As it happenedended1551361700

Louella Fletcher-Michie trial: Jury reminded how Ceon Broughton filmed girlfriend as she died from drug overdose at Bestival

Trial due to finish on Wednesday as jury begin deliberations

Tom Barnes,Tim Wyatt
Tuesday 26 February 2019 11:23
Holby City actor John Michie pays tribute to late daughter Louella with mural

The jury in the trial of Ceon Broughton, the man accused of manslaughter over the drug overdose death of Louella Fletcher-Michie at a music festival, will shortly begin their deliberations.

Mr Broughton’s barrister, Stephen Kamlish QC, urged the jury on Tuesday morning in his closing statement not to seek “vengeance” over Ms Fletcher-Michie’s death at Bestival in September 2017.

The court heard during the course of the trial how the 29-year-old filmed his on-off girlfriend as she overdosed on class A substance 2-CP at the music event the night before her 25th birthday.

Mr Broughton denies any wrongdoing.

On the final day of testimony, the jury were reminded by the judge how Mr Broughton filmed his dying girlfriend for 50 mins as she suffered from the overdose.

The prosecution claim he supplied the drugs to Ms Fletcher-Michie and should have organised medical help as soon as he realised she was struggling.

But Mr Kamlish told the jury they should not see the case in hindsight.

"If you think ‘morally wrong’; ‘he should have done more’ and ‘if he gave the drugs, he should pay’; ‘he should not have been thinking of himself’ … We all think those things, all of us normal people, including Ceon – now, in hindsight.

“But that is not the basis on which you should decide this case, [although] it is tempting to do so.”

Mr Broughton had realised just how ill Ms Fletcher-Michie was and his video showed not that he was callous or indifferent, but unaware how close to death the 24-year-old was.

The jury heard how Mr Broughton had tried to get help, telling another friend at Bestival where the pair were.

But the judge also reminded them how he had spoken with Ms Fletcher-Michie's mother and brother on the phone during the evening, who pleaded with him to take her to the medical tent.

Despite being just 400m from the medical tent, Mr Broughton did not take her to professional help.

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Instead, he continued filming as his girlfriend gradually died over several hours, during which she became incoherent and even screamed "like a wild animal".

Mr Broughton is charged with gross negligence manslaughter and supplying a Class A drug.

If found guilty and sentenced to the maximum possible term of imprisonment, he could face 18 years in jail.

To read updates from the trial as it happened, see our live coverage below:

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Mr Kamlish quotes Prof Deakin as writing: 'I do believe it is very likely - approximately 90 per cent - certainly on the balance of probabilities that Louella's life could have been saved.'

Mr Kamlish tells the jury: "He is saying on the balance of probabilities.  He is saying that possibility is only 90 per cent.

"That means Ceon can't be held responsible regardless of what he did or din't do."

The defence QC adds: "The only expert they [the prosecution] called doesn't know the answer to whether she could be saved once she ingested the drug.

"The question is: is it fair to prosecute him if they don't know?"

adam.lusher26 February 2019 12:52

Because of the greater knowledge about overdoses of other drugs, Mr Kamlish adds: "If this was a heroin case or an ecstasy case, it would have been easy to say whether she could or couldn't have been saved."

adam.lusher26 February 2019 12:54

Saying the medical expert limited the 90 per cent possibility of saving Louella to before 9.10pm, Mr Kamlish says: "Everything after 9.10pm can't be held against him - maybe morally, but not as a matter of law."

Mr Kamlish says Broughton did make efforts to get help to Louella, suggesting they were consistent with a boyfriend who thought his girlfriend was having a bad trip but wasn't at risk of death.

He tells the jurors: "He sent his google pin [to his friend].  He didn't want to leave her alone in the forest.  Just think about that: he didn't think she was going to die."

Referring to his own lack of drugs experience, Mr Kamlish adds: "He didn't want to leave someone having a bad trip.  I don't know what that's like.

"[But] you don't leave them alone in the forest at night until you think there is a risk of dying and the bad trip becomes secondary."

Mr Kamlish says the video evidence from before 9.10pm suggested a bad trip rather than an experience that was going to end in death.

He tells the jury that what was shown before 9.10pm was a situation where "you wouldn't leave your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, child, alone in the forest at night on drugs." 

adam.lusher26 February 2019 13:05

The court has now broken for lunch

adam.lusher26 February 2019 13:05

The jury is returning to court.

adam.lusher26 February 2019 14:13

Mr Kamlish asks the jury to consider: "Do you find any particular time when there was an obvious risk of death?"

"I am going to submit to you," says Mr Kamlish, "It [such a time] definitely, definitely didn't occur at a point where Louella was still speaking.

"She thought she was having a good time.  Ceon thought she was having a bad trip.  Up until the time she wasn't speaking, there can't be any obvious risk of death from the drug."

adam.lusher26 February 2019 14:22

Mr Kamlish suggests to the jury: "During the 50-minute video and during and after the phone call to her parents at 18:23 [6.23pm] she is still talking and shouting and answering questions, and expressing an opinion - albeit in a repetitive, nonsensical way.

"You can't find that there is a risk of death while she is behaving like that.  It's no different, is it, from somebody who has had two drinks too many and starts talking nonsense and shouting."

adam.lusher26 February 2019 14:27

Referring to a video that ended at 9.10pm, which medical expert Professor Charles Deakin took as the cut-off point for Louella having a 90 per cent of survival if helped by medics, Mr kamlish says: "He [Prof Deakin] is taking this point as her last chance of survival.

"[But] are you satisfied on the objective evidence that this is the point at which there is an obvious risk of death?"

adam.lusher26 February 2019 14:34

Mr Kamlish concedes that other have suggested that Broughton should have done things differently.

But Mr Kamlish says Broughton did try to get his friend to send medics to him and Louella.

To the suggestion of others that he should have carried Louella to the medical tent, Mr Kamlish retorts: "He felt he should be doing things in a different way.  Does that make him a criminal?  We suggest to you not."

adam.lusher26 February 2019 14:38

Countering the evidence of the medical expert Prof Deakin that Louella had been "in all probability" dead when Broughton shot the last video of her, Mr Kamlish says: "As a matter of fact she was not dead at that point."

There were, he said, three indications that Louella had still been alive when Broughton last filmed her.

"People [who found her] describe her eyes as 'staring upwards at me'  Nobody says that [as they were in the last video] Louella's eyes were rolled up in her head.  No-one, no-one.

"That must mean she moved her eyes again when Ceon left her [to get help].  

"Secondly, the colour on camera at night can't be relied on as a judge of what someone's skin colour [really] is.

"Thirdly Louella's mouth was wide open [in Broughton's video] but when the first picture [of her body] was taken [by investigators, after she was found dead] her mouth was closed."

adam.lusher26 February 2019 14:50

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