In his 1994 book ‘Brian Jones: Who Killed Christopher Robin?,’ writer Terry Rawlings asserted that the mysterious circumstances surrounding the Rolling Stones co-founder’s death were a cover-up for murder — and he’s renewed those allegations in a recently released updated edition.
MOJO spoke with Rawlings for a cover story about the reissued book, and he doesn’t mince words in the interview, flatly stating that Jones “was definitely murdered and there was a cover-up.” Aware that some have questioned his findings, Rawlings added, “It’s not a crackpot theory; it’s what happened.”
Jones — who’d been fired from the Rolling Stones a few weeks before — drowned in his pool on July 3, 1969, following an evening during which he played host to a group of guests that included a contractor named Frank Thorogood. In the original edition of ‘Who Killed Christopher Robin?,’ Rawlings pointed the finger at Thorogood, saying that tensions between Jones and his employee turned violent during a shared swim. Allegedly, Thorogood confessed to the deed on his deathbed in 1993, telling the band’s former road manager Tom Keylock, “It was me that did Brian. I just finally snapped.”
The book’s update includes findings gleaned from a videotaped interview with Keylock, who apparently admitted that — contrary to his long-held assertion that he’d been away from the house on an errand for Keith Richards — he was actually at the house when Jones died. And although Keylock himself passed away in 2009, it’s worth noting that Rawlings is far from alone in his beliefs.
In fact, Anna Wohlin, who was involved with Jones and on the grounds when he drowned, backed them up in a 2013 interview with the U.K.’s Daily Mail. “I don’t know if Frank meant to kill Brian,” she admitted. “Maybe it was horseplay in the pool that went wrong. But I knew all along he did not die a natural death. I’m still sure of it.”
Police reviewed their investigation into Jones’ death in 2009, after a journalist unearthed hundreds of documents pertaining to the incident — including a claim from Thorogood’s daughter that Richards and Mick Jagger had been in the midst of a potentially violent argument with Jones over who owned the rights to the Stones name. Ultimately, however, the case remained officially closed.
Anna Wohlin, ex-girlfriend of Brian JonesAnna Wohlin, ex-girlfriend of Rolling Stone Brian Jones
Anna Wohlin should have had a VIP pass the last time The Rolling Stones played London’s Hyde Park.
The pretty young Swedish dancer was meant to be backstage in 1969 watching the band introduce their new guitarist – the replacement for founder member Brian Jones who’d been sacked a month before.
Anna never made it to that iconic gig, but unlike thousands of veteran fans she has no desire to be in the park tonight as the legendary rockers return, 44 years later.
For Anna was Brian Jones’ lover…and two days before the gig she’d dragged his lifeless body from the swimming pool of his Sussex farmhouse and tried in vain to revive him.
Yet, before the tragedy on July 3, 1969, she and Brian had planned to go to the Hyde Park concert together – so he could publicly show he had no hard feelings about leaving the Rolling Stones.
“Instead of being backstage with Brian I was in a hotel room nearby,” reveals Anna, now 66.
“I was broken…in total shock. Fans were gathering with candles and I wanted to go and say goodbye to Brian.
“But I was in no fit state. I didn’t realise then but I was a nuisance – a problem to the Stones management. They knew I knew what really happened on the night Brian died.”
The events following Brian’s death have gone down in the annals of pop history, with Anna’s role reduced to a mere footnote.
Rock legend has it Brian, 27, drowned under the influence of drugs and booze, after going off the rails when the Stones fired him.
Conspiracy theorists insist he was murdered – and police reviewed the case as recently as 2010 but did not reopen inquiries.
But in an exclusive interview with the Mirror, Anna has rekindled the riddle of the death and Brian’s rift with the band.
She sensationally claims the musician WAS killed, in a scuffle with disgruntled minder Frank Thorogood, said to have been fired by Jones that day – but the truth was covered up to protect the band’s image.
Her account is supported by Thorogood’s alleged death bed confession 20 years ago.
Anna says: “Brian is still portrayed as a bitter, worn-out and depressed man who was fired because of his drug habit…and who died because he was drunk or high.
