Inside the Pete Doherty party where Cambridge grad was ‘murdered’: Rocker’s ‘minder’, literary agent, and girlfriend were among guests at flat where crack was smoked before atmosphere turned ugly and aspiring actor was ‘thrown from first-floor balcony’
- Mark Blanco, 30, died at Royal London hospital, Whitechapel, in 2006
The party which Pete Doherty attended where a Cambridge graduate died amid claims he was thrown off a first-floor balcony has been described as a ‘sinister’ affair where guests consumed excessive amounts of Class A drugs and watched violence taking place.
The gathering of three men and three women, including the then-Babyshambles singer-songwriter took place in December 2006 but is now back in the headlines following a new Channel 4 documentary into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mark Blanco, 30.
The party took place in a shabby East London flat belonging to Paul Roundhill, where Doherty and his cronies regularly visited for drug fuelled parties that took place late into the night.
Roundhill, who described himself as Doherty’s ‘literary agent’ frequently hosted such affairs for Doherty and his hangers-on, most of whom came from privileged, well-educated backgrounds but appeared to enjoy the dark underbelly of London life.
His shabby flat was dubbed the ‘Hotel of the Sky’ and he once described it as an ‘intellectual salon’ but also admitted that it was little more than a ‘crack den.’
CCTV footage of Pete Doherty running from the home in East London where Mark Blanco died
Aspiring actor Mr Blanco is pictured in hospital after the tragic events unfolded
Mr Blanco is pictured with his mother Sheila on his Cambridge graduation day in June 1997
READ MORE Pete Doherty tells heartbroken mother of ‘murdered’ Cambridge graduate who was ‘thrown off balcony at house party’ in 2006 that he ‘hopes she can come to terms with what happened’
Doherty arrived at the party accompanied by Kate Russell-Pavier, aged 19 at the time, who is described as one of his girlfriends even though he was also involved in a high-profile relationship with Kate Moss.
Accompanying him was his minder, Jonathan Jeannevol, also known, as ‘Johnny Headlock’ who also acted as the singer’s manager, fixer, roadie, valet and confidant.
Also in attendance was Annabel Healdsmith, a well-known textile designer who was aged 50 at the time and Naomi Stirk, who was believed to be in a relationship with ‘Headlock.’
With crack being smoked and cocaine snorted, the mood in the party is believed to have turned ugly after the arrival of Blanco, who had been invited by Roundhill, a friend of his. He had been drinking in the nearby George Tavern in Stepney, entering the flat at around midnight.
He was keen to speak with Doherty so that he could invite him to a performance at the pub’s theatre of the play Accidental Death of Anarchist in which he was appearing three days later.
But Doherty was not interested and complained that Blanco was being too aggressive, leading to a row between the two. He then asked his minder to intervene, resulting in Blanco being physically removed from the flat with Roundhill’s help.
Following his death, Roundhill admitted that he punched Blanco three times and even set fire to his hat as other party goers looked on.
Jonathan Jeannevol, known, as ‘Johnny Headlock’
Paul Roundhill: Host of the party, which took place in his shabby East London flat, which was known as the ‘Hotel of the Sky.’
Mark Blanco: Aged 30 at the time, he was friends with Roundhill who invited him to the party where he died
Naomi Stirk: She was at the party after being invited by ‘Johnny Headlock’ to whom she was believed to be in a relationship with. She says she saw Blanco being bullied and removed from the Whitechapel flat before he died in 2006.
Party guest Naomi Stirk recalled that there had been a ‘sinister’ atmosphere that evening
The party was attended by singer Pete Doherty and members of his entourage. Pictured in 2011: The Crown Prosecution Service told relatives there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to prosecute The Libertines singer
He said: ‘There were about six of us there including Pete [Doherty]. When Mark arrived, he was extremely excited about the play. He couldn’t stop talking about it. He had had quite a lot to drink and was aggressively excited.
READ MORE: Moment Pete Doherty runs away from London flat – as rocker is seen with friends at pub in Belgravia before documentary into actor’s unsolved death was aired
‘At one point he had Pete pinned to the wall and was waving a rolled up promotional poster for the play at him. Pete looked a bit white, and Mark was getting out of order.’
He added: ‘I dragged him out because he wouldn’t leave and was being aggressive.’
Naomi tells the Channel 4 programme: ‘From where I was sitting you could see through to the hallway and the kitchen, and there is a point for which I cannot account for the whereabouts of everyone.
‘I don’t know what happened, but I know that something horrid went on.’
She said in 2012 of the atmosphere in the flat: ‘It felt very nasty. Just because of the measures people were going to try and get Mark’s attention.
‘I thought they were unnecessary. It’s very difficult to sit and watch something like that. It’s just not nice to see anything like that going on. The atmosphere had changed.’
Ten minutes after being removed from the flat Blanco returned. Seconds later he was lying unconscious and covered in blood on the ground outside after being discovered by Ms Healdsmith at 12.39am as she left the party.
Pete Doherty was seen at the Duke of Wellington pub in London’s Belgravia on September 13
Renowned FBI agent Grand Fredericks has claimed there must have been ‘more than one person on the balcony’ the night that Mr Blanco was allegedly thrown to his death
Fredericks said the ‘reverse projection clearly shows there couldn’t be just one person on the balcony’
He was taken to the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel where he was later pronounced dead.
