AFTER his girlfriend Nancy Spungen was discovered stabbed to death in a New York hotel room, Sid Vicious wrote a terrifying letter to her mum. &
AFTER his girlfriend Nancy Spungen was discovered stabbed to death in a New York hotel room, Sid Vicious wrote a terrifying letter to her mum.
“We so much wanted to die together in each other’s arms,” he wrote, revealing their secret death pact.
Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen had a 19 month romance[/caption]
“I promised my baby that I would kill myself if anything ever happened to her, and she promised me the same.”
The words, in a series of letters to grieving mum Debbie in the wake of Nancy’s death, gave a chilling insight into the intense but deadly obsession the lovers shared.
Less than six months later Sid – real name Simon John Ritchie – died from a drug overdose.
The pair met when he was a rising star on the punk scene, the volatile bassist in the now legendary Sex Pistols, and she was a disturbed, drug-addicted groupie.
But the romance was a deadly mix of spiralling drug abuse and violence which ended when 20-year-old Nancy was killed by a single stab wound, in October 1978, and Sid was charged with her murder.
Their tragic story forms part of the new biopic series Pistol, based on guitarist Steve Jones’ memoir Lonely Boy, which went into production this week with Danny Boyle at the helm.
Pictures of British actress Emma Appleton, dressed as tragic Nancy in fishnets, capture the haunting look of the anarchic wild child whose dark romance with Sid led them both on a spiral of destruction.
Emma Appleton plays tragic Nancy in the series Pistol[/caption]
Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan where Nancy was found dead[/caption]
Thrown out at 16 by drug addict mum
Coming from wildly different backgrounds, Sid and Nancy both grew up as troubled, disruptive teens with deeply unhappy childhoods.
Born in a wealthy suburb of Philadelphia, to a stable family, Nancy suffered a brain trauma at birth and was a volatile and violent child, who allegedly threatened to kill a babysitter with scissors.
She was expelled from school and diagnosed with schizophrenia at 15, spending time in a psychiatric hospital.
As punk rock exploded onto the music scene, in the mid 70s, Nancy was working as a 17-year-old stripper and sex worker in New York, having run away from home.
Sid had an equally turbulent childhood in Kent, Ibiza and London with single mum Anne.
A drug addict herself, Anne used her young son to smuggle marijuana between Spain and England.
According to pal Jah Wobble, who shared a flat with him after he was kicked out by Anne at 16, his family life was: “a big black hole.”
“His mother had no interest in his life,” he told the Guardian.
“She was into the hardcore drug thing – heroin and opiates – which was all-embracing, that was her life.”
Nancy was said to be a volatile teenager[/caption]
Sid’s mum Anne had her own problems with drugs[/caption]
Pushed groupie downstairs to please Nancy
By the time Nancy moved to London, in 1977, Sid was established in the punk rock scene, initially drumming for Siouxsie and the Banshees, before replacing Glen Matlock as bassist for The Sex Pistols.
The Pistols were riding high – having had a number 1 hit with Anarchy in the UK but, with a reputation for violent outbursts, Sid added an extra anarchic element to the band.
He had already been jailed for hurling a glass at The Damned during a gig, partially blinding a female fan, and had assaulted NME journalist Nick Kent with a motorbike chain.
“Anywhere you went that Sid turned up, you knew there was going to be trouble,” Steve Jones wrote in his memoir. He kind of got off on that.”
Punk fan Nancy, 18, was a determined groupie who set her sights on The Sex Pistols, propositioning singer John Lydon before hooking up with Sid.
Loud and obnoxious, Nancy was spurned by the other groupies but was accepted by musicians, largely because she supplied them with heroin.
Steve Jones – who slept with Nancy behind Sid’s back – described her as “whiny”.
“I was bewildered by what he could’ve found attractive about her,” he added.
But Sid had found a kindred spirit and someone who could tutor him in the ways of drugs and sex and embrace his outbursts.
One witness recalled Nancy telling Sid to push a groupie down the stairs at a club which he did “without a second thought.”