“But my Brian was a wonderful, charismatic man who was happier than ever, had given up drugs and was looking forward to pursuing the musical career he wanted.
“We’d been blissfully happy together for three months and he and I had planned to go to watch the Hyde Park gig.
“Brian wasn’t bitter about Mick Taylor replacing him – he was quite relieved actually. He had wanted to leave the band for some time before they asked him to go.
“He didn’t like the direction the music was taking – he wanted to play blues – and he didn’t want to tour America any more.
“There were no hard feelings when he left though, and if people had seen us at the concert they would have known that.But it wasn’t to be. The night before I stayed at the Londonderry Hotel with Bill Wyman and ?his girlfriend Astrid Lundstrom.
“They thought it was a bad idea for me to go – I couldn’t think straight. I was in shock. Some friends stayed with me but I was torn – I wanted to be there…but with Brian – and he was gone.”
The gig became an iconic pop moment after the Stones turned it into a tribute to Brian.
Jagger, in his famous white dress, read poetry by Shelley before roadies released 2,500 white butterflies.
So was that a comfort to Anna?
She gives a long sigh. “Let’s say I have very mixed feelings. They had to do something, because Brian had died, and, yes, I think they were all in shock.
“But whether they had wanted to do it or not, I don’t know. They just had to.
“Before Brian died, Mick was nervous that Brian’s fans might boycott the concert in protest at his replacement.
“In the end, 500,000 people went. But it was a nice day, the concert was free and the fans went for Brian. So there had to be recognition from the band.”
After Brian died Anna wrote to Mick Jagger, accusing him of not caring enough about Brian’s death. He never replied.
She says she no longer bears any animosity towards him, but admits “It just felt so unfair he was alive and thriving…a reminder he and the other Stones were continuing as if nothing had happened – while Brian was gone forever.”
She says the Stones’ management urged her to return to Sweden a week after Brian’s death.
She left following the inquest which recorded a verdict of misadventure – even though tests found little evidence of drugs and the equivalent of just three and a half pints of beer.
Anna, who now runs a boutique in her home city Stockholm, explains: “I was intimidated into silence about what really happened – under sedation, in shock.”
After returning home she discovered she was expecting Brian’s child – but miscarried and became depressed.
She returned to England two months later to collect her belongings from the farm – only to find it had been cleared out and all her personal belongings and gifts from Brian had disappeared.
She says: “The Stones PR manager had promised to find me somewhere to live if I came back – but when I went to their offices no one would help.
"I felt betrayed so I went to a lawyer and to a journalist and tried to tell the truth about Brian’s death – but no one wanted to know.”
Anna got married, had a daughter and tried to move on. But she says it was only after divorcing three decades later that she finally began to grieve for Brian.
She says: “I decided to write my story, but people still didn’t believe it.
"I don’t know if Frank meant to kill Brian – maybe it was horseplay in the pool that went wrong. But I knew all along he did not die a natural death. I’m still sure of it.
“Now the Stones are back in Hyde Park and everyone is talking about 1969 and that free gig.
Anna pauses, then adds: “Imagine – a free Rolling Stones concert! I wonder what the tickets cost today?”
I tell her they start at £95 but some cost more than £300.
She sighs again.
“Everyone thinks I must be a Stones fan, but I’m not. I’ve never seen them in concert and haven’t paid them much attention over the years – I really don’t care.
“I fell in love with Brian when I was 16 and we got together five years later. He happened to play in that band – that’s all.
“Don’t get me wrong – I like the music and think it is amazing they have kept going so long. But Brian would have carried on making music too…I’m sure. He was the one who was most musical.”
Anna used to have terrible nightmares about finding Brian’s body at the bottom of the pool and screaming for help.
Now, she says, Brian “visits” her in her dreams, and she tries to remember the good times they shared. She says: “We were so happy. When Brian bought the farmhouse he said he wanted to live there the rest of his life. And he did. But it was too short.
“I didn’t visit his grave for a long time – but I’ve been twice now. It’s a beautiful stone with lovely flowers still brought by fans.
