Doherty party death: Blanco appeared to be thrown from balcony, CCTV experts say

By | Published on Monday 10 December 2012

Pete Doherty

CCTV footage shows that Mark Blanco, the actor who died at a house party attended by Pete Doherty back in 2006, was thrown to his death, according to experts consulted by the BBC’s ‘Newsnight’.

As previously reported, Blanco fell to his death from a balcony in the building where said party was taking place. He had previously had a run in with Doherty, the singer’s minder Johnny Jeannevol and the owner of the flat Paul Roundhill, and was forcefully evicted from the party. Shortly afterwards he returned to the building and less than a minute later was seen on CCTV falling to his death. Just over ten minutes later Doherty and two friends were filmed leaving the building and examining Blanco’s body before running away.

At the time, police investigations focused on the theory Blanco’s death was either suicide or an accident, perhaps as the actor attempted to make his exit by jumping to a lamppost. But a coroner rejected the suicide theory and, on declaring an open verdict, encouraged police to reopen their investigations. They did so in 2010, and Doherty was re-interviewed in February 2011.

However, following the new investigation the Crown Prosecution Service said in May last year that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in connection with the death.

Blanco’s family have always maintained that previous investigations have not been thorough enough, and are again urging police to reopen the case following the re-examination of some of the evidence by ‘Newsnight’.

In the process of its investigation, the programme showed footage of Blanco’s death to two CCTV experts. The first, US based FBI trainer Grant Fredericks, said that the fall was “very consistent with a person being carried and literally dropped over the edge of the balcony”.

Meanwhile, UK-based video forensics examiner John Kennedy said: “There’s no defensive movement whatsoever. It’s literally a drop from outside the rail. The only explanation I can think of is that somebody might have dropped him off the balcony. He doesn’t climb over the railing himself. He doesn’t jump. He just suddenly appears outside the railing and falls”.

Doherty’s former minder Jeannevol also spoke to the programme, explaining why he had, at one point, confessed to murdering Blanco but then later retracted his statement, saying: “The reason why I said to the police that I did it, is cos I’d go out and people would say ‘you murderer’, and the stress was just too much. [My] conscience is clear”.

Speaking to the Daily Mail recently, Doherty admitted to feeling “sick to my stomach” about leaving the scene, but maintained that Blanco had caused his own death, saying: “I can understand how it looks dodgy. How ashamed do you think I am that I stepped over the body and legged it down the street? In my heart, I pray and pray that his mother will stop punishing and torturing herself because she is convinced that there was foul play. But I am certain there wasn’t. The door was bolted and there wasn’t anyone from the party outside on the balcony with him”.

Blanco’s mother Sheila told Newsnight: “I think the whole case needs revisiting. The truth will out”.