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Police Reopen Investigation of Jimi Hendrix’s Death

December 11, 1993

LONDON (AP) _ Scotland Yard has reopened the investigation of the death of rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, 23 years after he died from an apparent drug overdose.

The attorney general’s office said it sought the inquiry following a request from an individual, whom it would not identify, for a new investigation.

The original inquest recorded an open verdict, meaning there was insufficient evidence of the cause of death. A pathologist concluded that Hendrix choked to death after drinking and taking an overdose of barbituates.

″Scotland Yard so far has been requested by the Crown Prosecution Service to conduct inquiries into the circumstances of the death of Jimi Hendrix,″ Scotland Yard spokeswoman Carol Bewick said Saturday.

Hendrix died in London on Sept. 18, 1970, after leaving the message ″I need help bad, man″ on his manager Chas Chandler’s answering machine. He was 27.

The Daily Mail said the plea for a new inquest came from one of Hendrix’s former girlfriends, Kathy Etchingham, who commissioned a private investigation. Etchingham told the newspaper that the original inquiry’s non- committal findings were inadequate.

″I don’t think it should have happened. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people,″ she was quoted as saying.

Hendrix apparently took the fatal dose of pills in the west London apartment of his girlfriend, former skating champion Monika Danneman, and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Danneman, 48, said Saturday that she didn’t know why Etchingham wanted to dig up the past but that the police would find ″what I said at the inquest was the truth. It’s important, too, for the fans to know what really happened.″

The morning he died, Danneman said she thought he was sleeping, ″so I got my breakfast and had a wash, and went to get some cigarettes because we had run out.

″When I came back he was still sleeping. I looked at him closely and then I could see something was wrong,″ she recalled.

Noel Redding, bass player for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, said he always found his friend’s death mysterious.

″We took drugs, but who takes nine downers and drinks a bottle of wine?″ Redding told BBC Radio 4.

Redding said his suspicions were fueled when conlicting claims came to light about how and when an ambulance was summoned, and whether anyone was with Hendrix when he took the pills.

″The supposition is now that he died much earlier and supposedly someone, whoever that is, tried to cover it up,″ Redding said. His recordings still sell some 3 million copies a year worldwide.

Hendrix produced just five albums in his lifetime. But since his death more than 300 have been compiled from recordings of live performances and jam sessions.

Hendrix epitomized the ’60s era of ″sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll″ with his unique blend of innovative style, soul and technical sophistication.

His wild appearance and uninhibited stage act, which included playing his guitar with his teeth, catapulted him to fame in 1967 with his first hit, ″Hey Joe.″

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