“One of the hardest things was that when Brian died he was my boyfriend – but suddenly he belonged to another world and other people – and I couldn’t really cope with that.
“Talking about him helps me reclaim him. My Brian, not the tragic legend.”
As fans gather tonight to watch the Rolling Stones they will remember Brian for his brilliant musicianship – and his former band mates will no doubt recall their tributes of 44 years ago.
“So many years have passed,” said Anna. “I don’t bear the Stones any bad feelings.
"They are icons and great professionals and they will all probably die on stage.
“Brian never got that chance…such a waste of a life. He died too young.”
Rolling Stones Brian Jones drowned in his farmhouse swimming pool in Hartfield, Sussex
EXCLUSIVE: A previously unseen interview reignites suspicions that Rolling Stones band founder Brian Jones was murdered and that police at the highest level were complicit in a cover-up
By Halina Watts 23:00, 27 JUL 2019
A previously unseen interview reignites suspicions that Jones was murdered and that police at the highest level were complicit in a cover-up (Image: Redferns)
It was a sweltering night, the booze was flowing and cakes laced with hash were eaten like they were going out of fashion.
Guests launched into the pool and boisterous play fights broke out.
Centre stage was Brian Jones, who founded the Rolling Stones and launched them on to the world stage.
Three weeks earlier he had been sacked from the band, which would go on to sell 240 million records as one of the richest groups of all time.
Jones was looked after financially and so the rock and roll parties continued.
But the intoxicating allure of those reckless summer nights proved a lethal mix.
At 9pm on July 2, 1969 a single piercing scream rang out as Jones was discovered at the bottom of the pool. He was just 27.
An inquest ruled his death was misadventure. But conspiracy theories have suggested Jones was murdered.
The Rolling Stones - including Brian Jones - whose untimely death features in hundreds of hours of TV reports seeking the truth (Image: PA)
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And now, from beyond the grave, a previously unseen interview reignites suspicions that Jones was murdered and that police at the highest level were complicit in a cover-up.
The death has been pored over relentlessly down the years.
There have been hundreds of hours of TV reports and documentaries and thousands of words written by investigators and journalists seeking the truth.
One motive, it is said, was a financial dispute between Jones and disgruntled builder Frank Thorogood, a guest that night at Cotchford Farm, Sussex.
An inquest found Jones died from “drowning while under the influence of drink and drugs”.
In footage obtained by the Sunday Mirror, Jones’ manager Tom Keylock reveals how the rocker and his pals were “out of their minds” after getting stoned on hash cakes.
Keylock – who is accused by investigative reporter Terry Rawlings of covering up the murder – branded Jones a “pain in the a**e”.
The manager, now dead, was interviewed in 2009 by Rawlings, who has spent 30 years searching for the truth.
The revelations will appear in a Netflix documentary based on Rawlings’ book Who Killed Christopher Robin? – a nod to the farm’s setting for the Winnie the Pooh books.
In his interview, Keylock finally admitted he was at Cotchford Farm, formerly owned by Pooh author A. A. Milne.
Keylock, who spent years denying he was there, said in the interview: “Brian’s always been a pain in the a**e and he’s still a pain in the a**e. I’m sick and tired of all these soppy stories going out.
“Believe me, this is the last interview I will ever do on Brian Jones. Forty years on I’m still listening to stories. I’m getting sick of it. The bulls*** they come out with is unbelievable.”
According to the official version of events, there were just three guests at Cotchford that night: Brian’s builder Thorogood, now deceased, the rocker’s girlfriend Anna Wohlin, and nurse Janet Lawson – Keylock’s girlfriend.
They gave police statements saying Jones had been drinking and Lawson said he had been taking sleeping tablets too.
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All three said they had left the pool and gone to separate parts of the house minutes before Jones drowned alone.
Police arrived at 12.15am. Thorogood was taken to hospital with an injured wrist.
However, the jigsaw of evidence gathered by Rawlings and others challenges the official version of what happened.
It places many more people at the party.
Keylock said in his interview: “What people don’t know is that very strong hash cakes were made. That’s why they were all stoned and they didn’t know what day it was.
