During 1991-92, Jimi's British girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham, compiled a lot of new information about the death of Hendrix and submitted her files to England's Attorney General's office. Then in September 1992, Straight Ahead magazine published an article of mine titled The Etchingham/Mitchell Files. This was the first published account of the new details regarding Jimi's death. It was an explosive article,
containing first-ever interviews with the ambulance attendants who retrieved Jimi's
body on the morning of September 18, 1970. Incredibly, the two attendants,
Reg Jones and John Saua, had never before been interviewed nor questioned about
Jimi's death. Their identities were unknown to researchers until Kathy Etchingham
and Dee Mitchell tracked them down in England in 1991.
My article in Straight Ahead in September 1992 also contained the first
published interview with Dr. Martin Siefert. Siefert had tended to Jimi's dead body
upon its arrival at the hospital. My article also included new testimony from Officer
Ian Smith, who was present at the death scene.
In December 1992, three months after The Etchingham/Mitchell Files. was published, Straight Ahead ran an interview I conducted with Kathy Etchingham titled
Why Take Five Hours To Call An Ambulance? In this interview, Kathy's statements
frame the key issues that had come to light about Jimi's death as a result of the new
testimony from the ambulance attendants and Dr. Seifert. The evidence suggests that
Hendrix was fighting for his life much earlier in the morning on his last day than
everyone had been led to believe by Monika Dannemann, the girl Jimi was with when
he died. Incredibly, for two decades Monika was the single person upon whose
testimony everyone had relied for the story of Jimi's death.
Why Take Five Hours To Call An Ambulance? contains key information about
the toxicologist's report concerning rice grains that were found in Jimi's stomach
during autopsy. Kathy had interviewed the toxicologist and discovered that
descriptions of the partially digested rice grains in the autopsy report suggest Jimi
died much earlier in the morning than was previously thought.
In February 1993, two months after Why Take Five Hours To Call An Ambulance? came out, Straight Ahead published my follow-up article titled
Christians In Rome At this point, throughout the world, only four articles had been
published detailing the new information about Jimi's death, and three of them were
written by me. My three articles spearheaded the tip of an iceberg that became a
In November 1993, Scotland Yard announced that British officials had
agreed to investigate the death of Hendrix. Their decision was based on the information
that Kathy presented a year earlier to the Attorney General. The announcement made
front-page headlines around the world: "Hendrix Death Case Re-Opened!" A frenzy of
reports deluged the airwaves.
On Thursday, December 16, 1993, London's newspaper Mail On Sunday
dispatched a reporter named Sharon Churcher to see me in Rochester, New York (USA).
We spent the day together going over details and information regarding the Scotland Yard
"How do you know about my involvement?" I asked Sharon during our taped
"From an anonymous source," she replied.
"I write and consult for the official Hendrix production company in Hollywood,"
I told her.
"I know you do, I was told about you from one of my best industry sources, who
frankly said you are the Oracle."
"Well," I said, "there were only four articles that were published, and I'd written
three of them, the most concise descriptions. The last one I wrote sums up
what's at stake and points out discrepancies in Eric Burdon's testimony
[about Jimi's death] and Monika Dannemann's testimony. It's titled
Christians In Rome"
"You were very gutsy to do this given the libel laws," Sharon told me. "I'd be
terrified. Everyone's been frightened for years of libel. What we want to do
in the Mail On Sunday is a big wrap-up piece on the whole thing and how
it's been re-opened. Have you talked to anyone in London?"
"Yes, Scotland Yard, I've been helping them out and passing along information."
"I can't tell you my sources," Sharon said, "but I was told by somebody who
knows this case that they owe everything to you."
SEE MOVIE CLIP OF MY CONVERSATION WITH SHARON:
It was my Christians In Rome article that tipped the scale in favor of British
authorities deciding to investigate the information about Jimi's death. Since I was the
writer for the official production company for Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced? Ltd.,
my readership was exceeding six million people worldwide because of my booklets
included with official Hendrix CDs. Kathy Etchingham was wise to enlist my involvement
in her efforts to bring news of Jimi's death to the attention of British authorities, because after my articles were published, London's Attorney General's office believed that the facts surrounding Jimi's death in Britain were being scrutinized and publicized in an official way by the "estate" of Hendrix (I worked for the official Hendrix production company). And my articles expressed anger, pointing with resentment to "an inept British inquest" which botched the original police inquiry into the circumstances of Jimi's death. My Christians In Rome article ends with a plea for people to write letters and demand a proper investigation. British officials took notice.
Because my article for Straight Ahead included a mailing address for British
authorities, the charges I'd made came to the attention of England's Attorney General, Sir
Nicholas Lyell. British officials saw that I was the writer for the official Hendrix company. They realized that Kathy Etchingham, Jimi's girlfriend who gathered evidence about his death, was not acting alone and without access to the media. Through me, the writer for
the "estate," Scotland Yard and the Attorney General sensed that what we said about their
treatment of Jimi's death would be circulated worldwide.
Christians In Rome made accusations against an "inept British inquest setting
the stage for Jimi's media crucifixion." Framing Jimi's death in terms unflattering to
British police work, and spreading these charges to an international audience, was one
thing. But having this come from me - the writer for the Hendrix company - put things
in a different light. Since I was angry, British authorities perceived that Jimi's estate was angry.
Pressure to stage an official 1993 investigation mounted in response to my article.
To save face, the authorities had to look into my charges of British ineptness. It was a
matter of pride and honor; hence the widely publicized winter 1993-'94 Scotland Yard
investigation into the death of Hendrix.
The February 1996 cover story of Musician magazine is an expose of research
surrounding Jimi's death. Almost all of the points in the story had long ago been reported
in the early 1990s. But this 1996 Musician article titled "Killing Floor" contained several key insights and connections that were discovered by me. And Musician claimed to be unaware of my work. I wasn't credited in their article.
When their story about Jimi's death came out in January 1996, I sent the following
letter to Musician. The magazine's editor refused to print this when they ran reply letters about their Hendrix story in two subsequent issues...