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Posted by WRH on June 09, 1999 at 20:29:33:
from the Undercover Mailing List:
Who murdered the first Stone?;
Thirty years ago, Brian Jones was found dead in his pool.
Today, for the first time, his girlfriend names the killer,
I KNOW HE LEFT BRIAN TO DIE, REVIEW
By Anna Wohlin
Anna Wohlin, a young Swedish girl living in London, met Brian Jones in 1967 at the Speakeasy Club. Their love affair blossomed, and Jones asked her to move with him to his idyllic farmhouse in Sussex, where he hoped to escape drugs and plan a future beyond the Rolling Stones the band he had founded.
Today, in this first gripping extract from her autobiography, Anna reveals the full story of the night their dream was tragically, and murderously, cut short . . .
Although it is almost 30 years since Brian drowned in our swimming pool, I still wake up in the night in a cold sweat and with a thumping heart. In my dreams, I can see Brian fall to the bottom, out of my reach. I keep ducking down into the water, trying to get hold of him. Each time I push nearer he falls deeper into the dark, abysmal depths. In the months following the most horrible night of my life, when I pulled Brian up from the bottom of the swimming pool, I constantly woke up crying. In the years since Brian's death I have done my best to repress the memories. But I have always known that I have the information that, after 30 years, will help solve the mystery surrounding Brian's death.
I was intimidated into silence, but I am not scared any more. I want to tell the truth while there is still time.
Brian and I were living at Cotchford Farm, magical house in Sussex once owned by A.A.
Milne Winnie The Pooh became a favourite of ours, and Brian often quoted it me. Brian had
had a bad time with drugs, but at Cotchford Farm they weren't a
big part of his life. Once, when he summoned up the courage tell the rest of the Stones he was leaving the band, Keith gave him a present of a small packet of cocaine. By then, Brian's body was so unused to it that he reacted badly. Instead, he revelled in the garden and the music room. We had a good life. Brian said he liked the taste of dust; I knew what he meant.
We weren't alone. There was a housekeeper, Mrs Hallett, and there was Frank Thorogood. I was introduced to Frank on my first Monday at Cotchford Farm. My first impression was that he was a hard man, but he had a gentle face. He was in his mid-forties, tall and muscular with reddish-brown hair and a moustache.
Brian told me Frank was married but lived in the apartment above Brian's garage on weekdays.
I wasn't sure about Frank's position in the house. He behaved as if he owned the place, and I got the impression that Brian and Frank were old friends. After a couple of days, I asked Brian about Frank. He explained that Frank had been commissioned by Rolling Stones Incorporated to restore the farmhouse.
He'd done some work on Keith Richards's house. Keith never liked Frank and refused to let him into the house. Brian made the excuse that he needed male company, and that's why he used to invite Frank in to have coffee, drinks and dinners. 'I know he's using me, but it's my own fault,' Brian said. 'I like having someone to chat to. Frank is better than no one.' During my first week at the farm, Frank tried to seduce me. He put his arm around me and whispered that I ought to come to London with him. He always tried to touch me when Brian wasn't around, and he frequently tried to persuade me that he was the man I needed. I didn't have the slightest interest in Frank. I found his advances unpleasant and embarrassing. He was old enough to be my father. But, to protect Brian, I didn't reveal what had been going on. I knew how sensitive and vulnerable he was, so I chose to take Frank's hints as bad jokes.
Brian said Frank took advantage of him and, among other things, entertained his mistress in the apartment above the garage. 'You're just sitting around doing nothing!' Brian would shout at Frank. 'How much longer are you and your workmen going to be here? I am sick of having you around all the time!' But Brian's anger soon disappeared and was replaced with pangs of conscience. He didn't like to fall out with anybody, so whenever he'd shouted at Frank he always tried to smooth it over by inviting him in for a drink or dinner.
But then he'd provoke Frank again. I remember one day when Frank had to put up with a succession of Brian's strange games . . . 'Tell me that you love me as a friend,' Brian began. 'I love you as a friend,' Frank said obediently. 'Tell me you will do anything I want,' Brian continued. 'You know I will do my best for you, Brian.' 'Tell me you have been negligent in the work you have done on the house.' 'I have been negligent,' Frank repeated, parrot-like. 'Tell me you want Anna,' Brian said. 'I want Anna,' Frank repeated. 'You can't have her,' Brian said flatly. 'Tell me that you're doing decent work for me.' 'I want Anna and I am doing my best for you,' Frank said. Brian roared with laughter.
At times, I found it hard to understand Brian's humour. I asked him why he thought it
was fun to embarrass Frank. Brian said he just wanted Frank to know his place. Brian's
disapproval of Frank and his work on the house reached its climax on the Sunday evening
before Brian's death. Brian and I were alone at Cotchford Farm and we'd just finished
dinner when the telephone rang. I went to the kitchen to answer it. It was a Swedish
friend, so we spoke in our own language. Brian followed me into the kitchen. He didn't
understand what my friend and I were talking about, and I could tell he was getting a bit
annoyed. He started circling around me, frowning, and I soon realised that his jealousy
was growing by the minute he could be
very possessive. Suddenly, he pushed me to the floor. I was shocked and shouted at him. The next second, one of the beams in the ceiling collapsed with a loud crash. It landed an inch from my head.
