78 FEBRUARY 79
THE FULL STORY | THE
NEW YORK POST
NEW YORK POST,
Friday, October 13, 1978
Vicious, bass guitarist of Britain's spitting and stomping Sex Pistols punk rock
band, yesterday was arrested and charged with stabbing his sultry blond girl friend
to death in their room at Manhattan's famed Chelsea Hotel.
face pale and scratched, the dazed-looking Vicious muttered curses and "I'll
smash your cameras" as he was led from the hotel, where the body of Nancy
Laura Spungen, 20, clad in blood-soaked black lace bra and panties, was found
crumbled under the bathroom sink.
Spungen, a former go-go dancer whose family lives in the affluent Philadelphia
suburb of Huntington Valley, had been stabbed deep in the abdomen, police said.
There were signs of a struggle, according to police, and a trail of blood leading
from the disorderly bedroom to the bath of Room 100, where Miss Spungen and Vicious
registered in August as Mr. and Mrs. John Simon Ritchie - his real name.
who lived with a small black und white kitten in the $30-a-night room, frequently
appeared "spaced-out' and the woman often had bruises or a black eye, said
hotel employees and residents.
beat her with a guitar every so often but I didn't think he was going to kill
her," said a distraught young man in a brown checkered shirt and cowboy boots
who refused to give his name but was identified by hotel employees as a friend
of the couple.
youth said he had been with the pair until 4 a.m. yesterday and Miss Spungen begged
him to go home with them because Vicious was acting strange and had pressed his
hunting knife against her throat a few days earlier.
seemed fond of Miss Spungen, said the unidentified friend, "but if you're
sick upstairs it doesn't matter."
now defunct Sex Pistols - who rose to the top of the London charts while jabbing
their cheeks with safety pins, spitting on their fans and calling the Queen of
England a "moron" - were described by fans as a symbol of the smouldering
rage of working class Britons, bored and trapped.
Sex Pistols' lead singer, who calls himself Johnny Rotten, announced the groups
demise after an abortive U.S. tour last January. A few hours later, Vicious was
taken unconscious from a Los Angeles-New York flight at Kennedy Airport, suffering
what was described as an overdose of pills and alcohol.
Miss Spungen by his side, he was taken to Jamaica Hospital in Queens for treatment.
Vicious and Miss Spungen had said they expected to die young - "I'll kill
myself as soon as the first wrinkle appears," she once said.
neighbors in the opulent Maida Vale section of West London, where the couple lived
before coming to New York this summer, recalled that he once locked her out and
she ran up and down the street in a G-string, shouting "I love you."
who had boasted that his body was covered with self-inflicted cuts, followed the
Sex Pistol style of spitting and cursing his fans: Sometimes he sported handcuffs
as a lark
yesterday the handcuffs were real as Vicious was taken to he booked at Manhattan's
Third Homicide Zone. The bone-thin guitarist's spikey hair was black against a
pasty white face and he wore a fluffy red, blue and yellow sweater, a pointy metal
ring, skin tight black jeans and heavy black shoes. He was to be arraigned today
in Manhattan Criminal Court.
Chief of Detectives Martin Duffy said Vicious claimed he was under the influence
of the depressant Tuinal when he awoke at 10:50 a.m., realized Miss Spungen wasn't
in bed next to him and found her body in the bathroom.
hotel employees said the switchboard earlier got an outside call asking that someone
check Room 100 because "someone is seriously injured and I'm not kidding,
man.'' The hotel workers said Vicious was out of the room when a bellman found
the body but returned before police arrived.
declined to comment that they had found a blood-covered hunting knife in the room.
Spungen, who dressed in black leather and jeans, handled the couple's funds and
carried bags full of money that she sometimes spilled across the floor, according
to hotel employees and residents.
Spungen's parents and younger sister and brother were in seclusion in Huntington
Valley, where they live in a two-story brown and white home with a large landscaped
lawn, backyard pool and double garage.
said her father, Franklin Spungen, is a salesman.
friends described the platinum-haired Miss Spungen as a very bright but rebellious
girl from an achievement-oriented family who was caught up in acid rock music
at the age of 10.
A Haven For Artists
Twain stayed there. So did Thomas Wolfe and Brendan Behan, Eugene O'Neill and
Jane Fonda, Dylan Thomas and Bob Dylan.
to mention rock bands Jefferson Starship and the Grateful Dead.
the fat lady from the Barnum and Bailey circus, who filled the whole elevator
all by herself.
landmark Chelsea Hotel, 222 W, 23d St., may be a bit rundown these days, but it
clings to a kind of weird respectability as a haven for avant-garde creative types,
the kind of folks who write or paint or compose - or wish they did.
get a very creative mix," hotel manager Stanley Bard said as police prepared
to lead off British punk rocker Sid Vicious, charged with fatally stabbing his
girlfriend in their Chelsea Hotel room.
once in a while," added an anxious Bard, "you get a music group that
it opened in 1884, the Chelsea was Manhattan's first artist's cooperative and
tallest building - 11 stories of red brick with cast iron grillwork, luxurious
rosewood trim and working fireplaces.
went broke and reopened in 1905 as a hotel, catering to what over the years was
called the literati, then the Bohemians, then the new wave.
