A man has been convicted of the manslaughter of Louella Fletcher-Michie for failing to get her the vital medical help she needed after she took a class A drug he had supplied her at Bestival.
Ceon Broughton, 30 and of Island Centre Way, Enfield, London, watched his girlfriend’s condition deteriorate over a six-hour period in an area of restricted woodland off the festival site at Lulworth Castle in Dorset on the afternoon and evening of Sunday 10 September 2017.
Broughton was convicted today, Thursday 28 February 2019, of manslaughter by gross negligence following a trial at Winchester Crown Court. He was also convicted of supplying the class A drug 2C-P to the 25-year-old. He had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of supplying 2C-P to Louella and another man at Glastonbury in June 2017. He will be sentenced tomorrow, Friday 1 March 2019.
2C-P is a psychedelic and hallucinogenic party drug that has been compared to a stimulant somewhere between ecstasy and LSD.
Before her death Broughton made numerous video and audio recordings and took photos of Louella experiencing an extreme and distressing ‘trip’. Even though he had called her parents in London at her request, he failed to comply with their repeated requests to seek urgent medical help because he feared breaching a suspended jail sentence.
Tragically Louella was just 100 meters away from the edge of the festival site and 400 meters from the on-site hospital and welfare tent.
The court heard that Louella had been in a relationship with Broughton until January 2017 when they split up. They had got back together two weeks before Bestival.
Louella arrived at the festival on Friday 8 September 2017 and Broughton late on Saturday 9 September or in the early hours of Sunday 10 September 2017. He met with Louella and friends.
The pair went to bed at around 5am, woke late morning and briefly met with friends. They parted again, telling a friend they were going to the woods. Louella was described as giggling as she left as if under the influence of drugs.
At around 4pm the main arena was closed due to the inclement in the weather and all festival goers were asked to return to the campsite areas. Broughton and Louella chose not to return. They headed to a toastie stall before walking off site at around 5pm. They accessed a small wooded copse approximately 400 yards into an out of bounds area to the north the site.
The following hours leading up to Louella’s death were captured by Broughton on his mobile phone. The audio recordings and video clips clearly showed how her condition rapidly deteriorated and ended with footage of her laying on the ground, motionless and scratched from crawling through thick brambles and thorns.
Broughton eventually approached security staff sometime after 11.24pm to inform them his girlfriend was having a bad trip. A search was carried out but this was unsuccessful.
At 12.28am on Monday 11 September 2017 Louella’s parents arrived at the site and showed security staff a location using Google maps. Louella was reported as a missing person to Dorset Police at 12.59am. Tragically at 1.15am Louella’s body was located.
Broughton was arrested at 4.10am on suspicion of supplying a control drug. He was further arrested on suspicion of Louella’s murder. He told officers he had not taken any drugs and denied supplying Louella any drugs. He said he never understood the gravity of the situation and did not view it as a ‘life or death situation’.
Messages were subsequently found on Broughton’s phone in which he had described Louella as a ‘drama queen’.
He also sent a message to a friend saying: “If the fam ask say a ra don have us 2cp (sic),” stating he didn’t want to get ‘bagged’ – believed to be arrested.
A small bag of ketamine powder was found in Broughton’s coat that had been used to cover Louella and a small bag of white powder labelled 2C-P was located in his mobile phone case. It was tested and confirmed to be 2C-P.
Louella’s mother told the court that she confronted Broughton near to her home and asked what they had taken. Broughton replied: “2C-P, I took the same thing.”
Another witness told the court that Broughton had said the pair had taken 2C-P but he had “bumped it up a bit”.
WhatsApp messages between Louella and Broughton were also discovered, which appeared to show the drug deal. At 2.04am on 9 September 2017 Louella wrote: “IM VEX man sg jus too all my pills (sic)” and “I just want that big one man”. Broughton said: “Ah peak il bring (sic)” and “Sam t will have dem”.
Blood samples taken from Louella at the post mortem examination revealed she had a number of drugs in her system, including 0.032mg per litre of blood of 2C-P.
Broughton’s blood sample was also tested and had a range of drugs in his system but not 2C-P. A urine sample did find traces of 2C-P and cocaine but these were not high levels.
A forensic toxicologist stated that Louella had higher than previously recorded levels of 2C-P present and that the half-life of the drug is such that he would have expected to have seen quantities in Broughton’s blood sample, suggesting that he may not have taken 2C-P at the same time or the same quantity as Louella.
Medical experts gave evidence at the trial and confirmed there had previously been no confirmed fatalities due to the use of 2C-P but there were seven cases where hospitalisation was required in which four of the patients needed CPR to affect a recovery. One stated that Louella is highly likely to have survived had earlier medical intervention been obtained.
Senior Investigating Officer Neil Devoto, of Dorset Police, said: “Louella’s death was tragic and needless. Despite his close relationship with her, Ceon Broughton chose to ignore the advice others had given to him and not seek medical help. Even when she lay motionless, struggling for breath and dying he continued to take photos and videos and message friends.
“All he needed to do was walk a few hundred meters to the on-site hospital and medical staff and call for emergency help or dial 999 on his mobile.
“He supplied Louella with the drug and had a duty of care. His actions were selfish and shameful.
“Our thoughts remain with all of Louella’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”