupid” for an Artists Project Earth benefit album that was released on 13 July 2009.
Winehouse and Mark Ronson contributed a cover of Lesley Gore‘s “It’s My Party” to the Quincy Jones tribute album Q Soul Bossa Nostra released 9 November 2010. Winehouse and drummer?uestlove of the Roots had agreed to form a group. Winehouse’s problems obtaining a visa delayed the still unnamed group from working together. Producer Salaam Remi has already created some material with Winehouse as part of the project. According to a newspaper report, Universal Music pressed her regarding new material in 2008. According to that same report Winehouse as of 2 September had not been near a recording studio. It was noted that she had touring obligations during the summer and also that if an album was quickly recorded, it would be at least a year before an album could be released. In late October, Winehouse’s spokesman was quoted as saying that Winehouse had not been given a deadline to complete her third album, for which she was learning to play drums.
During her 2009 stay in Saint Lucia, Winehouse worked on new music with producer Salaam Remi. Island claimed that a new album would be due in 2010; Island co-president Darcus Beese said, “I’ve heard a couple of song demos that have absolutely floored me”. In July 2010 Winehouse was quoted as saying her next album would be released no later than January 2011, saying “It’s going to be very much the same as my second album, where there’s a lot of jukebox stuff and songs that are… just jukebox, really.” Mark Ronson said in July 2010 that he had not started to record the album.
American singer Tony Bennett recorded a song with Winehouse for his forthcoming album, Duets II, which is scheduled for release on 20 September 2011 (almost two months after her death).
British singer Adele had credited Winehouse’s success in the United States for making her and fellow British singer Duffy’s journey to the United States “a bit smoother”. American singer Lady Gagacredited Winehouse with paving the way for her rise to the top of the charts. She appeared to be using a metaphorical analogy to explain that Winehouse made it easier for unconventional women to have mainstream pop success. The “Winehouse phenomenon” has been credited by Sebastian Danchin, author of Encyclopedia of Rhythm & Blues and Soul, of kick-starting a revival of soul music that has been ongoing since 2000. Danchin quoting Raphael Saadiq, Anthony Hamilton, and John Legend said “Amy Winehouse was produced by people who wanted to create a marketing coup. The positive side is that it reacquainted an audience with this music and played an introductory role for others. This reinvigorated the genre by overcoming the vintage aspect”.
The release of Back to Black and the emergence of Lily Allen has been credited by The Sunday Times as directly creating the market for the media proclaimed “the year of the women” in 2009 which has seen five female artists nominated for the Mercury Prize. After the album was released record companies sought out female artists with a similar sound and fearless and experimental female musicians in general. Adele and Duffy were the second wave of artists with a sound similar to Winehouse’s. A third wave of female musicians that has emerged since the album was released are led byVV Brown, Florence and the Machine, La Roux and Little Boots. In February 2010, rapper Jay-Z credited Winehouse with revitalising British music, saying, “There’s a strong push coming out of London right now, which is great. It’s been coming ever since I guess Amy (Winehouse). I mean always, but I think Amy, this resurgence was ushered in by Amy.” In March 2011 the New York Daily News ran an article attributing the continuing wave of British female artists that have been successful in the United States to Winehouse and her absence. Spin magazine music editor Charles Aaron was quoted as saying “Amy Winehouse was the Nirvana moment for all these women,” “They can all be traced back to her in terms of attitude, musical styles or fashion”. According to Keith Caulfield chart manager for Billboard “Because of Amy, or the lack thereof, the marketplace was able to get singers like Adele and Duffy,” “Now those ladies have brought on the new ones, like Eliza Doolittle,Rumer and Ellie.”
Amy Winehouse with her band backstage, March 16, 2009
Winehouse’s tour, however, did not go as well. In November 2007, the opening night of a 17-date tour was marred by booing and walkouts at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. A music critic for the Birmingham Mail said it was “one of the saddest nights of my life…I saw a supremely talented artist reduced to tears, stumbling around the stage and, unforgivably, swearing at the audience.” Other concerts ended similarly, with, for example, fans at herHammersmith Apollo performance saying that she “looked highly intoxicated throughout”, until she announced on 27 November 2007, that her performances and public appearances were cancelled for the remainder of 2007, citing doctor advice to take a complete rest. A statement issued by concert promoter Live Nation blamed “the rigours involved in touring and the intense emotional strain that Amy has been under in recent weeks” for the decision.