“Janet told me she don’t remember anything because she was out of her head. The country coppers didn’t know what a hash cake was.
“They didn’t know you could make cookies with hash in it. I never had no hash cakes, I’m the only one that wasn’t stoned. The rest was stoned.
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“Course I was at Cotchford Farm. Where else did you think I was then?
“I was there and that’s why I know the truth. Janet was saying to me that they were clowning around in the pool, splashing each other, ducking each other.”
Keylock believes the police investigation was bungled and admits to being informed by his brother Frank, a senior Scotland Yard CID officer.
In further claims, Keylock says: “The reason I know it’s a cover-up is because my brother was in the CID and he said ‘You won’t get no further, just forget it, they’ve made a decision, it was accidental death’.
“I think the police wanted to make a manslaughter charge but they was told just forget it because we’re not interested.
"We’ve made a decision, it was accidental death, he died in the pool, leave it at that.
"The only one who could have been possibly charged was Frank (Thorogood) because he was in the pool. But police said just forget it.
“The orders came from the very top not to pursue it any more and it was never pursued after that.”
The alleged police cover-up – plus claims the Home Office brushed the affair under the carpet – is outlined in the Netflix documentary.
The Rolling Stones, 1963. Left to right: Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Brian Jones (1942 - 1969), Bill Wyman and Keith Richards. (Photo by Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images)
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Investigator Rawlings explained: “Straight after Brian died, Keylock called his brother, and Frank came over to Cotchford.
“Sussex Police bumped into this Scotland Yard officer and Keylock pulled rank on the local police.
“From that moment on there is no crime committed, even though the local police wanted to press man-slaughter charges against Frank Thorogood.”
The builder and his crew were reportedly taking liberties with Jones, even though he paid them £18,000 – £291,000 in today’s money.
He had decided that day to sack them – as fellow Stone Keith Richards had done after an earlier fallout.
Rawlings says Thorogood believed he was owed £6,000 (£97,000 today) and that he needed the money to pay his mates.
Jones’ girlfriend Anna Wohlin, who moved back to Sweden directly after the death, later appeared to corroborate the theory that Thorogood murdered Jones.
She has said: “I don’t know if Frank meant to kill Brian. Maybe it was horseplay in the pool that went wrong. But I knew all along he did not die a natural death. I’m still sure of it.”
Nicholas Fitzgerald, a socialite friend of Jones’, said he had arrived at 11pm and saw “at least three men and a woman” looking at a floating body.
He said he was told by a man who answered to the description of Tom Keylock: “F*** off or you’ll be next.”
DCI Bob Marshall, head of the investigation team, said there were “six or so” guests at the party. But the ID of the others remains a mystery.
The documentary claims local coroner Dr Angus Somerville was bribed to rush through the autopsy.
Sommerville, who died in 1981, mysteriously received 12,000 Dunlop shares which were put into his account on the day of Jones’ death.
Rawlings said: “It is very suspicious. The timing is incredible. It could have been something Frank (Thorogood) had sorted. He had a lot of money and would have been able to do that.”
Rawlings also reveals he is investigating speculation that Jones was badly beaten up before he died.
He explained: “There are rumours that he was covered in bruises so I am trying to get to the bottom of it.”
Tom Keylock, outside Cotchford Farm, at Hartfield, Sussex, talks to the press, 3 July 1969 (Image: Mirrorpix)
Jones had a volatile personality and was cast out by the Stones despite being the creative force behind the band.
Iconic pictures show him in the original line-up with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman.
Manager Andrew Loog Oldham wanted Jagger as the main man – then Richards ran off with Jones’ girlfriend Anita Pallenberg.
Jones was paid off with £100,000 – about £2million in today’s money – plus £20,000 a year for the band’s lifetime. That would be £20million by now... and counting.
Sussex Police have reviewed their investigation into Jones’ death three times – in 1984, 1994 and 2009.
But Rawlings fears further questions will never be answered. He added: “Everyone took advantage of Brian, it was covered up. But now his killer will never be brought to justice.” _________________ --
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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