Monday, December 11, 2006

Doherty, death and the dance of doubt

The police are still fairly certain that they're not treating the death of Mark Blanco as anything more than a tragic accident, and the row he had with Pete Doherty shortly before he died as nothing more than a tragic coincidence.

But the more reports and rumours which appear, the murkier the story seems. For while there's no evidence that anything amiss has taken place, Doherty's reaction hasn't exactly reflected well upon him.

The Guardian spoke to one party-goer who claimed that Doherty had seen Blanco, on the pavement, but still hadn't bothered to wait for police or ambulance to show up:

Doherty left for another party before the ambulance arrived. "He came out of the house and was clearly very concerned. He came and stooped down next to me. I was saying to Peter 'it's okay, it's alright'," said the woman. "Peter went 'it's not fucking okay; it's not alright' and was clearly very distressed.

"It seems that it's a very tragic accident," she added. "I'm sure that from the inquest they will be able to tell us what's happened, and I trust they will be right."

The family of the dead man seem less sure of that:

The family of Blanco, a Cambridge graduate, are understood to be frustrated at the police's apparent failure so far to question all potential witnesses, and a refusal to go beyond describing the death as "unexplained". In a statement, friends described the actor, cast in the lead of Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, as a "solid, intelligent and loving man". They added: "We absolutely do not believe that Mark committed suicide, or that his death was a simple accident."

In yesterday's Mail On Sunday, Johnny Headlock, Doherty's "unofficial minder", gave an interview putting what's so far the closest thing to an official line:

Headlock says he cannot remember how 30-year-old Blanco's body was discovered.

'I remember someone saying, "Mark's had an accident",' he said. 'We came down and there he was on the floor and the girls were checking him. I assumed he walked down and he just fell over because there was no blood anywhere. I thought he was drunk and he just slipped and fell on the floor.

'Mark could have fallen over the balcony, 'cos the balcony's not that high. But he didn't look that bad. No one actually knew he'd fallen over the balcony. No one saw it. How do we know?'

Headlock says he can't explain Blanco's death. He does, however, confirm that hard drugs were available at the flat. He says Roundhill had been taking crack and admits taking cocaine himself.

Nobody, of course, has any real idea what happened, or how Mark died - hopefully the inquest will shed some light on events.

But this is already shaping up to be Pete Doherty's Stuart Lubbock moment - by taking his usual half-arsed approach to the accident, he's managed to leave himself in the shadow of a perpetual question mark. It's not so much the question of how Blanco died: it's more the question of what sort of man sees a friend dying in the street, and heads off to another party?