Louella Fletcher-Michie had ‘90% chance of surviving overdose’ with early care, court hears

The daughter of a soap star who died of a drugs overdose at a music festival had a “very good chance” of surviving with early medical treatment, a court has heard.

Louella Fletcher-Michie, 24, whose father John Michie has starred in Coronation Street and Holby City, died after taking the Class A drug 2-CP at Bestival in Dorset in September 2017.

Her boyfriend Ceon Broughton, 29, denies manslaughter and supplying the drug.

Ms Fletcher-Michie’s death was the first to be recorded as being caused by 2-CP, Winchester Crown Court heard.

Professor Charles Deakin, a consultant in cardiac anaesthesia and intensive care, told the jury he was “very confident” she would have “stood a very good chance of surviving” if she had been given early medical care.

He put her chances of survival “at 90 per cent”.

Prof Deakin said: “As long as she’s actually breathing when medical services arrive, the chances of her surviving are very high.”

Sedatives, breathing support and the monitoring of blood pressure could have been used to treat Ms Fletcher-Michie at the scene, he said.

As well as “2-CP toxicity”, a post-mortem found traces of ketamine and MDMA, the court has heard.

The jury was previously shown a 50-minute video of Ms Fletcher-Michie, taken by Broughton, in which she shouts: “This is the best trip I have ever f****** had.”

Prof Deakin, who was asked to analyse the footage by police, said she was “probably hallucinating” and appeared “agitated and confused”.

At 8.15pm Ms Fletcher-Michie appeared to be making “incoherent noises”, was not “aware of her surroundings” and was “seriously unwell and in need of urgent medical care”, he said.

Prof Deakin added that it was “very likely” that Ms Fletcher-Michie had a “high heart rate” – made worse by the MDMA in her system – and eventually became “exhausted” by the effects of the 2-CP.

At 11.24pm, he said there were “no signs of life” and “Louella’s skin appears a bluey-grey colour which is consistent with someone who has effectively stopped breathing”.

He added: “Her mouth was open and her eyes were rolled back. In all probability she was actually deceased at that stage.”

Broughton’s lawyer, Stephen Kamlish QC, claimed Prof Deakin had changed an initial draft of his witness statement after talking to a police officer.

Mr Kamlish said Prof Deakin’s first draft said it was “not possible to say beyond reasonable doubt that early medical intervention would have been able to save Louella’s life”.

It apparently added: “However, I do believe that on the balance of probabilities, medical intervention at any time to 9.10pm is likely to have saved Louella’s life.”

Mr Kamlish put it to Prof Deakin that “today is the first time that you have said that Louella could have been saved as long as she was still breathing”.

In reply, Prof Deakin said he had been asked to “clarify and expand” on his evidence and his second draft had not changed any of the meaning of what he said.

“I have never claimed that survival was a foregone conclusion,” Prof Deakin said.

The trial continues.

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Seven lawmakers quit UK Labour Party citing Brexit 'betrayal', anti-Semitism

LONDON (Reuters) – Seven Labour lawmakers quit on Monday over leader Jeremy Corbyn’s approach to Brexit and a row over anti-Semitism, saying Britain’s main opposition party had been “hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left”.

In a direct challenge to Corbyn, the seven centrist MPs said they were courting others from across parliament to join their group, saying “enough is enough” in keeping silent over their doubts about the Labour leader’s fitness for office.

United by a desire for a second referendum on Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, they acknowledged that their resignations would not change the arithmetic in parliament, where there is as yet no majority for such a vote.

But their move underlines the increasing frustration within Labour over Corbyn’s reluctance to change his Brexit strategy – the leftist leader and long-time critic of the EU has stuck to his preference for a new election or his plan to leave the bloc.

With only 39 days until Britain leaves the EU, its biggest foreign and trade policy shift in more than 40 years, divisions over Brexit have fragmented British politics, breaking down traditional party lines and creating new ad hoc coalitions.

“The Labour party we joined that we campaigned for and believed in is no longer today’s Labour Party … it has now been hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left,” lawmaker Chris Leslie told a news conference.

