A talented Cambridge graduate fell to his death after attending a party with the rock star and drug addict Pete Doherty, it emerged yesterday.
Police said a postmortem examination suggested there was no third party involvement in the death of Mark Blanco, 30, an actor and bookseller who gained a first in philosophy from Trinity College, Cambridge. But friends who attended the party in an east London flat admitted there were scuffles and Mr Blanco had been in aggressive, high spirits.
The actor, originally from Surrey, appears to have accidentally fallen to his death from the third floor flat in the early hours of Sunday after being thrown out of the party. He had been due to star this week in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, in which the anarchist of the title falls to his death from the window of a police station. The production was due to open today at the George Tavern in Stepney, where Mr Blanco drank and which is also frequented by Doherty and his girlfriend, the model Kate Moss.
The bar manager, who asked not to be named, said: "He was in here every day and was the heart and soul of the place. The play is cancelled. We couldn't stage it after something like this has happened."
Paul Roundhill, who lives in the Whitechapel flat, 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.
"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."
Mr Roundhill admitted that during the skirmishes he set fire to Mr Blanco's hat. Shortly afterwards he said he dragged Mr Blanco out of the flat by his coat. "I dragged him out because he wouldn't leave and was being aggressive."
He was found lying unconscious and covered in blood on the pavement by a woman as she left the party. He was taken to the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel where he was later pronounced dead.
Scotland Yard said the postmortem gave the cause of death as severe head injuries consistent with a fall. An inquest would be opened today.
"At this early stage it does not appear there was any third party involvement in the incident. However, police retain an open mind," it said.