If Brian hadn't pushed me, the beam would have fallen on my head and probably killed me. When I realised what had happened, I started to tremble. Brian was as shocked as me, and he knelt down and tried to comfort me. After a while, we got up and Brian told me to leave the kitchen while he checked the remaining beams. 'You could have been killed,' he said. 'I knew I couldn't trust Frank. The bastard is responsible.' Brian was furious and couldn't stop talking about the accident. He even accused Frank of trying to kill him. I told him I didn't think it was deliberate. But Brian said he was going to sack Frank.
We went into the garden, and he calmed down. The swimming pool and the garden were lit up and the evening was warm and inviting. 'Have you ever seen anything more lovely than this?' he asked. 'No,' I agreed. 'I want to stay here for ever and ever with you.' Brian hugged me and we strolled in the garden with our dogs, Emily and Luther. Brian was holding my hand with a firm grip and I could tell that he was still upset. After an hour, we decided to go back into the house and cuddle the three puppies we had recently acquired. Today, I wonder why we got three puppies at the same time. We hadn't thought about the consequences. We were young and wanted to have lots of children and lots of dogs. Brian dreamed of having a big, noisy family. He wanted the house to be as it was when Christopher Robin lived there. But he didn't want any child of his to be as lonely as Christopher Robin was.
The next day, Brian confronted Frank. I hid in the dining room to listen. Brian was shouting. 'What the hell is this all about?' he was yelling 'Did you want to kill me? I ought to report you for attempted murder!' 'I'm sorry, but it was an accident,' said Frank calmly. 'I'll see to it that the beam is properly supported, but it'll cost a bit.' Now Brian was really screaming. 'That's your problem! And here's another one you're fired!' Frank remained silent. Brian told him that he had talked to the Stones' accountant and was going to get another builder to check the bills, and that if Frank didn't get the beam fixed properly he would sue him. Brian stormed out.
But by the evening, he was wondering about Frank. 'Anna, have I done anything wrong?' he said. I told him not to go soft, that he had nothing to feel bad about. But his conscience was troubling him.
By Wednesday, July 2, everything seemed normal. We had a good day, reading, playing in the music room, walking. It was so peaceful, punctuated only by the birdsong.
In the evening, Brian started to examine his outburst in minute detail. He kept asking me if I thought he should talk to Frank to clear the air. I told him I hoped that he would stand up for his principles. If anyone should have apologised, I reasoned, it should have been Frank. We hadn't seen Frank, though he was still living above the garage.
When we were getting ready for bed, Brian said: 'I need to talk to Frank.He looked worried. 'He must understand why I'm doing this. I don't want him to bear any ill will towards me.' 'Why is it so important for you to be friends with Frank?' I said. 'Are you afraid of him, or what?' 'I'm going to invite him over for a drink and a swim,' Brian said. 'I want to settle this, once and for all.' 'But it's late,' I said. 'It's almost a quarter past ten.' 'He'll be awake,' Brian said. 'I'll be back shortly.' Brian went to find Frank. I wanted him to leave things as they were until the morning, but he was impulsive and I knew that nothing I could say would change his mind.
Fifteen minutes later, Brian came back with Frank and a woman called Janet drink in the dining room. The atmosphere was strained. Frank didn't say anything, he just sat there sulking. Brian was light-hearted, trying to cheer Frank up.
'I'm not mad at you any more,' Brian said. 'I just want you to try to understand me. What if the beam had hit Anna? What if she'd died? You understand why I was upset, don't you?' After a while, Brian wanted to go for a swim. Frank and I joined him, but Janet didn't want to.
In the pool, Brian was in his element; he teased Frank and told him to cheer up. But
Frank continued sulking, which made Brian even more mischievous. I saw Brian dive in, and
the next second Frank's head disappeared underwater. I knew why: Brian loved to grab
people's legs and pull them under. Frank bobbed to the surface, coughing and spluttering
while Brian had a good laugh. Frank was furious, but Brian carried on teasing him. I told
Brian to ease off, but he wouldn't listen. 'He's old enough to take a joke,' Brian said. I
wasn't convinced. I knew Frank took things personally, particularly when
Brian was involved, and I didn't like the tense atmosphere. Frank pushed Brian under, and he came up coughing and laughing. He continued to taunt Frank, and I swam to the shallow end while they stayed in the deep end teasing each other.
Janet called from the house that I was wanted on the telephone. Brian kissed me as I climbed up the ladder.
I didn't know then that it would be the last time I'd see him alive.
I told Janet I'd take the call in the bedroom. 'Could you please put the receiver down in the kitchen?' I asked. I went upstairs, picked up the phone and said: 'Hello?' The line was dead. 'Hello?' I said again. No answer. I thought the line had been cut when Janet had hung up in the kitchen. Then the telephone rang again. It was my Swedish girlfriend, Terry. I assumed she'd been the previous caller, but I didn't ask her.
