LONDON – British police said Monday they will review the death of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, whose 1969 drowning was ruled an accident but sparked decades of speculation that he was murdered.
Sussex police in southeast England said they will examine new documents received from an investigative journalist relating to Jones' death.
"It's too early to comment at this time as to what the outcome might be," the Sussex duty inspector said, reading a statement over the telephone. Police did not give further details.
The Mail on Sunday reported that journalist Scott Jones — who is not related to the musician — has handed over 600 documents to Sussex police.
Brian Jones, one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones, stood out even among his bandmates for his flashy clothes and prodigious appetite for drugs. He died July 2, 1969 at age 27, his body found in the swimming pool at his 11-acre (4.5-hectare) Sussex estate, just a month after he left the band.
A coroner said Jones drowned while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but the ruling did not quiet speculation that Jones' death was not an accident.
Two 1994 books claimed that Jones was murdered by a London builder who had been hired to help renovate Jones' home: "Paint it Black: The Murder of Brian Jones," by Geoffrey Guiliano and "Who Killed Christopher Robin?" by Terry Rawlings.
Both claimed that builder Frank Thorogood confessed on his deathbed in November 1993 to killing Jones to a road manager for the Stones.
"It was me that did Brian. I just finally snapped," Thorogood reportedly said to road manager Tom Keylock, Rawlings' book quoted Keylock as saying.
It was not clear why British police did not reopen an investigation after the books were published.
Keylock died in July 2009, according to the British newspaper, The Times.
Scott Jones interviewed Janet Lawson, the person who discovered the guitarist's body, shortly before she died last year. In the interview, published in The Mail on Sunday last November, Lawson claimed that her boyfriend, the Rolling Stones tour manager Keylock, had asked her to visit Brian Jones as he was worried about tensions between Jones and Thorogood.
She told the investigative reporter that she saw Jones and Thorogood fooling about in the pool, and later saw Thorogood come into the house, shaking badly.
She told Scott Jones her original police statement did not mention any tensions between Jones and Thorogood.
"The police were trying to put words into my mouth," she is reported as saying.
Brian Jones was credited as an early driving force in the band, but his influence diminished as bandmates Mick Jagger and Keith Richards began focusing on their original songs and away from blues covers.
The title of Rawlings' book is a reference to Jones' estate, which was formerly the home of the late author A.A. Milne, author of "Winnie the Pooh," which features the character Christopher Robin.