Rapper’s Festival Drug Death Conviction Overturned

​Ceon Broughton bestival

Ceon Broughton in 2019. Photo: Finnbarr Webster / Getty Images

Ceon Broughton, who was jailed after his girlfriend died of a drug overdose at Bestival in 2017, has had his manslaughter conviction overturned.

In 2019, 31-year-old rapper denied manslaughter and the supply of class A drugs, but was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison after a jury decided he was at fault for Louella Fletcher-Michie’s death at the festival in Dorset, England.

Having failed to take Louella to the medical camp around 500 metres from their location, despite the 24-year-old being visibly agitated and dazed, Ceon was found guilty of manslaughter by negligence.

The expert who gave evidence at the original trial said there was a 90 percent chance that Louella would have survived had she been seen by medical staff by 9:10PM that evening. However, today, Stephen Kamlish QC argued at the Court of Appeal that this was not enough to prove that Louella would definitely have survived had Ceon taken her to the medical tent.

Overturning the manslaughter conviction, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett agreed, saying that the “expert evidence was not capable of establishing causation to the criminal standard”.

Referring to the “90 percent chance” of survival, he used the analogy: “If an operation carried a personal 10 percent risk of mortality, both patient and clinicians would be able confidently to say that the chances of survival were very high or very good, but none could be sure.”

Lord Burnett also said the original trial judge should have thrown the case out. “In our view, this is one of those rare cases where the expert evidence was all that the jury had to assist them in answering the question on causation,” he explained.

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At Ceon’s 2019 trial, the jury was told that Louella, 24, had taken a large dose of the class A hallucinogenic 2C-P, and shown footage filmed by Ceon in which she says is having “the best trip I’ve ever fucking had”. Before long, her behaviour starts to become concerning, but instead of seeking help Ceon continues to film her as she eats twigs and scrapes thorns across her cheeks.

All in all, it took Ceon six hours to seek assistance from staff at a nearby bar. At his trial, the jury was told he not did realise Louella was in serious danger, and that he did not want to leave her alone in the woods where they had taken the drug while she was having a “bad trip”.

Before seeking help, Ceon had sent Louella’s father, the Holby City actor John Michie, a GPS pin of her location. Using that marker, a festival security guard found Louella dead at around 1AM, on the morning of her 25th birthday.

In a statement at Ceon’s March, 2019 sentencing hearing, Mr Michie said: “I wake up every morning to face life starting again without Louella, our daughter, our sister, our friend, our family now broken. And for what? It makes no sense – our beautiful Louella should still be with us on any measure of humanity.”

Ceon’s conviction and seven-year sentence for manslaughter was overturned, but he had also been convicted and sentenced to one-and-a-half years for supplying class A drugs, which he did not appeal.


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