The Diva. Photos From the Collection of Alan W. Petrucelli
But the cause of death can change.
And we hope that will be the case with Dame Shirley Bassey’s daughter, Samantha Novak. (Her father was Bassey’s second hubby, Sergio Novak.) British police have decided to reopen their investigation into the 1985 death of the diva’s daughter after detectives received new information that suggested she might have been murdered . . . and after Dame Shirley gave a newspaper interview last October questioning the death.
Samantha was found face-down in a river near a 250-foot suspension bridge in the English city of Bristol 25 years ago. A coroner's report said the 21-year-old tumbled off the riverbank after a night out with friends.
Nonsense says Shirley, who has always insisted that her daughter‘s death was neither accident nor suicide. Last October she told The Guardian, “I never believed that she killed herself,” she muses. “If she'd jumped off the bridge, all her bones would have been broken. But there was not a bone broken. In fact she did not have a mark on her. So if anything, I'm suspicious about her death. They said she didn’t have a mark on her, and she didn't have any water in her lungs. So if somebody’s drowning, they gasp, don’t they?”
Police explain that they are “making fresh inquiries into the case” after the mother of Penny Beale—who was killed by her lover Michael Moffat in 2001—told them her daughter said Moffat was involved in Novak’s death. (Moffat spent 11 years in jail for brutally murdering Beale.)
Says Detective Chief Inspector Mike Carter, head of the force’s major crime review team:
The official police statement read:
What’s surprising is that Penny Beale insists she first informed police of her concerns that the man who murdered her daughter might have killed Novak. She claims she has contacted officers with the allegation “over and over again,” but believes police refused to take her claims seriously until Bassey’s interview.
“In the summer of 2001, I told police my concerns he had murdered Samantha and was going to kill Penny but everybody thought I was just a mad, overprotective parent. What he did to my daughter wasn’t a one-off. He did horrible stuff. I think there is a strong possibility that Samantha Novak was murdered by Moffat.”
Dame Shirley’s take? Her spokesman insists,