On 20 February 2008, Winehouse performed at the 2008 BRIT Awards, performing “Valerie” with Mark Ronson, followed by “Love Is a Losing Game”. She urged the crowd to “make some noise for my Blake.” In Paris, she performed what was described as a “well-executed 40 minute” set at the opening of a Fendi boutique. Although her father, manager and various members of her touring team reportedly tried to dissuade her, Winehouse performed at the Rock in Rio Lisboa festival in Portugal in May 2008. Although the set was plagued by a late arrival and problems with her voice, the crowd warmed to her. In addition to her own material she performed two Specials covers. Winehouse performed at Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday Party concert at London’s Hyde Park on the 27 June, and the next day at the Glastonbury Festival. On 12 July at the Oxegen Festival she performed a well-received 50 minute set which was followed the next day by a 14 song set at T in the Park. On 16 August she played at the Staffordshire leg of the V Festival, and the following day played the Chelmsford leg of the festival. Organizers said that Winehouse attracted the biggest crowds of the festival. Audience reaction was reported as mixed. On 6 September she was the headliner at ‘Bestival‘. She performed what was described as a polished set which ended with her storming off the stage. Her hour late arrival caused her set to be cut off at the halfway point due to a curfew.
In May 2009, Winehouse returned to performing at a jazz festival in Saint Lucia amid torrential downpours and technical difficulties. During her hour long set it was reported she was unsteady on her feet and had trouble remembering lyrics. She apologised to the crowd for being “bored” and ended her set by walking off the stage in the middle of a song. To a cheering crowd on 23 August at the V festival, Winehouse sang with The Specials on their songs “You’re Wondering Now” and “Ghost Town“.
In July 2010, she performed “Valerie” with Mark Ronson at a movie premiere. She sang lead but forgot some of the song’s lyrics. In October Winehouse performed a four song set to promote her fashion line. In December 2010 Winehouse played a 40 minute concert at a Russianoligarch‘s party in Moscow. Guests included other Russian tycoons and Russian show business stars. The tycoon hand picked the songs she played.
On 18 June 2011, Winehouse started her 12-leg 2011 European tour in Belgrade. Local media described her performance as a scandal and disaster, and she was booed off the stage due to her apparently being too drunk to perform. It was reported that she was unable to remember the city she was in, the lyrics of her songs or – when trying to introduce them – the names of the members of her band. The local press also claimed that Winehouse was forced to perform by her bodyguards, who didn’t allow her to leave the stage when she tried to do so. She then pulled out of performances in Istanbul and Athens which had been scheduled for the following week. On 21 June it was announced that she had cancelled all shows of her European tour and would be given “as long as it takes” to sort herself out.
Winehouse’s last public appearance took place at Camden’s Roundhouse, London on 20 July 2011, when she made a surprise guest appearance on stage to support her goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, who was singing “Mama Said” with The Wanted.
On 10 July 2008, Winehouse launched her own club night, Snakehips at the Monarch, in the Camden Monarch venue in London. Although billed as a DJ battle between her and another DJ, she stayed behind the decks swaying as another person actually played 1960s music. She appeared at another Snakehips event at the Monarch on the night of 11 September. After reportedly arriving two hours late she spun music and played a short acoustic set.
Winehouse joined a campaign to stop a block of flats being built beside the George Tavern, a famous London East End music venue. Campaign supporters feared the residential development would end the spot’s lucrative sideline as a film and photo location, on which it relies to survive. As part of a breast cancer awareness campaign, Winehouse appeared in a revealing photograph for the April 2008 issue of Easy Living magazine. Winehouse had an estimated £10m fortune, tying her for tenth place in the 2008 Sunday Times listing of the wealth of musicians under age 30. The following year her fortune had dropped to an estimated £5m. Her finances are run by Mitch and Janis Winehouse. It was reported she earned about £1m singing at two private parties duringParis Fashion Week. as well as another £1m to perform at a Moscow Art Gallery for Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Winehouse loaned a vintage dress used in her video for “Tears Dry on Their Own” as well as a DVD to the British Music Experience, a new museum dedicated to the history of British pop music. The museum, located in The O2, opened on 9 March 2009.
In January 2009 Winehouse announced that she was launching her own record label. The first act on her Lioness Records is Winehouse’s 13-year-old goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield. Her first album, featuring covers of classic soul records, was released on 12 October 2009. Winehouse is the backing singer on several tracks on the album and she performed backing vocals for Bromfield on the television programme Strictly Come Dancing on 10 October.
Winehouse and her family are the subject of a 2009 documentary shot by Daphne Barak titled Saving Amy.
Winehouse entered into a joint venture in 2009 with EMI to launch a range of wrapping paper and gift cards containing song lyrics from her album Back to Black.
On 8 January 2010 a television documentary, My Daughter Amy, aired on Channel 4.
Saving Amy was released as a paperback book in January 2010.
Winehouse has collaborated on a 17 piece fashion collection with the Fred Perry label. It was released for sale in October 2010. According to Fred Perry’s marketing director “We had three major design meetings where she was closely involved in product style selection and the application of fabric, colour and styling details,” and gave “crucial input on proportion, colour and fit”. The collection consists of “vintage-inspired looks including Capri pants, a bowling dress, a trench coat, pencil skirts, a longline argyle sweater and a pink-and-black checkerboard-printed collared shirt”.
