The doctor who attempted to revive Jimi Hendrix on the night that the guitarist died believes that it is “plausible” that he was murdered.
John Bannister said that medical evidence was consistent with claims in a book that Hendrix was killed on the orders of his manager, Mike Jeffery.
James “Tappy” Wright, a former road manager who worked for Jeffery, writes in his new memoir, Rock Roadie, that in the early hours of September 18, 1970, a gang hired by Jeffery broke into the London hotel room where Hendrix was staying with his girlfriend, Monika Dannemann, and forced sleeping pills and wine down his throat until he drowned.
Mr Bannister was the on-call registrar at the now defunct St Mary Abbots Hospital in Kensington on the morning that Hendrix was brought in. He had no idea who the famous patient was but remembers that he was “very long.” Mr Bannister, 67, speaking at his home in Sydney, said: “He was hanging over the table we had him on by about ten inches.”
It was apparent from the start that Hendrix had probably arrived too late for the medical staff to save him. “When you are in casualty, one always tries very hard to resuscitate people. There’s always a hope. We worked very hard for about half an hour but there was no response at all. It really was an exercise in futility,” said Mr Bannister. “Somebody said to me ‘You know who that was?'. That was Jimi Hendrix’ and, of course, I said, ‘Who’s Jimi Hendrix?’.”
Mr Wright’s description of what had happened to Hendrix “sounded plausible because of the volume of wine”, Mr Bannister said. What struck him most about the unusually tall patient was that he was drenched in alcohol. “The amount of wine that was over him was just extraordinary. Not only was it saturated right through his hair and shirt but his lungs and stomach were absolutely full of wine. I have never seen so much wine. We had a sucker that you put down into his trachea, the entrance to his lungs and to the whole of the back of his throat.