Sian Blake

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Sian Blake
Frankie Pierre.jpg
Screenshot from a 1997 episode of EastEnders showing Blake in character as Frankie Pierre
Born
Sian Samantha Blake

September 1972[1]
Walthamstow, London, England
Disappeared13 December 2015
Died14 or 15 December 2015 (aged 43)[2]
Erith, London, England
Body discovered5 January 2016
NationalityBritish
Other namesSyan Blake
OccupationActress
Years active1994–2009, 2015
Known forPlaying Frankie Pierre in EastEnders
Height5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Partner(s)Arthur Simpson-Kent
ChildrenZachary Bilal Kent-Blake (deceased)
Amon Ben George Kent-Blake (deceased)

Sian Samantha Blake (September 1972 – 14 or 15 December 2015), also known by her stage name Syan Blake, was a British actress, best known for playing Frankie Pierre on the British television show EastEnders, appearing in 56 episodes in 1996–97. She later had minor roles in other television shows, before retiring to become a sign language teacher and interpreter.[3]

Blake and her two children were reported missing on 16 December 2015; three weeks later their bodies were found at Blake's home in Erith, London.[4] Her partner, Arthur Simpson-Kent, pleaded guilty to the murders and was given a whole life sentence in October 2016.[5]

Early life and career[edit]

Blake was born in Walthamstow, London, in 1972, and attended the Guildford School of Acting. The youngest of three children, her father was Jamaican.[6] Her parents divorced when she was six, and her father died from a heart attack when she was eighteen. Adopting the stage name Syan Blake, she landed her first acting role in 1994, playing a bulimia patient in that year's Christmas episode of Casualty.[6]

After working as a telephone receptionist at a doctor's surgery, Blake landed her most notable role: soul singer Frankie Pierre, a character who appeared in EastEnders during 1996 and 1997. She initially auditioned for the minor part of a nurse, but was encouraged to audition for the more long-term role of Frankie after impressing producers. She was initially signed on a six-month contract, but subsequently had her contract extended. One of the character's central storylines involved an affair with a regular male character which ended his on-screen marriage. Blake subsequently said that she left the series after receiving hate mail from viewers who found it difficult to separate fact from fiction.[7]

Blake went on to have roles in Doctors, The Bill and Skins, as well as a second appearance in Casualty, before retiring from acting. She went on to become a sign-language teacher, and interpreter.[6][8]

As well as television and film, Blake also appeared in and directed several theatre productions. Her acting credits include Joe Guy, Love's Labour's Lost, and Twelfth Night, while directing credits include Oxford Street at the Soho Theatre and The Burial at the Almeida Theatre.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Blake lived in Erith, London,[9] with her partner, Arthur Simpson-Kent, and their two sons, Zachary and Amon, who were aged eight and four.[4] Blake was diagnosed with terminal motor neurone disease on 11 December 2015 after first showing neurological symptoms in September 2013.[2]

Disappearance and death[edit]

Blake and her two sons went missing on 13 December 2015.[3][10][11] On 16 December, a family member reported her missing to the Metropolitan Police. Police interviewed her partner, Arthur Simpson-Kent, the same day, and he went missing three days later.[12] Her sister said that Blake had wanted to end her relationship with Simpson-Kent "a long time ago".[13]

Blake's car was discovered on 3 January 2016 in Bethnal Green.[12] On 5 January 2016, police searched Blake's home and found three bodies in the garden. They started a murder investigation.[14] On 7 January investigators confirmed that the bodies had been identified as Blake and her two children, and said that they had each died from head and neck injuries.[4]

Police said that Simpson-Kent was being sought in relation to the deaths; the BBC reported that he was believed to have travelled to Ghana in December.[4] On 9 January a Scotland Yard spokesman said that police in Ghana had arrested Simpson-Kent,[15][16] having travelled there on 19 December; he was remanded for two weeks.[9] Simpson-Kent's lawyer, Justice Srem-Sai, claimed that he should be released from prison until official extradition proceedings were underway. Of the legal process, Srem-Sai said that a "person must be released until you have the legal right to detain them. He was not given his full rights, including access to legal counsel. His right to a fair trial is being denied and is still being denied."[17]