Bob Dylan gave the place his seal of approval - his first child was born at the
Chelsea - more and more rock stars made it a de rigueur stop on their international
after all, had a reputation for looking after its friends and tolerating personal
quirks without blinking.
where but the Chelsea would Clifford Irving go to lick his wounds after the Howard
Hughes caper? Where but the Chelsea would his wife, Edith auction off her paintings
to raise some cash?
Vicious is arrested at his Chelsea Hotel apartment in New York and charged with
the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. It is believed that the actual
stabbing took place in the early morning hours. The story that Sid relates is
basically this: he remembers being awakened late in the night and seeing Nancy
with the knife they had bought earlier that day in Times Square when they were
out shopping with another hotel resident, Neon Leon. Then, he woke again later
(around 11:15am) and found the bed covered in blood and Nancy under the sink in
the bathroom, also covered in blood, with the knife sticking out of her side.
He then called the front desk and asked for an ambulance to be sent. When the
ambulance arrived it was accompanied by a police squad, who arrested Sid, detained
and questioned him and charged him with the murder at the East 51st Street Station
at approximately 5:30pm. Back at the Chelsea, Nancys body was removed from
their first floor apartment, #100.
are some conflicting stories about the events of last night and this morning.
Heres the one uncovered by Rolling Stones Michael Segell. Apparently
Nancy (who handled the couples finances) had just received a personnel check
from Malcolm on Wednesday, as well as $3,000 from Sids Maxs appearances.
Nancy then called a friend of the pair named Rockets Redglare for some Dilaudid
(synthetic morphine). He visited the couple this morning around 1:30am, staying
with them until about 5am. When he left, he saw another drug supplier in the lobby
heading for the elevator. More Rolling Stone investigation turned up Neon Leon,
a punk musician who lived just down the hall from Sid and Nancy. Some of Sids
prize possessions were in his room. Items like a handful of Sex Pistols clippings,
Sids leather jacket and gold records. Unlikely things to be given away.
Leon claims that the couple knocked on his door around 3am and left the stuff.
He continues with saying that Sid and Nancy called him around 4:30 that morning
looking for a joint. Rockets, who claims to have been with Sid and Nancy between
1:30 and 5:00am, recalls no phone calls or other visitors.
third story making the rounds involves Sid and Nancy buying the entire drug stash
from a dealer who was hanging around the Chelsea. The two went back to their room
and hit. Sid was out cold when theres a knock on the door at about 3am.
Its the dealer, back to get a little bit of his stash back so he can hit
in the morning. Nancy answers the door, refuses him the drugs and the dealer grabs
the knife from a nearby table, stabs her and leaves with the drugs. There would
be no prints if hes wearing gloves and Sids fingerprints would be
all over the knife since hes been playing with it all day since he bought
Most of the
stories sound more credible than the one the press is printing that Sid killed
Nancy. All of his friends are coming forward saying that Sid was so terribly devoted
to Nancy that he would never do anything to hurt her. Detectives found no money
in the apartment, but have not linked the murder with a robbery. They think the
money could have been taken by some of the scavenging junkies before the police
Vicious was brought before a judge and charged with second degree murder. Bail
has been set at $50,000. The New York press has covered its pages with headlines
that pronounce Sid guilty before he even gets a trial. Malcolm McLaren arrives
in New York just in time for the hearing.
Sun 14th October, 1978 (Front page)
IN A TRANCE
PISTOL IS NEAR COLLAPSE AFTER I DIDNT STAB HER CLAIM
Leslie Hinton In New York
pistol Sid vicious almost collapsed in court yesterday when he was accused of
murdering his blonde girlfriend Nancy Spungen.
21-year-old spiky-haired punk star seemed to be in a trance as he was led into
the New York court by a detective.
his appearance, Vicious denied killing Nancy, a 20 year-old American go-go dancer.
lawyer, Joseph Epstein, contradicted a police claim that the punk rocker had confessed,
saying There is no basis for that report.
Vicious was helped to a chair as he staggered and buckled at the knees.
body shuddered periodically as he spent the rest of the 10-minute hearing with
his head resting on a table.
he seemed oblivious to the proceedings as he was formally charged with murder
under his real name, John Simon Ritchie.
convicted, he faces a prison sentence of 20 years to life.
rock friends of Vicious sat in court during the hearing.
Jerry Nolan wore earrings made of animals teeth, a silver skull ring, and
toy silver six shooter hung from his studded belt.
a dozen other friends with him were dressed similarly.
McLaren has hired the firm of Prior, Cashman, Sherman and Flynn to defend Sid.
Hes also trying to arrange bail through Virgin or Warner Brothers Records.