With the paparazzi taking photographs of her wherever they could, Winehouse obtained an injunction against a leading paparazzi agency under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the resultant court order banning them from following her. Photographers were also banned from following her within 100 metres of her home and photographing Winehouse in her home or the home of her friends and family. According to a newspaper report, sources close to the singer said legal action was taken out of concern for the safety of Winehouse and those close to her.
She married on-off boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil (born August 1978), a former video production assistant, on 18 May 2007, in Miami, Florida. Fielder-Civil was a “dropout” of Bourne Grammar School, who moved to London at aged 16 from his native Lincolnshire. In a June 2007 interview, Winehouse admitted she was sometimes violent towards him when she had been drinking, stating “if he says one thing I don’t like then I’ll chin him”. In August 2007, they were photographed, bloodied and bruised, in the streets of London after an alleged fight, although she contended her injuries were self-inflicted. Equality campaigner Glenn Sacks criticised Winehouse for “bragging” about abusing her husband, noting how a male abuser would have been “locked up, stigmatised, and vilified”.
Winehouse’s parents and in-laws publicly reported their numerous concerns, citing fears that the two might commit suicide, with Fielder-Civil’s father encouraging fans to boycott her music. Fielder-Civil was quoted in a British tabloid as saying he introduced her to crack cocaine and heroin. During a visit with Mitch Winehouse at the prison in July 2008, Fielder-Civil reportedly said that they would cut themselves to ease the pain of withdrawal.
From 21 July 2008 to 25 February 2009, Fielder-Civil was imprisoned following his guilty plea on charges of trying to pervert the course of justice as well as a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent. The incident, in July 2007, involved an assault on a pub landlord that resulted in a broken cheek. According to the prosecution the landlord accepted £200,000 as part of a deal to “effectively throw the [court] case and not turn up”. The prosecution testified that the money used to pay off the landlord belonged to Winehouse, but that Winehouse pulled out of a meeting with the men involved in the plot, because she had to attend an awards ceremony.
Winehouse was spotted with aspiring actor Josh Bowman on holiday in Saint Lucia in early January 2009, saying she was “in love again, and I don’t need drugs.” She commented that the “whole marriage was based on doing drugs” and that “for the time being I’ve just forgotten I’m even married.” On 12 January, Winehouse’s spokesman confirmed that “papers have been received” for what Fielder-Civil’s solicitor has said are divorce proceedings based on a claim of adultery. On 25 February, Blake Fielder-Civil was quoted as saying that he planned to continue divorce proceedings to give himself a drug-free fresh start. In March, Winehouse was quoted in a magazine as saying, “I still love Blake and I want him to move into my new house with me – that was my plan all along … I won’t let him divorce me. He’s the male version of me and we’re perfect for each other.” Uncontested, the divorce was granted on 16 July 2009 and became final on 28 August 2009.Upon his request Fielder-Civil received no money in the settlement. She is believed to have been dating director Reg Traviss shortly before her death.
Substance abuse and mental health issues
Winehouse’s battles with substance abuse were the subject of much media attention. In various interviews, she admitted to having problems with self-harm, depression and eating disorders. In 2005, she went through a period of drinking, heavy drug use, violent mood swings and weight loss. People who saw her during the end of that year and early 2006 reported a rebound that coincided with the writing of Back to Black. Her family believes that the mid-2006 death of her grandmother, who was a stabilising influence, set her off into addiction. In August 2007, Winehouse cancelled a number of shows in the UK and Europe, citing exhaustion and ill health. She was hospitalised during this period for what was reported as an overdose of heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and alcohol.
Winehouse told a magazine that the drugs were to blame for her hospitalisation and that “I really thought that it was over for me then.” Soon after, Winehouse’s father commented that when he had made public statements regarding her problems, he was using the media because it seemed the only way to get through to her. In an interview with The Album Chart Show on British television, Winehouse said she was manic depressive and not alcoholic, adding that that sounded like “an alcoholic in denial”.
On 2 December 2007, images of the singer outside her home in the early morning hours, barefoot and wearing only a bra and jeans, appeared on the internet and in tabloid newspapers. In a statement, her spokesman blamed paparazzi harassment for the incident. The spokesman reported that the singer was in a physician-supervised programme and was channelling her difficulties by writing a lot of music. The British tabloid The Sun posted a video of a woman, alleged to be Winehouse, apparently smoking crack cocaine and speaking of having taken ecstasy and valium. Winehouse’s father moved in with her, and Island Records, her record label, announced the abandonment of plans for an American promotion campaign on her behalf. In late January 2008, Winehouse reportedly entered a rehabilitation facility for a two-week treatment program.
