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Fri Apr 25 00:20:04 SAST 2014

New Winehouse death inquest launched after coroner found to be unqualified

Sapa-AFP | 18 December, 2012 10:28
The late singer Amy Winehouse in London on March 17, 2009.
Image by: Oli Scarff / Getty Images

A new inquest into the death of troubled British singer Amy Winehouse will be held in January after it emerged that the original coroner was not qualified for the job, an official said Monday.

The Grammy award-winner was found dead at her north London home in July 2011 following years of drug and alcohol addiction. She was 27.

At an inquest in October 2011, coroner Suzanne Greenaway delivered a verdict of death by misadventure after hearing that Winehouse was more than five times over the drink-drive limit when she died.

But Greenaway resigned from her job a month later when an investigation revealed that she did not have the requisite experience for the role.

Greenaway, who had previously worked as a lawyer in Australia, was appointed to the job by her husband, Andrew Reid, who was coroner for inner north London, in July 2009.

Under British law she would have required five years' experience as a qualified medical or legal practitioner in Britain to become a coroner -- neither of which she had.

Reid, who was suspended earlier this year, resigned from his position last week after the Office for Judicial Complaints launched disciplinary proceedings against him.

A new hearing into Winehouse's death will be held at St Pancras Coroner's Court on January 8, said a spokesman for the Camden Council local authority, adding that the hearing was scheduled to last no more than an hour-and-a-half.

A spokesman for the singer's family said they did not ask for the second inquest and expect the verdict to remain the same.

"The family were happy with the way the original inquest was conducted and did not request it to be reheard," he said.

"This seems to be a matter of procedure and the verdict is not expected to change."

The initial inquest in London heard that the "Back to Black" singer was poisoned by alcohol when she suddenly drank heavily after abstaining for three weeks.

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Fri Apr 25 00:20:04 SAST 2014 ::