Nancy set her sights on Sid[/caption]
‘Kidnap’ attempt to split inseparable pair
With the Pistols’ album Never Mind the Boll***s, riding high in the charts, Sid and Nancy moved into a flat in Maida Vale where their heroin addiction spiralled out of control.
The rest of the band tried to keep them apart and manager Malcolm McLaren later admitted he tried to have her “kidnapped” and put on a plane to the States.
But the couple were inseparable. In letters to her mum, after her death, Sid revealed their dependence on each other, born from their dark struggles with mental health.
“I worshipped Nancy,” he wrote. “It was far more than just love. To me she was a goddess. She used to make me kiss her feet before we made love.
“No one ever loved the way we did, and to spend even a day away from her, let alone a whole lifetime, is too painful to even think about.”
When she was banned from joining the group on a US tour, in January 1978, Sid became more erratic, smashing a fan over the head with a guitar and carving “gimme a fix” into his chest with a razor blade before coming on stage at a Dallas gig.
After the group split on tour, Sid was hospitalised in New York with a methadone overdose.
Sid with Steve Jones and Johnny Lydon at the Dallas gig[/caption]
Suicide attempt in Paris hotel
Reunited with Nancy, Sid signed up to film the Julian Temple’s mockumentary The Great Rock n’ Roll swindle in Paris but was rarely sober enough to leave his hotel room.
On one occasion Sid did make it on set, he returned to a scene of carnage at the hotel.
“She’d cut her wrists, there was blood all over the bed,” says director Julian.
“She’d faked up a suicide attempt to really make Sid feel that he shouldn’t leave her, even for a few hours, to do any filming.”
Nancy and Sid on stage at a 1978 Pistols gig[/caption]
Double tragedy ends toxic romance
Their self-destructive binges came to a tragic end on the night of October 11, 1978, in Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel.
The couple, who had been living in room 100 for two months, threw a party and Sid swallowed 30 anti-depressant pills before passing out.
The following morning, at 11am, a bellboy found Nancy dead, clad in her underwear, with a single stab wound in her stomach.
Her distraught lover was found wandering the hallways, shouting that he had killed her, although later denied it, saying he didn’t remember anything about the night.
Arrested and bailed, Sid slit his wrists with a broken lightbulb and, when taken to hospital, attempted to jump out of the window.
Sid is led away from the Chelsea hotel after the murder[/caption]
The corridor of the Chelsea Hotel where distraught rocker was found[/caption]
In the days following, he wrote several letters to Nancy’s mum Debbie, thanking her for “understanding” their love.
“I’m dying. Slowly, and in great pain,” he wrote. “ My baby is gone, without her I have no will to live.
“I love her so desperately. I know I can never make it without her.”
He also revealed the couple had a “death pact” and that he now wanted to take his own life as the “final commitment to the one I love.”
He added: “She always said she would die before she was twenty-one, and I never doubted it.”
Sid Vicious in the mugshot taken after his arrest[/caption]
Released from jail on February 1, 1979, after serving two months for a separate assault in a club, he threw a party in a small Manhattan flat owned by a new girlfriend.
The following morning mum Anne, who later admitted to supplying him with heroin, found him dead from an overdose.
In a tragic postscript she claimed the punk icon had left a note, reading: “We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me next to my baby. Goodbye.”
Anne Beverley claims she scattered his ashes on Nancy’s grave, despite being refused permission by her family.
Others have claimed Anne dropped Sid’s urn in a busy Heathrow terminal, sending his ashes into the air conditioning system.
Since his death, at the age of 22, many theories about Nancy’s murder have circulated, with supporters arguing the rocker was too comatose to kill her, and others claiming it was a botched murder-suicide or that a drug dealer had wielded the knife.
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As the new six part drama goes into production, one thing the writers can rely on is the deep and deadly devotion the couple shared.
“She was his first and only love of his life,” Malcolm McLaren wrote in his memoir.
“As everyone knows, you may argue, want to leave them, move on, and be with others — but you never get over them.”