21 Jul 2009

Hendrix murder theory plausible, says attending doctor

9:33 pm on 21 July 2009

An Australian doctor who failed to revive Jimi Hendrix in a London hospital nearly four decades ago believes it was possible the guitar legend was murdered.

John Bannister has backed claims made in a new book on Hendrix suggesting the rock star was killed on the orders of his manager Mike Jeffery in September 1970.

Author James "Tappy" Wright, a roadie who worked for Mr Jeffery, claims in his book Rock Roadie that Hendrix's manager hired a gang to break into the star's London hotel room and force pills and wine down his throat.

Mr Bannister, who lives in Sydney but was deregistered as an orthopaedic surgeon in New South Wales for fraudulent conduct in 1992, was the on-call registrar at St Mary Abbots Hospital when Hendrix was brought in on 18 September 1970, drenched in alcohol.

Mr Bannister told The Times in Britain he believed Mr Wright's version of what had happened to Hendrix that night "sounded plausible because of the volume of wine".

"The amount of wine that was over him was just extraordinary," he told the newspaper. "Not only was it saturated right through his hair and shirt but his lungs and stomach were absolutely full. I have never seen so much.

"He had already vomited up masses of red wine and I would have thought there was half a bottle of wine in his hair. He had really drowned in a massive amount of red wine."

At the time, doctors recorded that the 27-year-old rock star had died from choking on vomit after a drugs overdose.