Terry and I had been chatting for ten minutes when I heard Janet shouting hysterically
from below the bedroom window: 'Anna! Anna! Something's happened to Brian!' I rushed
downstairs. When I reached the bottom, I found Frank in the kitchen. He was standing with
a towel around his shoulders. His head was bent slightly forward and I noticed his hands
were shaking so badly that he had trouble lighting a cigarette. Janet was standing outside
the house as I ran across the lawn to the swimming pool. The surface of the water was as
smooth as glass, but I couldn't see Brian anywhere. I didn't understand why until I
Brian was lying spread-eagled on the bottom of the pool.
The terror I felt when I saw him will never leave me. The memory still haunts me, day and night. Without thinking, I dived into the water and swam in panic to the bottom. I managed to get a firm grip underneath Brian's arms and began forcing my way to the surface. When I reached the surface, I held Brian's head above the water and swam towards the edge of the pool. I felt my strength evaporate and Brian started to slip away from me. It didn't occur to me that it was already too late.
'Frank, please help me!' I cried out. 'Please help me.' I saw Frank walk towards the pool. He was in no hurry. He was taking his time, and I cried out for his help once more. I was exhausted and scared out of my wits. I didn't want to let Brian slip down to the bottom again.
When Frank reached the edge of the pool, he sat down and slipped into the water, then he helped me pull Brian up on to the edge.
'Why didn't you help Brian? Why did you leave him alone in the pool?' I shouted to Frank.
Frank was as cold as ice. He didn't show any sympathy, and I noticed he'd stopped
shaking. He didn't respond to my accusations either. Janet came running towards us when
Frank and I turned Brian on to his front to try to get the water out of his lungs. Frank
stood up and started walking towards the house. Janet, whom I later discovered was a
nurse, helped me to lay Brian on his back and started heart massage while I tried to give
him the kiss of life. 'Why didn't you help Brian?' I sobbed. 'Why didn't you pull him out
instead of calling for me? How the hell could you leave him there? What's wrong with you?
And where were you?' I probably said worse things than that, but I was shocked and
terrified and I couldn't understand why
Janet had run to the house instead of jumping into the swimming pool when she saw Brian in trouble.
Later, I was told that Janet couldn't swim. I was convinced that she or Frank, or both of them, knew what had actually happened. And I was convinced that Brian hadn't drowned without someone else being involved. Janet said later to the police that she had been in the music room when Brian drowned.
She eventually stopped the heart massage, but I fought for Brian's life until the ambulance and police arrived. I was beside myself with grief. I felt terribly helpless and lonely. I couldn't stop crying. I felt guilty at having left Brian in the pool. I shouted at Frank and asked him why he had left Brian alone. He didn't answer. And I was too upset to remember exactly what had happened after Janet's cry for help.
It was not until the following day that the truth dawned on me.
I don't think I've ever felt as lonely as I did that night. I didn't have any close relatives to comfort me. I didn't even have any friends nearby. I felt alone and abandoned, except for the doctor who stayed with me all night.
On the morning after Brian's death I stayed in bed trying to piece together exactly what had happened the evening before, and when I did, I suddenly felt sick. Frank's odd behaviour surrounding the incident aroused my suspicions. He'd been closer to the pool, and should have been there before me. But instead of reacting immediately to Janet's screams, he'd remained in the house and, with shaking hands, had tried to light a cigarette. Why hadn't he run to the pool when he heard Janet's cry for help? There is only one answer to that question: Frank must have known it was too late. It is also difficult to explain his reluctance to help me get Brian out of the pool, his strangely cold behaviour and the lack of sympathy or concern he showed when I tried to save Brian's life.
There was no doubt in my mind.
Frank had killed Brian.
I didn't lie to the police who questioned me afterwards, but I didn't tell them the whole truth. I know that I let Brian down, but I was afraid. I felt I was spiralling into a dark and lonely pit of depression. I knew that Brian's drowning was not an accident.
On the day after Brian's death, the police interviewed me, Frank and Janet We were
driven down to the police station together. As we got out of the car, Frank sidled up to
me. 'Don't forget to tell them it was Brian who wanted me to come down to you,
not me,' he whispered. 'He felt guilt and wanted to make it up to you,' I said. I didn't understand Frank's comment. Maybe it was about premeditation. 'Just think about what you say to the police,' said Frank. 'The only thing you need to tell them is that Brian had been drinking and that his drowning was an accident. You don't have to tell them anything else. I left Brian to go to the kitchen and light a cigarette, and I don't know any more than you. 'But there's no need for you to tell the police that you saw me in the kitchen. Just tell them we pulled Brian out of the pool together.' I could see that Frank was worried, and I knew he had every reason to be. But I was scared too. I did what Frank had told me to do.
Taken from The Murder Of Brian Jones, by Anna Wohlin. Available from Blake
Publishing, price GBP 16.99 including p&p. Tel 0171 381 0666.