Byline: EXCLUSIVE by DANIELLE LAWLER
HE is only 24 and should have the world of rock and roll at his feet. Until last week Pete Doherty was lead singer and guitarist in the Libertines, the group once tipped to eclipse Oasis and make millions.
Yet instead of holding court in a five-star hotel suite, the man hailed as Britain's brightest musical talent for years is sleeping on the couch in a friend's down-at-heel flat sipping tea from a chipped cup.
Doherty can't - or won't - give up a crippling addiction to heroin and crack cocaine that is costing him up to pounds 1,000 a day.
Last week he was finally kicked out of the band he founded and he has been disowned by nearly all of his family. Yet not even the prospect of a squalid, self-inflicted death can make him turn away from this road to self-destruction.
His mother Jacqueline resorted to emotional blackmail to try to make him stop. She refused to have treatment after finding a lump in her breast unless he booked into Thailand's Thamkrabok Monastery - last refuge of drug addicts that other clinics cannot help.
He flew to Thailand to briefly submit to the tough regime - but after just three days he quit and headed for Bangkok, where he sent out an internet plea for cash to Libertines fans - who promptly sent him pounds 1,000 to fly home.
Many now fear he is heading down the same road to oblivion as Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain who committed suicide after battling chronic heroin addiction.
"I'm not scared about death," Doherty tells me in his first interview since flying back from Thailand eight days ago. "I don't care if everyone says I'm going to die if I carry on taking drugs.
"I'm more terrified for others - my mum and friends who are worrying themselves over me. Sometimes I'm convinced I do want to be free from the drugs - but I don't feel a lot of people's worries justify it."
Defiantly he adds: "I know people who take more drugs than me and they're still here."
A loose page falls from a leather-bound diary he is flicking through as he chain-smokes his way through a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes. He picks it up and starts reading a poem he's written:
I feel death - dull misty death - it is pestering me like a well-meaning friend,
Death is blinding me, with slow-burning horror flame flickers.
I feel death - thrashing, certain death - banging me about a reet gud clobbering. Waves then...
I feel death, mournful dreary death, clogging up myself.'
Doherty believes that it is his inner demons, rather than drugs, that could kill him. "There are three things I know a bit about in my life and that's QPR, my guitar and drugs," he says. "I know QPR are the best football team in the world, my guitar is the most beautiful thing I own and that I don't take enough drugs to kill me. It isn't drugs I need to get rid of, it's the demons that fill my head. Once I have come to terms with my demons, maybe I'll be able to get clean."
It was after a second and failed spell at the exclusive Priory Clinic that his mother begged her son to go to the Thamkrabok Monastery.
"She just turned up on the doorstep one day and was really distressed and worried about me," says Doherty. "She'd found a lump in her breast but refused to have a scan unless I agreed to go into rehab. I think that was unfair to put so much pressure on me, but I went anyway to prove I would do it for her. I went for three days without drugs and it was hell. But she still wasn't satisfied. I'd gone to Thailand like she asked. I couldn't have done much more."
The Buddhist monastery in the mountains of central Thailand has been treating long-term addicts since the 1960s. When he arrived , Doherty was handed a set of tattered red pyjamas and shown to his spartan bunk.
Each day he was given a shot-glass of a drink made of 108 seeds, leaves and tree bark, then made to drink pints of water to make him vomit and detox his body. …