On 23 January 2008, the video was passed on to the Metropolitan Police, who questioned her on 5 February. No charges were brought. On 26 March 2008, Winehouse’s spokesman said she was “doing well” and denied a published report in a British tabloid that consideration was being given to having her return to rehab. Her record company reportedly believed that her recovery remained fragile. By late April 2008, her erratic behaviour, including an allegation of assault, caused fear that her drug rehabilitation efforts have been unsuccessful, leading to efforts by Winehouse’s father and manager to seek assistance in having her sectioned. Her dishevelled appearance during and after a scheduled club night in September sparked new rumours of a relapse. Photographers were quoted as saying she appeared to have cuts on her legs and arms.
In an interview released in June 2009 Winehouse’s father said the singer was in a drug replacement programme. He said she was gradually recovering but that heavy drinking was causing “slight backward steps”. A documentary shot early in 2009 shows Winehouse apparently intoxicated according to a newspaper report. Pictures published by a magazine in July 2009 upon her return to the United Kingdom from her extended stay in Saint Lucia appeared to show that Winehouse had gained weight and that her complexion was improved. In an October 2010 interview Winehouse said she had been drug-free for three years, saying “I literally woke up one day and was like, ‘I don’t want to do this any more.’”
in 2006 Winehouse admitted punching a fan in the face for criticising taking Blake Fielder-Civil as a husband. She then attacked her spouse as he attempted to calm her down, kneeing him in the crotch.
In October 2007, Winehouse and her then-husband were arrested in Bergen, Norway for possession of seven grams of marijuana. The couple were later released and fined 3850 kroner (around £350). Winehouse first appealed the fines, claiming she was “duped” into confessing, but later dropped the appeal.
On 26 April 2008, Winehouse was cautioned after she admitted to police she slapped a 38 year old man in the face, a “common assault” offence. She voluntarily turned herself in and was held overnight. Police said, at her arrival she was “in no fit state” to be interviewed. Winehouse was arrested on 7 May 2008 on suspicion of possessing drugs after a video of her apparently smoking crack cocaine was passed to the police in January, but was released on bail a few hours later because they could not confirm, from the video, what she was smoking. The Crown Prosecution Service considered charging her with possessing a controlled drug and allowing her premises to be used for the supply by others of a controlled drug, but she was cleared when the service could not establish that the substance in the video was a controlled drug. In reaction to the decision, former police commander John O’Connor said it is an “absolute scandal that nothing could be done” about Winehouse “cocking a snook at the law”. Some members of Parliament also reacted negatively. Two London residents were subsequently charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine and ecstasy to Winehouse. One of the pair was sentenced to two years in prison on 13 December 2008, while the other received a two-year community order.
On 5 March 2009, Winehouse was arrested and charged with common assault following a claim by a woman that Winehouse hit her in the eye at a September 2008 Prince’s Trust charity ball. At the same time, she was reported to have spat at the English socialite Pippa Middleton and to have headbutted a photographer. Winehouse’s spokesperson announced the singer cancelled a scheduled United States Coachella Festival appearance in “light of current legal issues”. Swearing in under her legal name of Amy Jade Civil, Winehouse appeared in court on 17 March to enter her plea of not guilty. On 23 July her assault trial began with prosecutor Lyall Thompson charging that Winehouse acted with “deliberate and unjustifiable violence” while appearing to be under the influence of alcohol or another substance. The woman, Sharene Flash, testified that Winehouse “punched me forcefully in my right eye. She used a fist, her right one.” Winehouse testified that she did not punch Flash, but tried to push Flash away from her because she was scared of Flash. Winehouse cited her worry that Flash would sell her story to a tabloid, Flash’s height advantage, and Flash’s “rude” behaviour as reasons for her fear of Flash. On the 24 July, District Judge Timothy Workman ruled that Winehouse was not guilty of the charge. Workman cited the facts that all but two of the witnesses were intoxicated at the time of the incident and that medical evidence did not show “the sort of injury that often occurs when there is a forceful punch to the eye”.
On 19 December 2009, Winehouse was arrested again on charges of common assault, plus another charge of public order offence. Winehouse assaulted the front-of-house manager of the Milton Keynes Theatre after he asked her to move from her seat. On 20 January 2010, she admitted common assault and disorderly behaviour. She was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 court costs and £100 compensation to the man she attacked.
On 23 June 2008, Winehouse’s publicist corrected earlier misstatements by Mitch Winehouse that his daughter had early stage emphysema, instead claiming she had signs of what could lead to early-stage emphysema. Mitch Winehouse had also stated that his daughter’s lungs were operating at 70 percent capacity and that she had an irregular heartbeat. Mitch Winehouse said that these problems had been caused by her chain smoking and crack cocaine use. The singer’s father also reported that doctors had warned Winehouse that, if she continued smoking crack cocaine, she would have to wear an oxygen mask and would eventually die. In a radio interview, Mitch Winehouse said the singer was responding “fabulously” to treatment, which included being covered with nicotine patches. British Lung Foundation spokesman Keith Prowse noted this type of condition could be managed with treatment. Prowse also said the condition was not normal for a person her age but “heavy smoking and inhaling other substances like drugs can age the lungs prematurely”. Norman H. Edelman of the American Lung Association explained that if she stopped smoking, her lung functions would decline at the rate of a normal person, but continued smoking would lead to a more rapid decline in lung function. Photographs of the singer with a cigarette in her mouth, taken 23 June 2008, were widely published.
