Mother: 'Doherty knows how my son died at party' - Crime - UK - The Independent

Mother: 'Doherty knows how my son died at party'

More than four years after her son plummeted to his death from a balcony following a row with singer Pete Doherty and his friends, Sheila Blanco will hear this week whether her long fight for justice has been successful.

Mark Blanco, a 30-year-old actor, had been ejected from a party after asking the former Libertines frontman to come and watch him on stage. Minutes later, having returned, he was found dying from head injuries beneath the first-floor balcony. At his inquest, coroner Dr Andrew Reid recorded an open verdict, ruling out suicide and describing suggestions of an accident as "purely speculation".

He called for a review of the Metropolitan Police investigation and on Thursday Mrs Blanco will meet lawyers from the Crown Prosecution Service to hear whether there is to be a case against those she believes were responsible for her son's death.

For Mrs Blanco, a music lecturer, it has been a long battle to get justice for her "naïve and trusting" son, a Cambridge graduate.

"It has been terrible. With time it gets worse. I know what happened, Mark's friends know what happened, anyone who was there knows, but the police, for some reason, don't want to see it. I don't know whether it is incompetence or corruption or both," she said yesterday. She is convinced her son was unlawfully killed. Mr Doherty, his literary agent Paul Roundhill and his minder Johnny "Headlock" Jeannevol all deny any wrongdoing.

Mr Blanco, who was staging Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, turned up at a party at Mr Roundhill's east London flat in December 2006 in a "hyper" state and implored Doherty to come and see the play.

The inquest heard Mr Roundhill set light to his hat, dragged him to the door and punched him three times "ineffectually". Two minutes later, having returned to the party, Mr Blanco pitched from the balcony, but it was not for another 10 minutes that a female partygoer found him fatally wounded outside and raised the alarm. CCTV images showed Mr Doherty passing the body and rushing away from the scene. The coroner heard that Mr Jeannevol had confessed to pushing Mr Blanco to his death, but retracted that statement.

The original Scotland Yard investigation concluded there were no suspicious circumstances after a home office pathologist said Mr Blanco died hitting his head on the pavement, but found no injuries consistent with assault. However, Richard Wassersug, a professor of anatomy and an expert in such cases, concluded that it was extremely unlikely that he had jumped deliberately, adding: "The two most likely explanations are that he was backed into the railings and pushed over, or that he was not conscious and was dropped over the railing". His evidence was included in a dossier passed by the family to the police last July.

Yesterday Mrs Blanco said she hoped the CPS would tell her on Thursday that prosecutions would result from the second investigation, but vowed to fight on whatever their decision, potentially opting for a private prosecution. "I certainly am not going to leave it. I think it is an absolute travesty not just for Mark but for anybody. It is a human rights issue and the fact that some people get away with murder, which literally it is," she said.

Michael Wolkind QC, for the Blancos, said: "The second investigation started with some promise, but there may have been some tendency to protect the earlier investigation. It feels like celebrity privilege and always has [done]."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week