Mothers who fight for Justice: Sheila Blanco
Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Dr Sara Payne MBE, Christine Lord, Kate McCann, Winnie Johnson. All these mothers have fought, and continue to fight, on behalf of their children who have passed away or disappeared in tragic circumstances. A mother demanding justice is a powerful force. She can embarrass establishments, shame perpetrators, change the law – but what is the personal cost of devoting one’s life to ‘justice’ and why do some mothers fight?
Entries Tagged 'Case News' ↓
Mothers who fight for Justice: Sheila Blanco
CCTV suggests death fall Mark Blanco probably ‘dropped’.
BBC Newsnight has been examining the case over the last eight months after the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute any individual.
Video is also availble on YouTube
October 30th, 2012 — Case News
On 2nd December 2006, Pete Doherty and four others, were at a party at the flat of a known Class A drug dealer, Paul Roundhill, in London. Following an altercation with Pete Doherty at the party, 30 year old actor Mark Blanco was founddying in the street, having fallen from the 1st floor balcony of the block to the ground below.
Shorty after the “fall”, Pete Doherty and his entourage fled the scene, running past Mark who was lying in critical need of help in the street. They got into a taxi and left Blanco to his fate. He died 24 hours later in hospital from severe head injuries.
One of the women at the party, Annabel Healdsmith, later admitted that Roundhill, Johnny Headlock and Pete Doherty all went outside together to the balcony to eject Mark from the party. The three returned but Mark did not.
Pete Doherty‘s excuse for fleeing the scene was that he was in possession of drugs. That same night, he went on to commit another crime – vandalism – causing thousands of pounds worth of damage in a hotel room where he continued to party with Kate Russell-Pavier, who was celebrating her 19th birthday.
Three weeks later, Johnny Headlock – Pete Doherty‘s bodyguard at the time – walked into Bethnal Green police station and confessed to killing Mark. The next day he retracted his confession with the excuse that he was on drugs at the time. He was released without further questioning. Mental Hospital notes, which declared him of sound mind, have since gone missing. All three men have since said to others that Mark was killed or murdered.
Pete Doherty has always enjoyed a cosy relationship with Tower Hamlets Police and curiously having appeared in court on numerous occasions for drug related crimes, burglary, theft and assault, he is treated with astounding leniency.
Roundhill, a drug supplier and police informant, confessed to punching Mark during an altercation at his apartment and setting his hat on fire. He then claimed Mark was trying to make an artistic statement by committing suicide. The London Metropolitan police “accepted” this as the true version of events from their informant. Pete Doherty has since made a similar claim.
A great deal of evidence submitted points to the fact that Mark was either pushed or dropped over the balcony. The police have ignored this inconvenient evidence, as well as the fact that Mark had severe vertigo and would never have volunteered to jump from the balcony. Little forensic evidence was submitted; CCTV was left unenhanced; and injury biomechanics experts’ reports were dismissed as irrelevant.
No one has ever been held accountable for Mark Blanco’s death. The Metropolitan police quickly attributed the death to an accident or suicide on the night of the tragedy. This was done without proper investigation and before interviewing key witnesses. As for a thorough investigation? Mark’s mother found the lens from her son’s glasses in the gutter outside the flat the day after he fell. The Metropolitan police were, needless to say, long gone.
The petion is now closed and has been forwarded to the Met.
Thank you to all those who have supported this.
June 6th, 2012 — Case News
Following the CPS London decision of May 2011, detailed here on the website, Complaints regarding the Metropolitan Police Investigation into the Death of Mark Blanco were submitted to the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) in July 2011.
“The police should treat the matter of a man’s death as worthy of investigation if the cause of death is not readily apparent, unexplained or suspicious. In the case of Mark Blanco this has not been the case.”……………. from Executive Summary, Sheila Blanco.
Work on this Complaint is still in progress.
December 6th, 2011 — Case News
The lunch in London to commemorate the anniversary of Mark’s death was both poignant and hilarious, with Mark never far away.
All three men who received Mark’s organs are doing well.
As always, I thank so many who are helping in so many ways to secure Justice for Mark.
A message from Emma Blanco.
Sky News are showing a package of programmes on Monday 6th September from 06.00 Sunrise throughout the day with interviews detailing different aspects of this unsolved unlawful killing of my brother Mark-a hugely charismatic, generous, brilliant and philanthropic soul.
My mother and I will be doing live interviews and amongst others there will also be interviews with Michael Wolkind QC.,Dr Corrina Cory – and the individual who confessed to Mark’s murder weeks after his death, Jonny ‘Headlock‘
We’ll try and post the material online if possible. Also remember to help support our campaign by buying tickets for Mark Blanco’s Benefit Evening to raise funds for the ongoing campaign into his unlawful killing. The event will be on the 15th September 2010 at 7.30 pm. at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London.
Update: Watch the program on YouTube
July 28th, 2010 — Case News
There will be a benefit evening in memory of Mark to raise funds for the ongoing campaign into his unlawful killing. The event will be on the 15th September 2010 at 7.30 pm. at the Bloomsbury Theatre, 165 Gordon Street, WC1H 0AH.
Graffiti Classics –
16 strings, 8 dancing feet and 4 voices
PLUS AN AUCTION OF MARK’S ANTIQUARIAN BOOKS
Tickets are £22, £19 (conc.) and can be bought from the box office online or by calling them on 020 7388 8822.