Winehouse was released from The London Clinic 24 hours after returning from a temporary leave to perform at Nelson Mandela‘s 90th birthday and at a concert in Glastonbury, and continued receiving treatment as an outpatient. In July, 2008 Winehouse stated that she had been diagnosed with “some areas of emphysema” and said she is getting herself together by “eating loads of healthy food, sleeping loads, playing my guitar, making music and writing letters to my husband every day”. She also kept a vertical tanning bed in her apartment. Winehouse began precautionary testing on her lungs and chest on 25 October 2008 at the London Clinic for what was reported as a chest infection. Winehouse was in and out of the facility and was granted permission to set her own schedule regarding home leave. She returned to the hospital on 23 November 2008 for a reported reaction to her medication.
Tributes outside Amy Winehouse’s home at Camden Square on the evening of her death on 23 July 2011
At 3:54 pm BST (15:54 UTC+1) on 23 July 2011, two ambulances were called to Winehouse’s home in Camden, London. Winehouse had been found by a member of her security team and was pronounced dead at the scene. Shortly afterwards, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that she had died. A post mortem with inconclusive results was completed on 25 July, and no cause of death could be established. An inquest was adjourned to 26 October, and results of further toxicology tests will take two to four weeks. A private funeral was planned for Tuesday for friends and family. After her death was announced, media and camera crews appeared as crowds gathered near Winehouse’s residence to pay their respects. Forensic investigators entered the flat as police cordoned off the street outside.
Winehouse’s record label, Universal Republic, released a statement that read in part: “We are deeply saddened at the sudden loss of such a gifted musician, artist and performer.”
Winehouse’s dichotomous public image of critical and commercial success versus personal turmoil proved to be controversial. The New Statesman magazine called Winehouse “a filthy-mouthed, down-to-earth diva,” while Newsweek magazine called her “a perfect storm of sex kitten, raw talent and poor impulse control.” Karen Heller with The Philadelphia Inquirer summarised the maelstrom this way:
She’s only 24 with six Grammy nods, crashing headfirst into success and despair, with a codependent husband in jail, exhibitionist parents with questionable judgement, and the paparazzi documenting her emotional and physical distress. Meanwhile, a haute designer Karl Lagerfeld appropriates her dishevelled style and eating issues to market to the elite while proclaiming her the new Bardot.
By 2008, her continued drug problems threatened her career. Even as Nick Gatfield, the president of Island Records, toyed with the idea of releasing Winehouse “to deal with her problems”, he remarked on her talent, saying, “It’s a reflection of her status [in the U.S.] that when you flick through the TV coverage [of the Grammys] it’s her image they use.” Post-Grammys, some questioned whether Winehouse should have been honoured with the awards given her recent personal and drug problems, including Natalie Cole, who introduced Winehouse at the ceremony. Cole (who battled her own substance-abuse problems while winning a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1975) remarked, “I think the girl is talented, gifted, but it’s not right for her to be able to have her cake and eat it too. She needs to get herself together.” In an opinion newspaper commentary, Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said that the alleged drug habits of Winehouse and other celebrities send a bad message “to others who are vulnerable to addiction” and undermine the efforts of other celebrities trying to raise awareness of problems in Africa, now that more cocaine used in Europe passes through Africa. Winehouse’s spokesperson called Costa a “ludicrous man” and noted that “Amy has never given a quote about drugs or flaunted it in any way. She’s had some problems and is trying to get better. The U.N. should get its own house in order.” Graeme Pearson, the former head of Scotland’s drug enforcement agency, criticised Winehouse and Kate Moss for making going to rehab a badge of honour, thus giving the false impression that quitting drugs is easy, because many cannot afford to go to clinics.
Winehouse became a staple in popularity polls. The 2008 NME Awards nominated Winehouse in the categories of “Villain of the Year”, “Best Solo Artist”, and “Best Music DVD”; Winehouse won for “Worst Dressed Performer”. In its third annual list, Glamour magazine named Winehouse the third worst dressed British Woman. Winehouse was ranked number two on Richard Blackwell’s 48th annual “Ten Worst Dressed Women” list, behind Victoria Beckham. In an April 2008 poll conducted by Sky News, Winehouse was named the second greatest “ultimate heroine” by the UK population at large, topping the voting for that category of those polled under 25 years old. Psychologist Donna Dawson commented that the results demonstrate women like Winehouse who have “a certain sense of vulnerability or have had to fight against some adversity in their lives” receive recognition. Winehouse was voted the second most hated personality in the United Kingdom in a poll conducted one month later by Marketing magazine.
