Brian Epstein dies

Epstein’s personal assistant Alistair Taylor arrived at the house. Those who found Epstein’s body were still in a state of shock, and went to the study to have a brandy. They delayed calling the police as they wanted to first make sure there were no illegal substances in the house.

Within literally very few minutes of the police being informed, there’s a ring on the doorbell and it’s a reporter I knew. He just looked at me and said, ‘What are you doing here? I hear Brian’s ill.’ And I said, ‘No, he’s fine. He’s gone out. He just called me over, actually. You know what he’s like, you know, typical Brian. I’ve come over specially on a Sunday morning and he’s gone out in the car.’ Then I wondered if the garage door was closed because if the car’s sitting there the reporter’s going to say, ‘Which car?’ I was concerned that, before this news broke, somehow we had to get hold of [Epstein’s mother] Queenie, and we couldn’t find her.
Alistair Taylor
The Brian Epstein Story, Deborah Geller

Joanne Newfield was surprised at the reactions of Geoffrey Ellis and Peter Brown when they arrived at Chapel Street.

Peter and I were good friends, and I was really wanting him to get back. I remember the first thing I asked was why did Brian come back from Kingsley Hill? Neither of them answered. They just started to go up the stairs. And I remember thinking that they seemed weird and I knew there was something wrong.

They appeared distant when I expected them to be grief-stricken. I expected that Peter would give me a hug, but he didn’t. He was just cool and I’m not sure that it was shock. I’ve asked myself many times what happened in Kingsley Hill. It’s just one of the question marks I have about Brian’s death.

Joanne Newfield
The Brian Epstein Story, Deborah Geller

An inquest found the cause of death to be accidental, resulting from ‘incautious self-overdoses’ of Carbrital, a drug taken to assist sleep.

I don’t think there was anything sinister in his death. There were rumours of very sinister circumstances, but I personally think it was a drink-and-sleeping-pills overdose. I think what happened – and there’s no evidence whatsoever except people I talk to – was that Brian was going down to his house in the country. It was a Friday night, and there were going to be friends there. Brian was gay and I think there were going to be young men at the house. Brian went down with one of his friends, but no one had showed up – so he thought: ‘Ugh – it’s Friday night! I’ve got time to get back to London if I rush. Then I can get back to the clubs.’ It seems feasible to me, knowing Brian. Then he drove back up to London and went to the clubs, but they were all closing and there was not a lot of action.

So he had a few bevvies, then to console himself had a sleeping pill or two before to bed Brian always did that, he was quite into the pills. And then I think he woke up in the middle of the night and thought: My God, I can’t sleep. I haven’t had a pill.’ Then he had a few more pills, and I think that could have killed him.

I went round a couple of days later and saw Brian’s butler. He didn’t seem to feel there was anything suspicious, nor that Brian was in any kind of black mood. My feeling was that it was an accident.

Paul McCartney
Anthology
The Beatles renounce the use of drugs
Interview: John, George and Ringo in Bangor, Wales
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