Thursday, October 27, 2011

Amy Winehouse: the inquest

So, now we all know what has been known by the people who the never-less-than-bungling Met Police accidentally sent the details to : what killed Amy Winehouse.

Yesterday's inquest heard she'd drunk a lot; the coroner recorded a misadventure verdict.

A chance for the press to take a moment to show a spot of decorum?

Surprisingly, the Express almost manages to just report the inquest straight, only letting itself down by slapping in a crappy video which cuts from a jaunty neon parping bumper into footage of Winehouse's body being hauled out of the house.

Both the Mail and Mirror fixate on a line from Amy's doctor:

Amy Winehouse inquest: I don't want to die - what singer told doctor night before her death
says the Mirror;
I don't want to die: Amy's word hours before being found dead at five times drink-drive limit
trumpets the Mail.

The line was recounted to show that Winehouse wasn't feeling suicidal, but both papers attempt to wring some tragedy out it, more-or-less implying that it was famous last words. The Mail smudges it the most, as you'll spot from the headlines. When did Amy say this, Daily Mail?
GP Christina Romete, who saw the singer hours before her death, said she did not believe Miss Winehouse had deliberately drunk herself to death.

She said she had told her: ‘I do not want to die… I have not achieved a lot of the things I wanted.’
The Mirror is more honest about this:
She suffered alcohol poisoning but had told her doctor the night before: “I don’t want to die.”
The Daily Mail's "hours" appears to be "more than twenty-four", which most people would call "the previous day" unless they were trying to spice up a report of a young woman's death.

The most stridently ill-judged tone, naturally, comes from The Sun. For them it's a story so lurid, they have to tell it twice. First a staff reporter has a go:
Amy Winehouse was five times the drink-drive limit
Tragic star went on fatal booze binge, inquest finds
But in case that wasn't making enough out of it, Tom Wells had another try at the story:
3-day vodka binge killed frail Amy Winehouse
Star 5 times drive limit
A three day binge? But didn't she her doctor hours - sorry, a day - before? On day two of a binge? How was she? As Wells report admits:
She last saw Amy at 7pm the night before she died. Dr Romete said: "She was calm, she was coherent. She was tipsy I would say, but she didn't slur and was able to hold a full conversation."
Forty-eight hours into a bender.

That's the inquest system for you: the coroner establishes the facts, then the tabloids come round and muddy them again.


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