Boyfriend borrowed torch to search for overdosing girlfriend, court told
Ceon Broughton denies the manslaughter of Louella Fletcher-Michie.
The boyfriend of a TV actor’s daughter asked festival security guards to borrow a torch so he could find his overdosing girlfriend, a court heard.
Louella Fletcher-Michie, 24, the daughter of Holby City Star John Michie, was given drugs by her on-off boyfriend Ceon Broughton, 29, and died as her parents rushed to help her, it is alleged.
She took the class A party drug 2-CP at Bestival in Dorset on September 10 2017 and died in woodland an hour before her 25th birthday.
The jury at Winchester Crown Court heard on Friday that festival staff had searched the wrong wooded area for the couple, unaware they were off site.
A phone call to Bestival staff from Miss Fletcher-Michie’s “terrified” mother, Carol Fletcher-Michie, had triggered a search for her daughter, the court was told.
She explained how the family had received a call from Broughton in which Miss Fletcher-Michie could be heard “screaming” like an “animal” in the background.
Olivia Moedt, who worked in customer support at Bestival, spoke to a concerned Carol Fletcher-Michie who said her daughter had taken drugs with her boyfriend in a forest area.
Prosecutor Simon Jones asked Ms Moedt: “Did Mrs Michie sound worried for Louella?
“Yes, terrified,” Ms Moedt replied.
She added: “When I spoke to Carol she was really worried and I was worried too… I called over everyone I could think off to help me because I was really concerned.”
Other Bestival staff were alerted and a description of Miss Fletcher-Michie passed to people who searched the festival’s Ambient Forest area, the only wooded area within the festival’s boundaries.
However, searchers found nobody matching Miss Fletcher-Michie’s description as staff did not know she and Broughton were actually in a wooded area off site, the court heard.
Bestival staff member Gemma Thorogood told the jury: “We don’t even comprehend where the woods stretch too, it’s just off the map.”
Security guard Wayne Harrington told the court how later in the evening he and a colleague saw Broughton emerge from woods outside the festival’s perimeter.
“He asked to borrow a torch so he could go and look for his girlfriend as she had apparently taken an overdose,” he said.
Mr Harrington said he and his colleague joined Broughton to search the woods in a “completely different direction from where he had come out.”
He said during the 15-minute unsuccessful search Broughton was “constantly on the phone”.
“He was basically trying to make phone calls, texting and I saw he had the find my phone app up,” he added.
Broughton’s lawyer Stephen Kamlish QC highlighted phone signal at the festival was poor and claimed the security guards had eventually left Broughton to “search on his own” without a torch.
The court heard Broughton sent a text to Miss Fletcher-Michie’s mother which said: “These pricks don’t give a f***.”
Giving evidence earlier in the trial, Miss Fletcher-Michie’s father accused Broughton of not taking her to get help while she was in a “distressed state”.
“I think Louella loved Ceon. I’m not sure he loved her.
“I don’t know how you could ever say you loved someone if you left them to die in front of you,” Mr Michie told jurors.
Jurors have previously been shown a 50-minute video of Miss Fletcher-Michie in which she shouts: “This is the best trip I have ever f****** had.”
But as her condition deteriorated, Broughton ignored pleas from her family to seek help and continued to film even after she was dead, jurors were told.
He also told a friend he feared he would be “bagged” by police and tried to stop her family rushing to the festival, the court heard.
But Mr Kamlish told the court on Friday that Broughton had tried “six times” to contact his friend Ezra Campbell for help.
The jury heard Broughton sent Mr Campbell a dropped Google pin location and text asking him to “send the meds”.
But Mr Campbell’s phone did not have Google Maps, and in a call from Broughton he could only hear the words “forest” and “barbed wire” – information he passed to festival staff.
Broughton, of Enfield, north London, denies manslaughter and supplying Miss Fletcher-Michie the drug.