June 2008 brought a report that Winehouse, singing a disparaging chant about blacks, the disabled, and homosexuals, and containing racial epithets about Pakistanis and Indians, was taped by her former husband Fielder-Civil, despite assurances to her that he was not filming. Winehouse denied allegations that she was a racist, saying “I don’t want to play anything down, but I’m the leastracist person going.” Winehouse added that the film was taken during “really, really happy times.” Speaking at a discussion entitled Winehouse or White House?: Do we go too big on showbiz news? Jeff Zycinski, head of BBC Radio Scotland, said the BBC and media in general were complicit in the destruction of celebrities like Winehouse. He said that public interest in the singer’s lifestyle does not make her lifestyle newsworthy. Rod McKenzie editor of the BBC Radio One program Newsbeat replied that “If you play [Amy Winehouse’s] music to a certain demographic, those same people want to know what’s happening in her private life. If you don’t cover it, you’re insulting young license fee payers.” British singer and songwriter Lily Allen was quoted in a Scottish newspaper as saying
I know Amy Winehouse very well. And she is very different to what people portray her as being. Yes, she does get out of her mind on drugs sometimes, but she is also a very clever, intelligent, witty, funny person who can hold it together. You just don’t see that side.
London’s Mall Galleries opened an exhibition in May 2008 that included a sculpture of Winehouse, entitled Excess. The piece, created by Guy Portelli, had a miniature of the singer lying on top of acracked champagne bottle, with a pool of spilled liquid underneath. The body was covered with what appeared to be tiny pills, while one outstretched hand held a glass. Another piece, a print entitled “Celebrity 1” by artist Charlotte Suckling, was exhibited in the same exhibition. A wax sculpture of Winehouse went on display at the London Madame Tussauds on 23 July 2008. The singer did not attend the unveiling, although her parents did. A sculpture by Marco Perego, entitled “The Only Good Rock Star Is a Dead Rock Star”, that depicts Winehouse lying in a pool of blood with an apple and a bullet hole in her head after being shot by American novelist and beat poet William S. Burroughs (in a recreation of the accidental killing of his wife Joan Vollmer), was scheduled to go on display in New York’s Half Gallery on 14 November 2008. The sale price for the sculpture is listed at US $100,000. Perego said of the sculpture “Rock stars are the sacrificial animals of society.” Winehouse’s spokesperson said “It’s a funny kind of tribute. The artist seems in thrall to a tabloid persona that is not the real Amy. People often use her image to sell their work.”
Winehouse attracted a number of musical tribute acts including Paula Delany, based in Southport, Merseyside, who styled herself “Amy Housewine”.
Iconic figures that died too young …. some say self inflicted and deservedly so , whilst others would strongly disagree…. including legendary American Grunge rock singer/songwriter & Nirvana frontman – Kurt Cobain are all featured here on display at Littledean Jail alongside our True Crime, Murderabilia, Sleaze & Scandal, The bizarre and the Taboo subject matters .
brilliant track and video of Kurt and the rest of Nirvana performing “Smells like teen spirit “
below is a crime scene picture as featured in the press coverage of the day after his suicide
below is Kurt Cobain’s death certificate
Above Is Kurt’s suicide note and below a printed version
Below is the crime scene illustration
Kurt Donald Cobain (February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994) was an American singer-songwriter, musician and artist, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the grunge band Nirvana. Cobain formed Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1985 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene, having its debut album Bleach released on the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989.
After signing with major label DGC Records, the band found breakthrough success with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from its second album Nevermind(1991). Following the success of Nevermind, Nirvana was labeled “the flagship band” of Generation X, and Cobain hailed as “the spokesman of a generation”. Cobain, however, was often uncomfortable and frustrated, believing his message and artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, with his personal issues often subject to media attention. He challenged Nirvana’s audience with its final studio album In Utero (1993).
During the last years of his life, Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, illness and depression. He also had difficulty coping with his fame and public image, and the professional and lifelong personal pressures surrounding himself and his wife, musician Courtney Love. On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle, the victim of what was officially ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. The circumstances ofhis deathat age 27 have become a topic of public fascination and debate. Since their debut, Nirvana, with Cobain as a songwriter, has sold over 25 million albums in the U.S., and over 50 million worldwide.
Seattle police known to be at the scene were:
Capt. Larry Farrar
Lt. George Marberg, Lt. Al Gerdes, Lt. Ziminsky
Sgt. Don Cameron, Sgt. Jeff Getchman
Det. Jim Yoshida, Det. Steve Kirkland
Off. Joe Fewel, Off. Von Levandowski King County Medical Examiners:
Investigator Dave Delgado
Dr. Nick Hartshorne, Dr. Donald Raey
Officers who were present made very little effort to preserve the scene and document it thoroughly; arriving at 9:50am the scene was secured by 11:55am. Perhaps this was corruption or incompetence without intent, either way its negligence. These reports of the scene are clearly based on fact but inaccuracies fill the holes; inaccuracies that paint a suicidal environment.