“Evidence of Labour’s betrayal on Europe is now visible for all to see. Offering to actually enable this government’s Brexit – constantly holding back from allowing the public a final say.”

The seven lawmakers are Leslie, Luciana Berger, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes and Ann Coffey. They will continue to sit as members of parliament under the banner “The Independent Group”.

Corbyn expressed his disappointment that the group had left, referring in a statement to “Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election” when the opposition party saw its biggest increase in vote share since 1945 to win 262 seats.

His finance policy chief, John McDonnell, called on the lawmakers to “stand down” and try to win back their seat in parliament. The local branch for Labour in Umunna’s constituency asked him to call a so-called by-election.

But the party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, described the resignations as a “wake-up call”, saying “unless we change we may see more days like this” – a guarded suggestion that Corbyn and his team had taken Labour too far to the left.


Britain’s 2016 EU referendum, when 52 percent voted to leave versus 48 to remain, has split not only British towns and villages but also parliament, with both Conservative and Labour leaders struggling to keep their parties united.

Eurosceptics in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party flexed their muscle by voting against her government in a symbolic Brexit ballot last week though have so far given little sign of formally breaking away.

But lawmakers in the new Labour independent grouping may hope to tempt away some pro-EU members of the governing party.

“We believe that the entire political system is now broken … We’ve had enough evidence to suggest that people out there will come forward, register their support and help us… build a new political movement,” Angela Smith said.

Corbyn has so far stuck to Labour policy to keep the option of a second referendum “on the table” if May’s government fails to secure a deal with Brussels that can break an impasse in parliament, preferring a new election or his own proposed deal.

The prospect of holding a second referendum poses a dilemma for Corbyn: while many of the party’s members fervently back a so-called People’s Vote, others just want Britain to leave as soon as possible.

But it was clear that for the seven lawmakers, Corbyn’s wider beliefs had spurred them to leave the party.

Corbyn has cemented a shift to the left in Labour, taking control of a party that, under former prime minister Tony Blair, moved to the centre to win and retain power for 13 years.

Some accused Corbyn of failing to tackle anti-Semitism in the party, an allegation that has dogged the Labour chief, a supporter of Palestinian rights and critic of the Israeli government, since he took over the party in 2015. Corbyn denies the allegation, saying he is stamping anti-Semitism out.

Luciana Berger, a Jewish lawmaker who has faced abuse, said the party had become “institutionally anti-Semitic”.

For others, Corbyn was just not up to the demands of his office, they said. Mike Gapes said it was now a question of lawmakers’ moral integrity whether to stay in Labour.

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London Zoo releases stunning X-ray pictures of animals

Striking X-ray images of animals at London Zoo have been released.

The pictures were taken while routine health checks were carried out on the zoo’s 18,000 animals – and include scans of snakes and armadillos.

An image of Cornelius, a corn snake, features hundreds of vertebrae – compared to the 33 inside a human.

ZSL London Zoo veterinary nurse Heather MacIntosh said: “We can tell so much about an animal’s health from looking at an X-ray – from the strength of their bones to how healthy their heart is.

“They’re vital to our work – and even though we get to see unique X-rays fairly often, we still think that they’re absolutely fascinating.

“Most people can recognise a human X-ray, but they probably haven’t seen the individual segments of a large hairy armadillo’s exoskeleton, or the long tail bones of a big-headed turtle.”

“My favourite X-rays are definitely the snakes – humans have 33 vertebrae, while snakes have between 200 and 400, which is how they’re so incredibly agile – it’s amazing to see it on screen.”

The health checks carried out on the animals also involve weighing and measuring every resident.

Ms MacIntosh added: “Our keepers make training part of their daily routine, which means our animals are totally unfazed during simple procedures, such as presenting their tails for blood draws. It’s simple and stress-free for them – and our vet team.”

The pictures have been released to coincide with the zoo’s Vets in Action event, which aims to educate visitors about the work that goes on behind the scenes.

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NatWest call handler told customer: ‘Vegans should be punched in the face’

A NatWest customer was told vegans should be “punched in the face” when she applied for a loan to take a vegan nutrition course.

The unnamed woman, from Bristol, called the bank and asked to borrow £400 so she could complete a nutrition diploma.

But she was then subjected to an outburst from the call handler who told her vegans had “pushed their beliefs” onto him.

She told BBC Radio Bristol that the man said vegans had drawn chalk images of animals on the pavements near where he lived and written “animals are friends not food” alongside it.

The woman told the radio station: “He wasn’t happy to be speaking to me at all, his tone was really unpleasant. Being vegan is a lifestyle choice, I shouldn’t be penalised for it, especially by a big organisation. It’s extremely unfair.”

A NatWest spokesman said: “We are extremely sorry for the way the customer was treated by a member of our staff and apologise for any distress and upset that this behaviour caused.

“These comments were wholly inappropriate and we have commenced disciplinary proceedings.

“We have provided feedback to the relevant sections of the bank to ensure that lessons are learnt so that a situation like this never happens again.”

The Independent reported that NatWest has offered the woman £185.50 in compensation and paid for her £400 course.

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Student fined for halting deportation

A Swedish activist has been fined 3,000 krona ($324; £251) for trying to stop the deportation of an Afghan migrant.

University student Elin Ersson booked what she thought was the same flight as the Afghan, refusing to sit down unless he was taken off the plane.

The migrant in question was not on the flight after all, but another Afghan was onboard for deportation after serving a prison sentence.

Since the protest in July 2018, both Afghans have been expelled from Sweden.

Ersson, 21, broadcasted her protest on Facebook from the Turkish Airlines plane, which was bound for Istanbul, Turkey, from Gothenburg, Sweden.

In the video, Ersson said she did not agree with Sweden’s policy of sending back rejected asylum seekers.

“I’m not going to sit down until this person is off the plane, because he will most likely get killed,” she said.

The video shows how airline crew and other passengers urge her to sit down and to stop filming.

Ersson was eventually removed from the plane, along with a 52-year-old Afghan and his escort from the Swedish Prison and Probation Service.

Social media reactions were largely supportive of her action, although some people are accusing her of grandstanding.

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Man who stabbed housemate multiple times in row over domestic matters avoids jail term

A Lithuanian man who stabbed his housemate in the torso, neck and ear during a physical altercation over domestic matters has avoided a jail term.

Garda Rob Nolan told a previous sentence hearing last December that he was on duty when neighbours alerted him to a dispute between Arturas Bulksas (55) and his then housemate.

Bulksas, of Burnside, Magenta Crescent, Santry, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the man causing him harm at his address on December 23, 2017. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally had adjourned sentencing after hearing evidence last December and ordered community service and probation reports. She accepted that this was a case with “some peculiarities favourable to the accused”.

She warned that given where the injuries were inflicted, an accused person can usually expect to get a custodial sentence “regardless of their point of life”.

Today Judge Greally said Bulksas’ pleas of guilty were significant considering evidence that the victim refused to make a victim impact report, provide a medical report and didn’t want to proceed with the prosecution.

The judge acknowledged that the report from the Probation Service indicated that Bulksas was suitable for community service.

She ordered that he carry out 240 hours community service in lieu of two years in prison and complete it within 12 months. The judge also imposed a two year sentence which she suspended in full.

Gda Nolan told Joseph Barnes BL, prosecuting, at the earlier hearing, that Bulksas got a kitchen knife during the altercation and stabbed his housemate in the torso, neck and ear.

He was initially unfit to be questioned by gardaí as he was so intoxicated, but he later made admissions. The court heard the injured party, who spent two days in hospital with his wounds, refused to make a victim impact statement or provide a medical report.

Gda Nolan told Judge Greally that the injuries were not life threatening.

He said the man made a statement to gardaí to say he was leaving the country and didn’t want anything further to do with the case.

The garda agreed with Emmet Nolan BL, defending, that Bulksas admitted in interview that he had drunk a bottle of vodka prior to the dispute.

Mr Nolan submitted to Judge Greally that it was unusual for someone in their “first outing in criminality” to use a knife. He said his client had come home that day and had an argument with the injured party about household matters. He said the dispute then turned physical.

Mr Nolan submitted that his client had not attempted to “wriggle out” of the case by taking a trial date, in light of the injured man wanting nothing more to do with the matter.

He said Bulksas had come to work in Ireland ten years ago, but now suffers from a stomach ailment which will require surgery. Counsel asked Judge Greally to take into account his client’s early plea, his genuine remorse, his previous good record and that he has no family in Ireland.

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'Love rival' trial: Garda who found body of Bobby Ryan believed 'he had been murdered or seriously assaulted and died in tank'

A SENIOR garda who attended the scene after the discovery of a body in an agricultural tank has told how he looked into the tank and believed it was Bobby Ryan.

Superintendent Patrick O’Callaghan told the murder trial that as a result of what he saw, he believed “he had been murdered and placed in the tank or he had been placed in the tank as a result of a serious assault and died in the tank.”

He said he received a call on April 30 2013 and went to Mary Lowry’s farm at Fawnagowan, Co Tipperary.

Patrick Quirke (50) of Breanshamore, Co Tipperary has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bobby Ryan (52) on a date between June 3 2011 and April 2013.

When Super O’Callaghan arrived at the scene, Patrick Quirke and his wife Imelda, were sitting on a small wall as you walked from the front yard at Mary Lowry’s house towards the tank where the remains were found.

One of the flagstones over the tank was ‘slightly ajar’ and a pipe was stuck into the hole, he noted. It was attached to a tanker or slurry spread, which was attached to a tractor.

He looked in and initially saw nothing. He then got down on his knees and lowered his head in and could see the outline of a body. With the aid of a torch he brought with him, he could see a clearer view, he told the trial.

“As a result of what I saw I believe that the person in the tank was Bobby Ryan,” he said.

“I believe that he had been murdered and placed in the tank or he had been placed in the tank as a result of a serious assault and died in the tank.”

Super O’Callaghan said he requested that the scene be preserved.

He then called to Mary Lowry’s house and told her “exactly what was going on – that the scene was now preserved and I asked her to leave the scene, which she did,” he told the court.

Under cross examination, he said they had given her some time to ‘collect her bits and pieces’ and he told the court she was ‘more than willing’ to comply.

Super O’Callaghan said he was ‘in and out of the scene’ a number of times throughout the day and returned around 5.50pm.

Garda Conor Ryan pulled the tractor, trailer and pipe away from the scene and released the fluid, in the presence of a garda from the Scenes of Crime unit and Super O’Callaghan said he saw fluid coming out of the back.

He told the court a discussion had taken place on how best to remove the body given its condition in the tank. It was decided that they would lift the roof off, because the fire service had indicated they would not enter the tank unless the roof had been taken off.

The body was then taken from the tank, initially placed on the ground before being placed in a body bag and then removed to Waterford hospital.

Under cross examination, Super O’Callaghan told Lorcan Staines SC for the Defence that he went back to the station and described what he saw at the scene in his notebook. Not every garda at the scene takes notes, he said, adding: “If everyone takes notes nothing would be done. You take notes as best you can.”

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Up to 19 migrants rescued from boat off Dover coast – Sky sources

Up to 19 migrants are understood to have been rescued from a small boat off the Dover coast, according to Sky sources.

The RNLI said it sent two of its rescue boats, while three Border Force vessels took part in the rescue near the port of Dover in Kent.

An RNLI spokesman said: “We can confirm that our lifeboats at Dungeness and Dover have launched today.”

The Home Office confirmed Border Force was “dealing with an ongoing small boat incident off the Kent coast”.

The migrants’ arrival comes after a sharp rise in December in the numbers being picked up by UK authorities while trying to cross the English Channel in small boats.

It prompted the government to declare a “major incident” in the Channel.

Home secretary Sajid Javid said 230 migrants had tried to cross the Channel in December, with just under half prevented from leaving the country by the French authorities.

