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This is one of a series of posts I have written on Hendrix’s mysterious death, there are links to the other posts at the end of this one.
Monika Dannemann was a figure skater and painter from Germany and the daughter of a wealthy German industrialist. She certainly isn’t popular among friends and fans of Hendrix, I’ve seen her referred to as “The skater from hell” “that Bitch” and simply “That Blonde Chick”.
She claims to have been engaged to Hendrix and to have had an 18 month relationship with him, but many people dispute this. After Hendrix she became romantically involved with The Scorpions guitarist Ulrich Roth who she collaborated on several songs with and painted the art work for some of his albums. She also painted many pictures of Hendrix, some have described her house as some kind of eerie shrine to him and she wrote a book about him that went unpublished because of a legal battle over slanderous claims she made about Cathy Etchingham (Hendrix’s real girl friend for 2 years) in it.
Monika Dannemann’s account of what happened the night before Hendrix died and at the time of his death is the most commonly heard version of events. The media have touted it for years and I believed it, until I started to look into what other people, like the medical professionals who performed the autopsy and the Ambulance men who picked him up say. The two versions of events are alarmingly different and raise a number of questions about who Dannemann actually was and what her intentions toward Hendrix really were.
First let me introduce you to Monika’s chain of events the Night Hendrix died:
I’ve read the location of Hendrix’s death described as a “Squalid Flat” and “Hotel Room” it was actually the basement apartment of the Samarkand Hotel, 22 Lansdowne crescent London, which was being rented in Dannemann’s name as far as I can ascertain. One account says Hendrix went to see Devon Wilson that night, but Dannemeann claims she drove him there and he only stayed a few minutes and they were back at her flat by 8:30pm. She says she made him eat a meal and they drank White Wine, he then had a bath and washed his hair. They then spent a couple of hours talking an listening to music. At 1:30am Jimi rang Chas Chandlers Office and left a poignant message of “I need help bad, man”, but Dannemann never mentions this and others have tried to say it happened on a different night.
Then at 1:45 am Dannemann claims Hendrix suddenly told her he wanted to go and see some people at another flat she says he said “They were not his friends and he did not like them but he wanted to show them he could cope. He told me he didn’t want me to go with him so I dropped him off there and picked him up an hour later about 3am”. He smoked some grass while he was there and when he came home she made him a tuna fish sandwich.
Then there is a sudden divergence from her original account (I believe taken from her unpublished book), she says at 6am that something is wrong, that Devon has “slipped him an OD”. Then by his own free will he took a handful of sleeping pills (9 vesperax to be exact, those are a type of seconal, I’m going to write another post on just how lethal those babies were) the normal dose was half a pill, Hendrix normally took 2 as he had a notoriously high tolerance to drugs like barbiturates. He then apparently urged her not to commit suicide (which seems like a weird thing to say, but seconals were hypnotic so they possibly could have made him start saying weird shit). He then carried on talking to her until she was asleep. But in another account she doesn’t mention this at all she just says she took one sleeper 6:45 and fell asleep at 7am.
Sometime after 10:00am Chas Chandler apparently called Hendrix having received his message and Hendrix says “call me a bit later man”. At 10:20 Dannemann wakes up finds Hendrix asleep and goes out for cigarettes. When she returns she finds Hendrix still asleep but has been sick, so she rings Eric Burdon from the Animals (which again seems strange) to ask for advice. He apparently initially hung up on her but then called back and told her to call and ambulance, she thought about it for another 40 minutes, apparently in case he woke up in hospital angry because he was fine really. She didn’t call an ambulance until 11:00am for whatever reason, the ambulance men arrive and put him in the ambulance sitting up with his head unsupported, she claims she rode with him in the Ambulance and he was pronounced DOA at St Mary Abbots Hospital having choked on his vomit.
But here is what the medical evidence says happened:
At the inquest Doctors stated that Hendrix had been dead at least 7 hours before the ambulance arrived, Dr Rufus Compson at the department for forensic medicine at St George’s medical school started his own investigation and discovered rice remains in Hendrix’s stomach. He explained it take 3 to 4 hours for the stomach to empty and he reasoned that since Hendrix had eaten at a dinner party hosted by Pete Cameron between 11:00am and 12:00pm (which Dannemann never mentions, she says Hendrix didn’t go out until 1:45) he placed the time of death no later than 4am. Dr Bannister the surgical registrar reported the “inside of Hendrix’s mouth and the mucus membranes were black because he had been dead for some time”. He also told the London Times “Hendrix had been dead for hours rather than minutes when he was admitted to hospital”.
And Here’s what the Ambulance Men say they found when they got to flat:
The two men arrived to find the flat empty except for Hendrix lying in a mess on the bed already dead with a scarf or some other article of clothing knotted around his neck. They say they tried to revive him as is standard procedure then wrapped up the body put it in the ambulance and drove to the hospital where he was pronounced DOA.
So Danneman wasn’t even there when the Ambulance arrived let alone riding in the Ambulance with him, and all this nonsense about his death being something to do with how the Ambulance men laid him down are untrue as he was already well dead by the time he was even in an Ambulance.
The big question is what was Dannemann hiding? If Jeffrey and his mobsters really did come round and kill him she must have witnessed it or even been involved. I notice too she kept feeding him, could she have been lacing this food with the barbiturates they found in his blood? They normally came in capsules filled with powder so it would have been easy to do. Also where did she go before the Ambulance arrived? And why did she claim she was still there? And why have the media swallowed her version of events so readily for so many years?
I’d like to ask her but unfortunately she’s dead, she was found in her fume filled Mercedes a couple of days after losing her court battle with Cathy Etchingham I mentioned earlier. The verdict was suicide, but was it really? or was someone afraid she would finally start telling the truth after all these years?
Or the more boring truth could simply be Hendrix stayed in her flat alone that night and she was simply a bit of a delusional woman who invented this whole story to draw attention to herself. She did make quite life for herself out of giving interviews about the 18 months she claims she spent with Hendrix and he was subject of many of her paintings. Anyone could have made the 999 call for an ambulance no one really knows for sure it was Dannemann we only have her word for it. And as we can see her word was never really very reliable.
Monika’s Previously Unpublished Book about her time with Jimi Hendrix Available On Amazon now.
My sources for this post were “Jimi Hendrix Death, Drugs and rock and roll” By Jim McClusky, “It’s like trying to get out of a room full of mirrors” researched by Bill Henderson and chapter seven of “The Covert War Against Rock” by Alex Constantine (interesting book I’m currently reading and will review shortly.)
This is one of a series of posts about Hendrix’s death I have written the others are: