Family of party death man launch attack on police

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The Independent Online

The family of an actor who died at a party attended by Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty today launched a blistering attack on police handling of the case.

Mark Blanco fell from a balcony at a flat in Whitechapel, east London, in December 2006.

He was taken to hospital with severe head injuries and died the following day.

Today his sister Emma said: "This is no longer just a fight for Mark. It is a fight as citizens of this country to stop things like this happening, to stop obvious crimes being ignored.

"It's a fight for justice, it's not a fight just for justice for Mark, it's a fight for justice for any human being that needs to rely on services that you would expect to be able to rely on - the police force in this country which we have been let down by for three years."

His mother Sheila said she went through details of what might have happened that night every day.

Speaking at a press conference to urge further police action on the case she said: "The UK is not a third world country and I feel that anyone who dies in unexplained circumstances or who is critically injured in unexplained circumstances is worthy of a decent police investigation. Mark did not receive that and we ask ourselves why."

The initial police investigation into the death of the Cambridge graduate found that he had jumped deliberately, the family's barrister, Michael Wolkind QC said, but a coroner then ordered a second independent probe.

Officers then found that either Mark had jumped deliberately or he fell because of a "criminal act", but could not say which.

This prompted the Blanco family to pay for their own specialist reports on how Mark died, including a study by neurobiology expert Professor Richard Wassersug.

He found that: "To sustain lethal injury almost exclusively to the head in a fall from such a low height would require more than just drug-induced poor co-ordination and slow reflexes."

This is because humans in free fall react instinctively to protect their head, he said.

The professor found Mark could not have deliberately jumped and sustained those head injuries.