Girl Amy Winehouse wanted to adopt says ‘I could’ve saved her if I was with her’
The young girl Amy Winehouse wanted to adopt before her tragic death says she still thinks about the singing legend every day – and says she is convinced she could have saved her.
In an emotional interview, Dannika Augustin – now 20 and with a child of her own – recalls how the Grammy-winning singer beamed with joy, and her drink and drugs demons faded away when they were together.
The pair formed an inseparable bond during the last year of her life together in idyllic St Lucia, and the Back to Black singer was reportedly making plans to bring Dannika to London before she died.
On the 10th anniversary of her death, heartbroken Dannika told the Sunday Mirror: “Amy was like a mother to me and we had so much fun together.
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“When she came to St Lucia, I would be with her every day. We would go horse-riding or sit by the pool at her villa. We would play games and laugh and do funny stuff.
“Amy would sing or play music and I would dance next to her. She was always hugging me and showed me so much love. She would call me ‘daughter’ and tell me how adorable I was.”
She added: “I know I had a big impact on Amy’s life because when we were together, she was always clean and never sad.
“She was never drunk or taking drugs because she wanted to be responsible and she was such a kind-hearted person.
“I am convinced that if I had moved to London, I would have been able to save her.”
Amy had booked a flight to visit the schoolgirl and reportedly hired lawyers to look into the adoption just days before her plans were tragically cut short by her sudden death from alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, aged just 27.
Dannika was living with her single mum, who was struggling to make ends meet, when Amy took her under her wing.
The star, famous for her beehive hairdo, spent much of the last three years of her life in St Lucia, where she rented a lavish £2,000-a-night villa at the Cotton Bay Resort.
She started visiting the laid-back island at a time when her personal life was in turmoil.
While divorcing husband Blake Fielder, she tried to numb her pain with a cocktail of drink and drugs that left her painfully thin by the time she first visited in 2008.
She was a pale shadow of the star who had shot to fame on the back of huge hits like Rehab. Her famous voice had become strained and her performances erratic.
But under the blazing Caribbean sun, Amy shone again. “Amy was a different person when she was with me and when she died, it left such a big gap in my life.
“I still think about her all the time and play her music,” Dannika said.
“I would love to see her again now and tell her about everything I have been doing in the last 10 years.”
The pair met for the first time in 2010 when the singer became a regular at the beach bar run by her grandmother Marjorie Lambert on Cas en Bas beach.
Dannika recalled: “She met my grandmother first and liked the beach bar she ran, saying ‘Oh you have such a nice place.’
“She started coming every day and I think I was nine years old when we first met. I remember her bending down to say hello then saying, ‘Oh, you are so pretty.’ She held me and hugged me and made me feel very special, but at the start I didn’t know she was a celebrity or anything. I didn’t listen to her music, I didn’t know who she was.
“We were just two normal people hanging out at the beach and having fun together. She would play with me and hug me and say, ‘You’re so adorable.’ I would make her laugh.
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“Amy was so good to me. She would buy me pizza and little gifts.
“Her villa was beautiful but I never saw her as a rich lady, she was just someone who had a nice vibe and who was very protective of me.”
When Amy first came to St Lucia, she was small and skinny but Dannika’s grandmother fed her up with traditional grub – refusing to serve her alcohol unless she ate first.
Soon Amy was expressing her wish to take Dannika home to London so they could spend more time together and she could meet goddaughter Dionne Bromfield.
The schoolgirl was living with her single mum who, though devoted, wanted the best for her girl. Her father had moved to Germany but was finding it hard to get work.
Amy hoped to give Dannika a new life in the UK.
“Before Amy died, she told me she wanted to take me to England,” she said. “She said, ‘I like you and want us to spend more time together.’
“She said she had a goddaughter in England that she wanted me to meet and showed me some photos of her.
“We didn’t get as far as discussing dates, but I was very excited to go to London. I didn’t know what to expect, to me it was all about being with her because I loved being with Amy. I always felt safe when I was with her.”
As news of the potential adoption started to spread, critics said Amy was unfit to care for a child.
But Dannika insists: “Whatever issues she had, they never affected me. She was always good around me, so I never saw that side myself.”
Amy last saw Dannika in November 2010. Their planned summer reunion never came as Amy collapsed and died from alcohol poisoning at her home in Camden, North London.
Dannika graduated from school six years later and now works as a chef but has dreams of becoming an accountant – a wish Amy no doubt would have helped her fulfil.
She is engaged to be married and has a son aged 18 months. She has told both about her close bond with the star. She said: “I was by the beach where we would always hang out when I found out Amy had died. It was very shocking because we were expecting her back in St Lucia soon.
“I cried a lot and it was very sad. I still feel down when I think about her. I often imagine what it would be like to be with Amy. I can still remember exactly what she is like.”
Dannika, who still has Amy’s songs on her favourite playlist, added: “I can’t tell the future so I don’t know what my life would have been like with Amy, but I can tell you that my life is good right now.
“I am happy and I have a son who is one-and-a-half. I love being a mum. I have the joy of having a little one and that is what Amy wanted too. Amy would have been a great mum.
“She had the mothering instinct just like I do and having a child would have made her so happy, just like it makes me happy.”
Grandmother-of-six Marjorie, 67, said: “Every Sunday, children used to come here just to see Amy.
“Everybody knew that Amy loved this place. We were very close. She used to call me ‘Mama’ and people say I was her St Lucian mum.
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“I got so many calls from different people on the day she died I didn’t believe it. I had to tell Dannika and it was so sad because they were always together.
“Amy was an angel. Right now I believe she is in heaven with the angels.
“When I think of her now, tears are running. I still have her stool in front of me, where she would sit when she came, it will always remain there.
“She told me, ‘Mama, St Lucia is my home and I love your place’.”
Choking back tears, she added: “Amy would be so happy to see Dannika now and see how she has grown up and become a woman.”