Bestival death: actor's daughter 'found curled up as if she were asleep'

Steven Morris and agency
Louella Fletcher-Michie fell ill during the music festival in Dorset in September 2017. Photograph: Zoe Barling/PA

An actor’s daughter who died after taking drugs at a music festival was found curled up in trees as if she had lain down for a sleep, a court has been told.

Louella Fletcher-Michie, 24, whose father, John Michie, has appeared in Holby City and Coronation Street, fell ill during Bestival in Dorset.

Her boyfriend, Ceon Broughton, 29, a musician from Enfield, north London, is on trial accused of manslaughter and supplying her with the party drug 2C-P. He denies the offences.

On Monday, Winchester crown court heard how Craig Welsh, a security worker, used a GPS location service on Michie’s phone to search for the young woman.

Jurors were earlier told Michie and his wife, Carol Fletcher-Michie, rushed to the festival site in September 2017 when they realised their daughter was ill.

Giving evidence, Welsh said: “Mr Michie had his mobile phone. He showed me a Google pin drop. Both parents were distressed. He wanted to gain access to the site to go searching for his daughter … I contacted the event controller and explained, but it was refused.

“Because I suggested I knew where it was, I said if he was happy I would take his phone and go to the location. He gave me the phone.

“I had been at the festival site since the buildup before the stages were erected and I had seen the whole site. I changed his settings on his phone to a satellite view so I could identify better the area where this was.

“Me and my colleague Ben Ellison went into a forest area to locate the person through the GPS. It was very, very dark. I heard my colleague shout. At that point, I turned around and notice a female’s body on the floor.

“She was laid facing up. It was as if she was curled up. Her knees were drawn up to her chest and to one side. From what I can recall, she was wearing a hoodie and a jacket over the top of her.

“Her face was greyish, with blue lips. She was not breathing. Her eyes were open. I checked for a pulse and I got none. She was cold. I found a photograph on [Michie’s] phone to identify the girl.”

When questioned by Stephen Kamlish QC, representing Broughton, Welsh agreed Louella looked like she had “laid down for a sleep”.

Ceon Broughton denies manslaughter and supplying class A drugs. Photograph: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

The prosecution has alleged Broughton did not initially seek medical help for his girlfriend because he had been given a suspended prison sentence and feared he would be in serious trouble.

Another security worker, Aiden Lawrence, told the court Broughton’s behaviour was erratic when he did go to find help. “He kept wanting to run off, he was very erratic,” he said.

Lawrence also saw her. “I was told Louella was really unwell. I went and tried to look for signs of life. She was just staring straight forward,” he said.

“She was laid very still, with her arms crossed across her body, almost like she was cold. There was a bramble bush nearby and there were small scratches on her hands from the bramble bush.”

Graham Burnett, a paramedic, told jurors how he and his colleague Justin Williams ran up a hill to help Louella. Burnett said they found her lying on her side, with a whistle and glow sticks around her neck and her head resting on branches.

“It was a challenging route, we were climbing over logs and through bramble bushes. I myself fell over,” he said.

“[Louella] was lifeless, with no pulse and she was not breathing. Rigor mortis had set in in her lower limbs. She was laid on her left side, facing down the hill. There were lots of branches her head was resting on. We were not entirely sure there wasn’t a broken neck involved. It was a bit of an odd position.

“She was extensively covered in what I would call light abrasions where it looked like she had been in the brambles.”

In statement, read to the court, Williams added: “She had a lot of scratches, which I initially thought were henna tattoos. Her head was resting on a log.”

Broughton denies manslaughter and supplying class A drugs.

The trial continues.