Who was Mark Blanco and what happened to him? | The Sun

A NEW Channel 4 documentary Pete Doherty, Who Killed My Son? explores the death of 30-year-old Mark Blanco in 2006.

Here we take a look at what happened to Mark Blanco and how he met musician Pete Doherty.

How did Mark Blanco meet Pete Doherty?

Aspiring actor Mark Blanco had been living in East London and met a man named Paul Roundhill in his local – The George Tavern.

On December 2, 2006, he had been distributing posters for his new play, The Accidental Death of an Anarchist, before heading to Paul’s flat in Fieldgate Mansions, East London – where Pete Doherty was also present.

What happened to Mark Blanco?

Mark Blanco was 30 years old when he plunged to his death from a balcony outside a party attended by Babyshambles rocker Pete Doherty in December 2006.

A partygoer present on the night said Mark had been drinking and ''was on a different wavelength.''

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Naomi Stirk, who saw flat owner Paul Roundhill and another attendee Johnny Headlock evict Mark before the tragedy says: ''He was all excited, in his dress rehearsal costume, with a poster of his play.

''He wanted Peter to go to the play.

''Peter ended up being pinned up almost against the fireplace and Mark was inches away from Peter, waving the poster of the play.

''Peter was motioning with his eyes to Johnny and Paul in a way they would understand to say ‘help me out here’. They physically escorted Mark out of the flat.

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''The atmosphere was sinister.''

Shortly afterwards, another partygoer left and discovered Mark on the pavement outside.

Mark was taken to the ICU at the Royal London Hospital where his family were told ''by the neurosurgeons that Mark had non-survivable head injuries, and it would be a matter of days or weeks''.

Mark's mother Sheila said: ''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.

''We asked the police to investigate but they didn't come.''

Mark died the following morning aged 30.

Police told Sheila Pete Doherty had been at the gathering that night and that he was Kate Moss’s boyfriend, as well as revealing Roundhill’s flat had been a “a drug den for 25 years.”

Despite the suspicious circumstances, the area where Mark fell was never cordoned off by police.

Pauline Forster, landlady of the George Tavern and Theatre where Mark was a regular, reveals DI Mark Dunne immediately determined his death as a suicide, adding: ”He said he had seen the CCTV footage and he was 98 per cent sure Mark had jumped off that balcony.”

But she claims that was a “barefaced lie” because police had not taken the footage from the caretaker of the flat at the time.

Mark’s inquest ruled out suicide and the coroner criticised the initial police investigation, saying DI Dunne “made unqualified presumptions into the cause of Mark Blanco's death thereby failing in his duty to pursue all reasonable lines of inquiry".

The initial report to the coroner failed to mention a confession by Johnny Headlock, who handed himself into the Bethnal Green police station on Christmas Eve, 2006, and told cops “I killed Mark Blanco” before retracting his statement several hours later.

“Dunne’s police report also said, 'there's no evidence of any violence or threat of violence in respect to Mr. Blanco's departure'," says Sheila.

“That's totally untrue, because Roundhill dragged Mark to the door, tore his jacket and set his cap on fire. When I went to see Roundhill at his flat, unannounced, he told me he punched Mark three times in the face.”

Leading forensic scientists claim CCTV tape suggests Mark was thrown from the balcony and that he was unconscious even before he plummeted to the ground.

Five years after Mark’s death, Doherty, Roundhill and Jeannevol were questioned and released without charge.

In a 2012 interview with NME, the singer revealed the police apologised to him for the arrest.

''The pressure they put on me was completely minimal,'' he said.

''They said off-tape 'Pete, we're sorry about this, but the family are convinced that their son was murdered'. I can understand it and it does look dodgy."

The Met told the programme: ''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.''

Who is Mark's mother Sheila Blanco?

Sheila Blanco, the mother of Mark, is a teacher from Guildford.

In September 2023, 17 years after her son's death, in a new Channel 4 documentary, Pete Doherty, Who Killed My Son? Sheila claims Met Police bungled the initial investigation into her son's suspicious death, missed key evidence and lied about watching CCTV video.

The heartbroken mother also says footage shows “callous” Doherty and his minder Johnny ‘Headlock’ Jeannevol “stepping over” Mark and running from the scene minutes after he fell.

Speaking to The Sun ahead of the documentary, Sheila said: '' Mark was funny, kind and very soft-hearted.

''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.

''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 is now hoping the new documentary will force the Metropolitan Police to look again at her son’s death.



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''There are some damning pieces of evidence in that film and I think the police cannot ignore it,'' she says.

''I hope it gives them the necessary drive to bring about a conclusion to all these years of missed opportunities.''

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