Dozens were intercepted in the Channel in December, including 12 men on two boats brought to shore at Dover on 21 December and another 40 migrants detected on Christmas Day.

Mr Javid brought back two patrol vessels from overseas as part of efforts to stem the number of attempted crossings.

More follows…

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Cork GAA star pleads not guilty to assaulting two women in nightclub

CORK GAA star Ashling Thompson (28) has pleaded not guilty to assaulting two women in a nightclub last year.

The camogie star – who has won multiple All Ireland camogie titles with the Rebels – appeared before Judge Olann Kelleher in Cork District Court today on common assault charges.

The charges are brought contrary to Section 2 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act.

Thompson appeared today before Judge Kelleher on the two Section 2 common assault charges.

She faced two charges of assaulting Aoife O’Flaherty and Jennifer Coakley on February 25 2018 at Secret Garden, Rearden’s of Washington Street, Cork.

Solicitor Eddie Burke said that Thompson of Shinanagh, Newtownshandrum, Charleville, Co Cork, was pleading not guilty to both charges.

“We are seeking a date for hearing. It (the hearing) will take between an hour and a half to two hours,” Mr Burke said.

Judge Kelleher set the matter for hearing before Cork District Court on May 1 next and remanded her on continuing bail.

The camogie star did not address the court during the brief hearing.

She appeared wearing a pink jacket, a white top and white pin striped pants.

The star, from Milford, Co Cork, has won a total of three All Ireland camogie titles.

A powerhouse midfielder, she has also been honoured with two All Star awards.

The highlight of her career to date was captaining Cork to O’Duffy Cup success over Galway at Croke Park in 2015.

She has also won four county titles with her club.

The star has worked to develop a modelling career over recent years – appearing in photo shoots in a number of newspapers and magazines.

When she was aged just 19 she was involved in a serious road traffic accident.

The accident left her with serious neck and back problems.

She has been a dedicated campaigner about mental health issues over recent years.

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'It's getting harder to believe she is still alive' – sister of woman missing for eight years

THE sister of missing Esra Uryun has admitted her hopes of finding her alive have all but faded away.

Berna Fidan will return to Dublin on Wednesday in another bid to solve the mystery of her younger sister’s disappearance eight years ago.

Esra, a 38-year-old married mother-of-one, disappeared after leaving her home in Clondalkin on February 23, 2011.

Ms Fidan (53) has campaigned tirelessly ever since, travelling to Ireland from her London home on dozens of occasions in a bid to uncover a lead into the case.

Speaking only days before the eighth anniversary of Esra’s disappearance, mother-of-two Ms Fidan admitted she is finding it harder to believe her sister could still be alive.

“It’s now almost eight years since Esra disappeared,” she said.

“That’s a long time and it’s getting harder and harder for me to believe that she’s still alive.

“The longer this goes on, the more I have to accept that she can’t be alive, but I won’t rule it out completely.

“I still have a glimmer of hope that she might be alive, and I will not give up that dream of being reunited with her until I’m told otherwise.”

Esra’s family believe she was abducted between the time she set off from her home and the discovery of her car in Bray later that morning.

Although the grey Renault Twingo was captured on CCTV travelling towards a car park in the seaside town, efforts to enhance the grainy footage and identify the driver’s face – believed to be Esra’s abductor – have been unsuccessful.

However, Ms Fidan is praying her four-day visit to Ireland, during which she will meet with gardai and put up posters of her missing sister, will finally lead to some sort of breakthrough.

Her campaign is all the more urgent as her frail mother, who is 75, is battling a serious illness and “literally holding on for news of Esra”.

“Mum has gone through hell since Esra disappeared and it’s really taken a terrible toll on her health,” Ms Fidan said.

“She cries all the time about Esra, but she gets excited when I go over to Ireland. It gives her hope.

“But then when I came back it’s heartbreaking not to be able to give her good news.

“I’ve got to keep going. I’m baffled and the gardai are baffled too. I know someone out there knows something, and I beg them to come forward.”

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