LONDON – An inquest into Amy Winehouse’s death has been opened and adjourned until October 26, a London coroner said Monday, as a lengthy investigation into the singer’s death begins in Britain.
Earlier Monday, Winehouse’s body was identified by her parents and is expected to be released to her family shortly so that they can prepare for a funeral.
Sharon Duff, a coroner at St Pancras Coroner’s Court in North London, said that a “Section 20” postmortem had been carried out on the body of the 27-year old singer, who died Saturday, but Duff did not disclose any of its findings.
In British postmortem cases where a sudden death is deemed not suspicious and the Coroner believes that no inquest is necessary, he or she can order a Section 19 Post Mortem under the terms of the 1988 Coroner’s Act in Britain.
A Section 20 postmortem, as Winehouse had, however, implies that the Coroner believes “there is reasonable cause to suspect that a person has died a violent or unnatural death or in any other way which would require an inquest,” according to guidelines. It suggests that the authorities are mounting a more lengthy and serious investigation into the circumstances around Winehouse’s death, although the Coroner also reported that at the scene had been investigated by police and “determined non-suspicious.”
At a brief two-minute hearing on Monday, Duff told St Pancras Coroner’s Court:
“I bring before you the death of Amy Jade Winehouse aged 27, born on the 14th September 1983 in London. She was a divorced woman living in Camden Square NW1. She was certified dead at her home by a paramedic and a doctor on July 23. She was a singer songwriter at the time of her death and was identified by her family here at St Pancras this morning. A section 20 post mortem has been carried out and histology and toxicology taken to determine the cause of death. The scene was investigated by police and determined non-suspicious.”
Assistant Deputy Coroner Suzanne Greenaway also said: “I’m formally opening this inquest. I’m issuing interim certificates to allow Miss Winehouse’s family to make arrangements for the funeral.”