Hes been saying that hes got plans for an album from Sid, one that
could pay for the estimated $100,000 in legal costs. In the meantime, Sid has
been moved to the hospital wing of Rikers Prison to undergo heroin detoxification.
mother, Ann Beverly, has flown in to New York to see her son, but only after raising
$10,000 from the sale of the rights to her inside story to the New York Post.
Back in England, Malcolm McLarens Kings Road clothing shop is already selling
T-shirts with Sid surrounded by a bunch of dead roses and the slogan Shes
Dead, Im Alive, Im Yours. Meanwhile, Nancy is buried in her
parents hometown of Philadelphia.
Records has telegraphed Malcolm McLaren the $50,000 bail for Sid Vicious
goes to Rikers Prison and gets Sid out on bail.
is despondent over Nancys death and perhaps confused about whether he had
any part in it or not. He tries to commit suicide by taking all of his supply
of methadone and slashing one of his arms. Sids mother discovers him and
quickly calls McLaren who races uptown to Sid, who weakly begs for someone to
finish him off. This attempt further drives home the theory that it was a failed
suicide pact between Nancy and Sid.
Maker 28th October, 1978
sound of breaking glass
VICIOUS attacked himself with a razor blade and a broken light bulb late on Monday
night, slashing his wrists as he tried to break out of the agony of drug withdrawal.
who attends court on Monday next week to face a charge of murdering his girlfriend
Nancy Spungen, has been on a methadone treatment to clear a heroin habit.
He took most of his weekends supply of the heroin substitute on Friday night,
and the rest early on Sunday, leaving him in severe withdrawal pain by Sunday
Malcolm McLaren spent most of the evening trying to find fresh supplies of methadone,
but as it is, in his words, "a bureaucratic drug supplied by Government
clinics, it was impossible to find any. McLaren left Vicious with his
mother in the Hotel Seville on Madison Avenue late on Sunday night, and at about
3am Vicious went Into the bathroom, where his mother found him a couple of minutes
later with slashed wrists.
told the MM: He had been suffering rapid methadone withdrawal over
the weekend, and by that evening he panicked.
is all right now they patched up his arms and gave him 50 milligrammes of methadone,
which has stabilised him. He was anxious to get himself clear of drugs, and
was trying to come off it too quickly. Its impossible for anyone, who hasnt
been through that to know what it means."
the eventual trial up to six months away, McLaren said he will try and get Vicious
involved in some recording or filming to keep his mind off the last few weeks.
want him fit mentally and physically for the ordeal of the trial, and I felt he
would need an objective to steer himself away from all the problems that will
constantly nag at him until the trial is over. Thats why I suggested some
recording to him. Also the enormous costs of getting the strongest defence
lawyer I can find will provide us with considerable financial problems, which
a record will help solve.
denied he had been filming events in New York to add to the Pistols The
Great Rock and Roll Swindle movie, but said that if Vicious was interested, filming
might take place later.
is in trouble again. Its the early morning hours and Sid is out on the town
with his new girlfriend Michelle Robinson. About 2:30 in the morning, Sid gets
into a fight with Patti Smiths brother Todd at Hurrahs disco in New
York. Todd throws a punch and Sid retaliates with a broken bottle, cutting Todds
face. Police are called and Sid, in clear violation of his parole, is hauled off
to Rikers again.
court hearing. Sid is kept in custody while reports prepared prior to next hearing.
fight that Sid got himself into on December 9th has kept Sid in Rikers detox
for almost seven weeks. Sid was clean, free from heroin and got to have his hearing.
James Merberg is a persuasive enough attorney to get Sid released immediately.
Leaving Rikers by lunchtime, hes greeted by some of his junkie friends from
the Chelsea and his mother, who had already purchased more heroin for her detoxed
son. The group went back to a friends apartment in Greenwich Village to
celebrate his release. Backsliding from the seven weeks of detox he painfully
endured, Sid immediately jumped back into heroin. The dose wasnt very potent,
and he argued that he needed more. His mother obliges him. Twenty minutes later
Sids collapsed on a bed and the friends talk about whether to take him to
the hospital, but Sid says hes all right. Sometime past midnight, Sid awakes
and finds the rest of the heroin in his mothers purse, he uses it and drifts
Daily Mail, 3rd February 1979 (Front page)
KILL PUNK STAR SID VICIOUS
NIGEL NELSON in New York
rock star Sid Vicious, the inadequate youth who turned a tasteless pop gimmick
into pathetic real life, died of a heroin overdose yesterday.
body was found after a party in his new girlfriends apartment in Greenwich
Village, New York, held to celebrate his release from jail on bail he had
been accused of murdering his previous girlfriend Nauseous Nancy Spungen,
with a knife.
Sid's Death Certificate
May 1957 2nd February 1979
to Punk Diary by George Gimarc St. Martins Press)
and researched by Phil Singleton.
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©Phil Singleton www.sex-pistols.net