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Sheila Blanco Makes Statement On Suspicious Death Of Her Son Mark, Subject Of New Channel 4 Documentary On 25 September

“I am Sheila Blanco, retired lecturer, the mother of Mark Blanco, aged 30, who fell to his death in highly suspicious circumstances in December 2006 from the balcony of a flat in Whitechapel, London.

“I very much welcome the inspirational documentary commissioned by Channel 4, directed by Ben Cheetham and executively produced by Owen Phillips of Five Mile Films. Travelling through the last 16 years, it points out failures and omissions not considered relevant by the investigating police. The compassion and empathy of Ben’s direction will, I am confident, encourage the Crown Prosecution Service and police to progress with renewed energy. As the chilling revelations mount, the film leaves little doubt as to what happened that night in 2006.

“The first police investigation fell far below the standard expected with Mark’s glass lens found in the gutter by his mother, his possessions missing, misinformation given to the family and crass assumptions made by the Investigating Officer. My concerns were upheld by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Consequently, I have had to drive the investigation into my son’s death myself for the last 16 years in spite of the Coroner’s Open Verdict and order for the Met Police to reinvestigate.

“There was a palpable defensiveness from police from day one around the three male witnesses to the incident and a wilful reluctance to look for crime. In short, there has thus far been little proactive interest or inclination to find out how Mark went over the balcony railing or who, if anyone, was responsible. Expert analysis of the CCTV footage, commissioned by BBC Newsnight and me, was challenged rather than any consensus of opinion reached.

“I am delighted that Mike Schwarz from Hodge Jones & Allen agreed to act for me on the retirement of my original lawyers, in January 2022. I am confident that in Mike’s capable hands and with the opening up of new avenues of investigation presented in Channel 4’s powerful documentary, the Metropolitan Police will grasp the necessary drive and momentum to bring about a just conclusion to all these years of missed opportunity and apathy. They need to answer fully the questions I continue to ask: How did Mark die? Was someone else responsible for his death? If so, who was responsible?”

Sheila Blanco is represented now by Mike Schwarz, partner at HJA solicitors. Further press inquiries should be directed to HJA.

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