READ MORE: Pete Doherty’s awkward interview with Jonathan Ross after house party ‘murder’ of Cambridge graduate
Days after his death, Headlock admitted in an interview that hard drugs were being consumed at the flat and that he had been taking cocaine while Roundhill had been smoking crack.
Insisting that he did not know how Blanco fell 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.
‘Then Paul gave my number to the ambulance people. He couldn’t remember his own number. You’ve got to remember Paul’s been smoking crack so he’s all paranoid, so as soon as a little bit of tension in his house happened, he’s like, oh, the whole world’s going wrong.’
After being contacted by police a few hours later he revealed: ‘They said, “We need you to come and do an interview,” and I went, “Well, I can’t at the moment.” Think about it, I’d been doing cocaine so I can’t just go down the police station wired out of me head. They didn’t phone me back.’
CCTV footage from the new Channel 4 documentary shows Doherty running past Blanco’s body seconds after he fell accompanied by Ms Russell-Pavier and Johnny Headlock.
The minder revealed in an interview after the incident the singer’s actions as they hurriedly exited the party.
Doherty was Kate Moss’s on-off boyfriend at the time. They are seen at Glastonbury in 2007
Libertines rock star Pete Doherty, pictured on stage in Paris in 2017
According to Headlock, the trio headed straight to the Malmaison hotel in Clerkenwell, where a group of around 20 of his entourage had gathered.
He said: ‘It was the usual losers. Mick Whitnall was there, the new guitarist. I had a big argument in there and all. One of the band members and me don’t see eye to eyeball. He just tried to get funny with me. He had this broken champagne glass and he held it against my face.
‘I was swallowing my tongue. That’s when Pete said, ‘Do what you believe’. All I had was a fork and I stabbed Mick about five times. And after that Mick went round somewhere else.’
The fight got out of control. By 2.25am, the hotel manager had called the police, after Doherty and his friends were accused of trashing the room, signalling the callous culmination of a tragic night.
The six other people at party with Pete Doherty
Apart from Pete Doherty, there were six other guests at the party, including Mark Blanco.
Jonathan Jeannevol, known, as ‘Johnny Headlock’
Doherty’s minder and key member of his inner circle who also acted as his manager, fixer, roadie, valet and confidant.
He started working for the singer in 2002 after meeting at a concert in Coventry, when the stage collapsed and he helped out, ensuring the gig could continue. The band’s then manager James Milford asked him to carry on working with Doherty’s group with the two then forming a close bond.
He acquired his nickname at a gig at the Blackpool Empress, a night that has become legendary among fans for Doherty’s drug excess.
He admitted to getting into a confrontation with Blanco and initially confessed to pushing him over the balcony. But he later retracted the claim, insisting he was on ‘heavy coke’ when he said it. Since the tragic incident, Jeannevol suffered a stroke and no longer speaks to Doherty.
Host of the party, which took place in his shabby East London flat, which was known as the ‘Hotel of the Sky.’
Doherty and his entourage were regular visitors to the flat, where drug fuelled parties took place throughout the night. Roundhill was also Doherty’s self-appointed literary agent and also sold paintings made by him in his own blood.
Roundhill admitted to regularly taking crack cocaine and other hard drugs. Allegedly had a confrontation with Blanco on the night of the party and set fire to his hat. Roundhill is not believed to be in contact with Doherty anymore but still lives in the East London area.
Aged 30 at the time, he was friends with Roundhill who invited him to the party where he died. A Cambridge University philosophy graduate, he was born and raised in Guildford, attending Pewley Down Infant School and Holy Trinity before being awarded a scholarship to the Royal Grammar School.
After leaving Cambridge, he briefly worked at Goldman Sachs, then as a book collector before turning his attention to acting. He had been due to appear in a performance of the play Accidental Death of an Anarchist, three days after his death.
Blanco attended the party at Roundhill’s that night with a view to persuading Doherty to attend the performance of his play.
She was at the party after being invited by ‘Johnny Headlock’ to whom she was believed to be in a relationship with. She says she saw Blanco being bullied and removed from the Whitechapel flat before he died in 2006.
Following his fall, she is one of the women who rushed to his aid. In the years after his death, the relationship between Stirk and ‘Headlock’ turned sour. In February 2014, Doherty’s former minder appeared before magistrates in East London on charges of stalking her.
She said she was terrified after he had turned up outside her home and sent her more than 100 unwanted texts, some of them threatening.
‘Headlock’ was issued with a restraining order by Stratford magistrates forbidding him from making contact with Stirk.
They ruled he should not face a trial for stalking after they received his psychiatric reports.
One of Doherty’s girlfriends at the time who was aged 19 when the party took place. She was studying English, Art and History of Art and was a member of Doherty’s inner-circle and was regularly seen with him at social events around London.
Born into a privileged family, her father composed scores for television and films. Now believed to be working in the fashion industry she reportedly left London after getting married and having a child.
Textile designer who was aged 50 at the time of the party who regularly came across Doherty and his pals at various parties around London.
She told Blanco’s sister following his death that Doherty and his minder all went outside the flat with him and that she found Mark dying at 12.39am and rushed upstairs to get another female guest.
As they comforted the dying man, Roundhill came down with a gin and tonic and then went back upstairs and threw down some tissues. The ambulance was called four minutes later.
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