“Nowhere in the police handling of the scene will you find any indication that the detectives were there to do anything but write up a report on the death and then get out of there… No standard
forensics testing such as fingerprint, footprint, fiber sampling, etcetera, was done at the scene.Homicide detectives were apparently willing to entertain no notion but that this was a suicide.” –Richard Lee – “No evidence, it seems, is needed to close a case of alleged self-murder.”
From the limited visual view and description the greenhouse appears clinical and does not corroborate with what Dylan Carlson and others have said; “It’s just a dirty little room.” Along with Dylan’s other statement – “I’ve never seen the house this clean before,” these testimonies lead to the suspicion of an intently ‘swept’ crime scene, a fundamental observation in every investigation implying a more complicated scenario.
Nikolas Hartshorne: “The fact that there was a suicide note left at the scene, point one. Point two: the weapon is still at the scene and point three: the nature of the injury. This was a contact shotgun wound to the mouth that required the gun to be against the decedent’s chest and with this information makes it a classic textbook example of suicide.” (VH1 Confidential) Point one – when the authenticity of the suicide note is later questioned, Hartshorne claims one factor he pronounced as being a reason in the conclusion of suicide is now “irrelevant.”
Point two and three – its logical to suggest that in the reconstruction of a ‘textbook’ suicide the perpetrate[s] would manipulate the crime scene fabricating the essentials, and certainly in this scene all the artifacts are ideally placed. This is no basis at all to conclude a verdict of suicide without consideration of other variables and inconsistencies present. – ‘The perfect assassination looks like suicide’
3D Crime Scene Diagram
This model is not to scale, it is directly deduced from the information provided in the police reports documenting where items were located. Polaroid and 35mm cameras were used to document the scene. The films have never been developed, and to a much lesser extent the polaroids never released – “We don’t develop photographs on suicides.” Sgt. Cameron.
Therefore the only discernible information about the crime scene is from police reports and witness accounts.(Click on the diagram for an enlarged view, please discern the fact this diagram does not take into account the pitched roof).
Excerpt from the Follow Up Report:
The significance of the shotgun being inverted (trigger and magazine trap door pointing up) is that it places the ejection port (where the spent shell is ejected from when fired) to Kurt’s right(south). Yet the spent shell was documented as being found to Kurt’s left (north). Why? Visual 3D Reference
This scenario seems to defy the physics of when a gun is fired, the trappings of assimilation with some fundamental errors; It is to be believed the shotgun rotated 180° (while remaining in Kurt’s left hand which was found clutching the barrell, due to rigor), and also remained ideally positioned, resting parallel on Kurt’s chest directed toward his chin. Keep this in mind – “The barrel of this shotgun retracts 3” as it automatically loads the next shell into the chamber.” – (Tom Grant, p.38)
On a side related issue, in this picture it’s possible to presumably see the butt of the shotgun between Kurt’s legs as stated in the police reports.
THE NOTE LOCATION:
“Gary Smith, who happens to be a journeyman electrician with no alcohol or drugs or criminal record in his background, also reports that a note was clearly visible by the body, so clear that he could read: “I Love You… I Love You” through the french windows. When the details filtered out to the press it seemed as if Kurt had placed the note in a planter box with a pen stuck through it (as reflected in the police reports). In reality the police photographer moved it across the room to get a better shot of it and failed to photograph it in it’s exact original position near the body.”
– A passage taken from Hank Harrison’s book, Beyond Nirvana, p54.
This apparently originates from conversation between Grant and Smith, which Grant later divulged to Harrison.
The importance being Smith’s testimony is an eye witness illustration of police tampering with material evidence.
MISINFORMED SUICIDAL TRAITS:
Although these factors all seem small, they were widely proliferated around the death of Kurt and had an impact by misleading people to draw conclusions as to what had happened on false facts.
1.) Namely the positioning of a stool. It was reported at the time Kurt had barricaded himself inside the room: Police narrative: “There are stairs on the west side leading to the french door entry and another set of french doors on the east side which lead to a balcony. These doors are unlocked and closed but there is a stool with a box of gardening supplies on it in front of the door.” – “Off. Levandowski observed the french doors at the opposite end of the room were blocked by a stool; preventing access.”
This factor should have been of little relevance, the stool was only sitting infront of an unlocked set of doors that led to a balcony. Not only that, but the eastern french doors open outwards onto the balcony, this makes the notion of a barricade (suggesting nobody could leave) completely irrelevant; an assailant could exit and draw the stool up close to the door before shutting it.
