The boyfriend of 25-year-old Louella Fletcher-Michie, who died in September 2017 at Bestival after taking the drug 2-CP, has had his manslaughter conviction overturned. Coen Broughton, a rapper, was given an eight-and-a-half year sentence for manslaughter by gross negligence and three charges of supplying drugs in March 2019, but has now seen that ruling overturned by three senior judges.
During Broughton's trial at Winchester Crown Court, the jury heard how he supplied his girlfriend with the hallucinogenic drug, "bumped up" her dose and then failed to get help when she became unwell (as he feared the repercussions, given that he was already serving a suspended jail term for possessing a lock knife and a Stanley knife blade). Instead, the court heard, he chose to film her during her final hours.
Louella, the daughter of Holby City actor John Michie, was found dead by security staff in a wooded area near the site of the Dorset festival in the early hours of her 25th birthday, on 11 September 2017. She was just 400 metres from a medical tent. In a phone call to Louella's brother, Broughton branded the young woman a "drama queen" as she struggled to breathe.
"Even when she lay motionless, struggling for breath and dying, he continued to take photos and videos and message friends," senior investigating officer Neil Devoto said during the trial.
Re-examining the case, Lord Chief Justice Burnett said that evidence indicated the likelihood of Louella's chances of survival, based upon her getting help sooner, was "not capable of establishing causation to the criminal standard".
A statement issued by Birnberg Peirce Solicitors on behalf of Ceon Broughton said, "The Court of Appeal has today found that Louella's death occurred not as a result of criminal negligence but was instead a tragic accident. Ceon remains devastated by her death. He has always wished that he could have done more to save her."
The statement added, "He loved Louella and she him, but he knows that no words will ever be sufficient to convey his sense of responsibility for what happened or to begin to remove the pain that others have been caused."
Louella's father, John Michie, who has also starred in Coronation Street, and family have not commented on this latest development. Broughton was set to be released from prison yesterday, the court of appeal has not ordered a retrial.
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