Mum of man who fell to his death while partying with Pete Doherty speaks out
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Warning: Article mentions topics of suicide
The mum of the man who fell to his death while partying with Pete Doherty nearly a decade ago has spoken out about the tragic situation.
A brand-new Channel 4 documentary film, set to air on Monday (25 September), follows the harrowing tale of Mark Blanco, who died in suspicious circumstances at a party with rockstar Doherty back on 2 December 2006.
The doc, titled Pete Doherty, Who Killed My Son?, tells the story of Mark's mother's relentless pursuit of justice some 16 years after her 30-year-old son plunged to his death from a balcony outside the party.
In the documentary, mother Sheila Blanco watched Doherty sing the song 'Lost Art of Murder' while joking about 'suspicious deaths' filmed in the same exact flat based in East London where just four months prior, Mark fell to his death.
The film sees Sheila claim the Met Police botched their initial investigation into Mark's death as well as missing key evidence after leading forensic scientists claimed CCTV footage suggests Mark was thrown from the balcony.
They also claimed he was unconscious even before he fell to the ground.
Naomi Stirk, who was at the same party as Mark and Doherty that night, said she saw the owner of the flat, Paul Roundhill, and Johnny Headlock evict Mark before the tragedy.
"I don’t know if it was murder or manslaughter but I know something went on and it wasn’t accidental," she revealed.
Mark, who was an aspiring actor who studied at Cambridge, was described by Sheila as 'funny, kind and very soft-hearted'.
She added: "If he was earning a lot of money, which he did when he worked at Goldman Sachs, he would give some of it away. He was so generous.
“I was the last person to say goodbye. I put my head on his chest and I promised I would find out what happened and I've always been committed to that."
The distraught mother added: "It will never change, and the way I've been treated by the Met makes me even more resolute to continue.
"It shouldn’t be the job of a mother to investigate her son’s death."
Sheila claimed she was repeatedly ignored by the Met and spent more than £100,000 on her own investigation into the matter in a tireless battle to seek justice for Mark.
The mum received a call at around 3am from authorities notifying her that Mark was in the ICU at the Royal London Hospital and was left totally 'numb' with shock.
She recalled: "We were told by the neurosurgeons that Mark had non-survivable head injuries, and it would be a matter of days or weeks.
"I burst into tears but most of the time I didn't cry. I was in shock."
As Mark was dying, various friends showed up and told Sheila their recollection of events from the evening - prompting her to want to find out more.
She added: "His right eye was black when he got there, as though he'd been attacked, although I know that can be caused by brain injuries," she says.
"We asked the police to investigate but they didn't come."
Mark unfortunately died the next morning.
Sheila then met with police and soon found out the flat area had not been cordoned off and that red stains were visible on the stairs yet were dismissed by the accompanying officer.
She also happened upon the left lens of Mark’s glasses on the pavement, adding: "I couldn’t believe the police hadn’t seen it. It had been there 37 hours.
"I picked it up and said, 'That’s from Mark’s glasses' and the officer said, 'You can have it as a keepsake'. I couldn’t believe my ears, from that moment I had a bad feeling about the whole investigation."
While the death was immediately determined to be suicide by DI Mark Dunne, Sheila believed that was a 'barefaced lie'.
She also claimed that Dunne 'made unqualified presumptions into the cause of Mark Blanco's death thereby failing in his duty to pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry'.
Sheila is currently hoping that the new doc could pave the way for a further Met Police investigation into Mark's untimely passing.
"There are some damning pieces of evidence in that film and I think the police cannot ignore it," she said. "I hope it gives them the necessary drive to bring about a conclusion to all these years of missed opportunities."
Opening up about her grief, Sheila added: "I think about him every day. I'm not a person who will collapse and cry because if I let it upset me too much I’ll get ill. I need to channel that energy into something positive.
"Mark's dead. I can't change that. I promised Mark that I would find out what happened at any cost and I will keep fighting until I get the justice I want.
"I have to put the emotion to one side but I don’t know how those people sleep at night."
The Metropolitan Police told Channel 4: "Our sympathies remain with the family of Mark Blanco. Police conducted an investigation of all the evidence available following his death.
"Following the initial investigation, the death has been subject to various reviews by the Met where areas for reinvestigation were highlighted, these were progressed by homicide detectives and we have also undertaken expert analysis of the CCTV footage.
"The investigation into the death remains ongoing and any new evidence of information will be assessed by detectives."
Paul Roundhill said: "Mark was my good friend, I would not protect anyone who had a part in his death. My sympathy and support is for Sheila Blanco. Mark and his family deserve justice."
Pete Doherty said: "I am sorry for Mrs Blanco’s loss and I welcome any assistance people can give her to come to terms with what happened."
Pete Doherty, Who Killed My Son? will air on Channel 4 next week (25 September).