A note from Sheila Blanco – Mark’s Mother
Ahmed Dickinson Cardenas, virtuoso Cuban guitarist will perform alone and with Emma in a programme of music from Cuba to Spain to Argentina. For a truly energetic fun-filled second half Graffiti Classics, fresh from this year’s Edinburgh Festival, will guarantee to leave you with a smile on your face! Not gypsy, not jazz, not trad, not classical but scintillatingly slap-stick with brilliant arrangements and mischievous humour.
Yes, Michael Wolkind QC will make a guest appearance.
There will also be an auction of more of Mark’s antiquarian and other books and a couple of surprises along the way I am sure, if last year’s event is anything to go by!
PLEASE come and support us on September 15th and contribute to the ongoing fight for justice. The funds raised from last year’s event enabled us to have some vital biomechanical analysis done on the CCTV footage from the night of Mark’s death. We are now making significant progress, exercising endless patience as ever, towards finding out the truth and ensuring that those responsible for his death do not simply get away with it.
March 4th, 2010 — Case News
Shouting, swearing and running up and down were heard in the stairwell of 18 Romford Street seconds before the thud of Mark hitting the ground outside. Having ‘fallen’ from a height of just 3.5m., Mark died from multiple skull fractures 24 hours later. Mark received no injuries to his arms or legs. These harsh truths are with me 24 hours a day.
A unique life brutally cut short.
Help me, his mother, in any way you can, to secure Justice for Mark
Sheila Blanco March 3rd 2010
February 25th, 2010 — Case News
We received a letter from the partner of Paul Cunniffe, who also died in suspicious circumstances at the building where Paul Roundhill used to live. The same building where Mark fell to his death. We’d like to publish it in full here so that her statement is public.
I would like to take this opportunity to offer you my wholehearted support – in your campaign for justice for your son, Mark.
I cannot even begin to comprehend your pain. Losing a child is a truly terrible experience – one I can hardly bear to imagine.
My circumstances are quite different – but the similarities in our stories quite shocking.
My partner, Paul Cunniffe, was 40 years old when he died, on August 11th, 2001 – falling from the roof of Fieldgate Mansions in Whitechapel, where your son also died.
Paul was a musician, singer-songwriter, of Irish ancestry – beautiful, talented, widely admired and full of energy.
Things hadn’t ever been easy for Paul, and he was in a difficult place in his life, for a number of quite complex, personal reasons.
To this day I, and the rest of Paul’s family, have little, if any, idea about what happened, or who was involved.
Paul had been associating with a group of people in these flats. The only person I ever came into contact with was a known drug dealer, also called Paul. I don’t know his surname. A scruffy looking, weasel of a man. Shifty, jumpy, and not terribly engaging.
I couldn’t see the attraction of hanging around with these people but, having recently given birth to our second child at the end of June that year, my priorities lay elsewhere.
Paul had gone across to see someone who he said owed him money, and that he’d be back later that afternoon. As I dropped him off at the tube station the last thing he said, to the reflection in my rear view mirror, was ‘I love you.’ Corny, but true. I never saw him alive again after that.
I got a phone call from a police officer who was calling from Bethnal Green police station, ‘in connection with Paul Cunniffe, trying to trace his relatives.’ I laughed and said, ‘that’s what they say on TV when someone has died.’ Silence from him – followed by hysteria from me, as the reality dawned that Paul was indeed dead.
From that moment we were set upon a rollercoaster ride of bewilderment, regrets, grief, pain and confusion – that has never quite ended. The impact on our family has been devastating.
At the inquest, the Coroner in Poplar, who was a very sympathetic and kind man, was quite clear with the family, about the purpose of the inquest hearing. To establish the cause of death – that was all. Due to his injuries, Paul had clearly died from a fall. He had been attended by the HEMS air ambulance service, by road, from just around the corner in Whitechapel, but had died in the Royal London Hospital, having suffered a massive sub-lateral bleed, and multiple injuries. Having been given so many transfusions, toxicology reports were inconclusive.
The Coroner was clear that it would be down to the family to raise the issue with the police, if we felt that they should pursue the investigation. It was not something the Coroner’s Court was empowered to do, apparently. The police stated that they had called round to the address in Fieldgate Mansions three or four times but had failed to get an answer. They concluded that there was no case to answer.
We were devastated. We had considered all sorts of possibilities – that there had been a fight, that other people had been involved, that drink or drugs had been a factor.
To get no answer on any of these things was utterly shocking – and in our minds a total travesty. My opinion on that has never changed. Having a six week old baby in my arms, and a four and a half year old child at home, devastated by the loss of his father, left us in no doubt that we were in no position to pursue this.
It is my belief that Paul was attempting to get away from a situation, or from someone, when he fell. I don’t know what or who. I don’t know what this ‘Paul’ person had to do with any of it, but I know he was there. I spoke to him once, briefly, and he confirmed that much. In not coming forward, and not speaking to the police how we would ever know what else happened?
I can’t believe that the police are not compelled to fully investigate any suspicious death. What sort of society do we live in, where that is acceptable?
The fact that Mark Blanco died in similar circumstances at the same location is uncanny. The fact that this death was also not investigated is outrageous.
How many people who come into contact with this group of toxic, low-life scumbags need to die before waves are finally made? I believe that is something which needs to be answered.
The fact that the film maker, Robyn Whitehead, also appears to have died, in association with the same group of individuals, cannot be ignored.
Fight on, Sheila, fight on! I totally admire your strength and fortitude, and your resolve to pursue this campaign! May you continue to find the courage, support and resources to do so.
May we all – one day soon – find an answer, find justice, and find peace.