Rapper's manslaughter conviction overturned

18 August 2020, 16:53

Ceon Broughton's manslaughter conviction was overturned at the Court of Appeal
Ceon Broughton's manslaughter conviction was overturned at the Court of Appeal. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The Court of Appeal today quashed the manslaughter conviction of rapper Ceon Broughton over the drugs death of his girlfriend.

The grime rapper's 24-year-old girlfriend Louella Fletcher-Michie, daughter of Holby City actor John Michie, died after taking the drug 2C-P at Bestival in September 2017.

Broughton, 31, was found guilty following a trial last year and handed an eight-and-a-half year sentence but the conviction was overturned today by the Court of Appeal.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal ruled to overturn the conviction.

Louella Fletcher-Michie died after taking party drug 2CP at Bestival
Louella Fletcher-Michie died after taking party drug 2CP at Bestival. Picture: Zoe Barling/PA Media

The rapper's legal team issued a statement saying he remains "devastated" by the death and wishes he could have done more to save her.

A statement issued by Birnberg Peirce Solicitors after his manslaughter conviction was quashed 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.

"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 was found dead in the early hours of September 11, the day she should have celebrated her 25th birthday, in a wooded area at the edge of the festival site.

Making the court's ruling, Lord Burnett said the expert evidence on the likelihood of Miss Fletcher-Michie's chances of survival had she received treatment sooner was "not capable of establishing causation to the criminal standard".

He added: "In respectful disagreement with the judge, we conclude that the appellant's main argument, that the case should have been withdrawn from the jury, is established.

"Taken at its highest, the evidence adduced by the prosecution was incapable of proving causation to the criminal standard of proof.

"The appeal against conviction for manslaughter must be allowed."

In the ruling, Lord Burnett set out how Broughton made attempts to get help as he realised Miss Fletcher-Michie was unwell, telling a friend to "get the medics" and sending a pin of his location in the wooded area using Google Maps.

The judge said the only expert jurors had to rely on as to whether Broughton's actions contributed "significantly" to her death had suggested Miss Fletcher-Michie would have had a 90% chance of survival if she had been provided with medical treatment at 9.10pm - nearly five hours after she took the drug.

Given that the criminal standard of proof requires jurors to be sure "beyond reasonable doubt", Lord Burnett said the expert's evidence was "not enough" so the issue of whether Broughton caused his girlfriend's death by gross negligence should not have been left to the jury to decide.

It is believed Broughton will now be released as he has served his remaining sentence.