On 26 January, Simpson-Kent appeared at an extradition hearing in Accra, where he told the court that he would voluntarily return to the UK.[18] Simpson-Kent did return to the UK on 12 February 2016 and was arrested at Heathrow Airport, following which, he was charged with the murder of Blake and their two children.[19] On 10 June, Simpson-Kent appeared at the Old Bailey where he formally entered guilty pleas to the murders of Blake and their two sons.[20] On 5 October 2016, Mr Justice Singh sentenced Simpson-Kent to life imprisonment with a whole life order, meaning he will not become eligible for parole and is unlikely to ever be released from prison.[5]

On 6 January 2016, the Metropolitan Police referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over its handling of the inquiry. Of the referral, the Metropolitan Police said "The Metropolitan Police has today, Wednesday 6 January, made a voluntary referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in relation to the Sian Blake missing person investigation. An initial review has highlighted some potential issues regarding the handling and grading of the missing persons investigation. The Directorate of Professional Standards was informed on Monday, 4 January, and is working with the investigation team to fully understand the timeline of police interaction with the family."[21]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1994 Casualty Angela Carlisle "Talking Turkey"
1996–1997 EastEnders Frankie Pierre 56 episodes
1998 Siberia Maggie
2003 The Death of Klinghoffer Helen
2003 The Bill Ginny Episode 099
2003 Casualty Donna "Truth or Dare"
2004 May 33rd Social Worker
2004 Doctors Kim Ellis "Perfect"
2007 The Last Detective Claire the Singer "Dangerous Liaisons"
2009 Skins Interpreter "Everyone"
2009 The Secret Dancer Chloe Short film
2015 Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward Yugiri (voice) Video game

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Companies House Appointments". Companies House. 1 September 1999. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Sentencing remarks by Mr Justice Singh: R -v- Simpson-Kent" (PDF). Judiciary of England and Wales. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Fears grow for former EastEnders actor missing with two sons". The Guardian. 1 January 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d "EastEnders' Sian Blake and her children confirmed dead". BBC News. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Life sentence for ex-Easteners' actress Sian Blake killer". BBC News. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d "Sian Blake: Profile of former EastEnders actress". BBC News. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  7. ^ Hagan, Angela (27 January 1997). "I'd go for a married man, even if he had kids, as long as he was right one for me". The Mirror. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  8. ^ Elgot, Jessica; Dodd, Vikram; Gayle, Damien; Adu, Aletha (5 January 2016). "Sian Blake: three bodies found in search for ex-EastEnders actor and children". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Sian Blake death: Arthur Simpson-Kent remanded in Ghana". BBC News. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  10. ^ Henderson, Emma (1 January 2016). "Eastenders actor Sian Blake and her two young children feared for after going missing three weeks ago". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  11. ^ Rockett, Karen; Adams, Sam (4 January 2016). "Missing Sian Blake: Murder squad take over hunt for EastEnders star who vanished with her children". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Car found in search for missing ex-EastEnder Sian Blake". BBC News. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  13. ^ "EastEnders actress Sian Blake planned to leave partner, her sister says". BBC. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Bodies found in EastEnders actress hunt". BBC News. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Sian Blake: Partner arrested in Ghana". BBC News. 9 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  16. ^ Johnston, Chris (9 January 2016). "Sian Blake's partner arrested in Ghana over murder of actor and two sons". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  17. ^ Elgot, Jessica (13 January 2016). "Sian Blake murder suspect 'should be freed until extradition order'". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  18. ^ "Sian Blake partner 'to return to UK voluntarily' after Ghanaian court hearing". BBC News. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  19. ^ "Sian Blake EastEnders case: Man charged with family murders". BBC News. 12 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  20. ^ "Partner admits EastEnders actor Sian Blake murder". BBC News. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Met Referred To IPCC Over Search For Sian Blake". Sky News. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.

External links[edit]