The west entrance french doors were not blocked; Although locked, this was a simple twist lockwhich can be locked prior to leaving. Tom Grant’s explanation
April 15th, Grant met with Sgt. Cameron to discuss his suspicions and mentioned the lock on the western door does not qualify in concluding Kurt was alone, to which Cameron replied – “There was a stool wedged up against the door” – False. The misconstrued media myth of a barricade prevailed.
2.) A recognised mannerism in violent suicide is to leave a form of identification readily available. It was reported by the media that Kurt had infact left his wallet open displaying his drivers license. This is completely untrue, in reality the closed wallet was opened by an officer – “SFD asked for I.D. from the nearby wallet, and I opened the wallet which was within a couple of feet of the victims body. Inside I found a Washington state drivers license in the name of Cobain, Kurt Donald DOB/022067″.
3.) Reports documenting a crime scene should be described factually, without bias and final conclusions. In this case it obviously wasn’t; the note left at the scene was claimed to incite suicide and was written to Courtney and Frances explaining “why he had killed himself”. These remarks were pronounced before a clear evaluation could have been made and were taken as fact.
These small points which indicate manipulation of the factual crime scene were leaked to the hungry media and deceptively confirmed this as a suicide in retrospect.
_______________________________________________________________________________ BLOOD POOL?
According to police reports there was “obvious trama” to the head but no exit wound, resulting in“a large drying puddle of blood to the left of the victim.”– Was the volume of blood ever seriously evaluated in relation to the nature of the injury? Gary Smith who initially mistook the body for a mannequin because it looked so neat only realised the situation when he noticed blood in the right ear. Does this picture sound feasible for a shotgun wound to the head suicide? Clearly we have no pictures that display whether the pool was sufficient or non-sufficient for the type of wound made this is merely an assumption based upon Smith’s perception.
In the case of a gunshot wound to the head the wound continues to issue copious amounts of blood for a short period due to the autonomic function of the heart. There are other factors this is reliant upon such as the angle of the shot, all of which we do not yet know, inclusive of the autospy report.
This is best demonstrated by Bud Dwyer, who committed suicide on camera during a press conference (viewer discretion is advised, this is vivid imagery). The comparative lack of blood for this type of trauma is an indication that the gunshot might have been administered post-mortem, the heart had already stopped; the result of a lethal dosage of heroin, and possibly blood coagulation already begun. The supposition that no exit wound would result in a lack of blood is false, as seen in Bud Dwyer’s case the exit wound is irrelevant to the volume of blood lost. In addition the destruction to the palette of the mouth would be comparatively larger when factoring in a shotgun.
This scenario would either assume corruption on the part of the medical examiner who performed the autospy; Nikolas Hartshorne, or severe incompetence, as the picture is very different if a wound is delivered post death. The question being could the perpetrate[s] foreshadow a non-investigation by the police unless they knew someone had the power to cover it up beforehand?
It is very possible the shotgun wound was administered while Kurt was under sedation, in this case the cause of death would be a perforating shotgun wound to the mouth.
Just something to consider…
Contents of Cigar Box “The cigar box contained narcotics paraphernalia (syringes, burnt spoons, cotton, and small pieces of what looks like black tar).”
Featured in the picture is the open Tom Moore Cigar Box, along with the wallet and towels
Contents of Kurts front pant pockets:
• a piece of note paper with “Seattle Guns, 145 & Lake City” written on it. Another note which read; “Remington 20 gauge, 2 3/4 shells or shorter, set up for light load, 1088925.”
• an address book and miscellaneous papers.
• a copy of a Delta plane ticket, #788F. Dated 4/1/94, seat 2F, in the name of Cobain/Kurt. Pocket of the brown corduroy jacket:
• Receipt for the purchase of the Remington 20 gauge shotgun dated 3/30/94.
THE SEEMINGLY ALWAYS DRINK, DRUGS AND DEBAUCHED FUELLED WORLD OF A GREAT MANY OF OUR ICONIC TABLOID FAVOURITES…… MANY OF WHOM WE COVER AND TOUCH UPON WITHIN OUR DIVERSE MEMORABILIA COLLECTIONS HERE AT OUR POLITICALLY INCORRECT …. LITTLEDEAN JAIL
BELOW …. HERE IS SOME INTERACTIVE BACKGROUND FOOTAGE BEHIND SOME OF THE TABLOID SENSATIONALIST HEADLINES OF JUST A FEW OF THOSE WE COVER HERE
CELEBRITY SLEAZE AND SCANDAL HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL…..AND MUCH MUCH MORE
ICONIC ….NOW TRAGICALLY DECEASED AMY WINEHOUSE SEEN HERE ON A SEEMINGLY DOWNWARD SPIRAL ON DRUGS WITH FRIEND – PETE DOHERTY
Here at the jail we have long featured various exhibition displays and tabloid sensationalism of the controversial , drink and drug fuelled world of both Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty as well as a great many other well known celebrities and music icons