Leeds Festival goers in shock after tragic death of 17-year-old girl in suspected drug overdose

Leeds Festival goers spoke of their shock today after the death of a teenage girl in a suspected drug overdose.
Leeds Festival 2019Leeds Festival 2019
Leeds Festival 2019

Police were called to the site at Bramham Park at 3.40am after the death of a 17-year-old girl in a suspected drug overdose and arrested a 17-year-old boy.Festival goers spoke of their shock after the death and also offered praise for security staff on site.

Simon Smith, aged 47, from Scarcroft in Leeds, came to the festival on Saturday and also has a 13-year-old daughter staying at the festival with friends over the weekend.

He said: "It is very shocking and absolutely horrible.

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"My daughter is 13 and here with her friends and my niece and nephew aged 16 and 19 are also here. It is very worrying.

"I told my daughter to be careful what she drinks and always make sure the top of cups are covered up and to stay together with friends.

"The security here has seemed good, everyone was getting checked on the way in and they had sniffer dogs too."

Eve Birkin, aged 23 from Nottingham, said: "It is shocking. You know people will do it at festivals but you don't ever want something like this to happen.

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"Before I came my mum said to me don't do drugs - I'm 23 and she never said that to me before.

"Security is good here but it is difficult to stop drugs entirely unless you strip search everyone who comes in but that would be impossible with 80,000 people."

Welfare tents are set up on site and anyone can attend to get help.

Staff at the welfare tent stressed those coming for help relating to drugs will not get into trouble. There is a welfare tent and a first aid tent located next to the Co Op in the village which are both open 24 hours.

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A Samaritans tent is also based near to the red campsite and volunteers for the charity stressed that anyone can attend and speak to staff 24/7 for advice with total anonymity.

A Festival Angels cafe tent, based near the blue campsite round the corner from the village, also offers help to festival goers.

Sarah Cutts, team leader at the Festival Angels cafe, said: "We work with welfare and we work with Samaritans and people over the years have got to know we are here.

"We are a prayer tent so we will sit and pray with people if they want to if they feel it will help them

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"But we offer help to support and care for anyone who comes in. We also know our limitations and when we have to get to get other people involved.

"As Festival Angels we have a team that walks around all day helping people, meeting people where they are if they need help and can call out first aid if needs be. Come and talk to us".

There is also a Narcotics Anonymous tent in the village near to the Oxfam store for anyone who wants anonymous help for drug addiction issues.

Melvin Benn, spokesman for Leeds Festiv organiser Festival Republic said: "To say we are deeply saddened about this tragedy, is an understatement.

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"At this point, we implore the media to respect the family’s wishes of privacy at this devastating time.

"The West Yorkshire Police have taken action against those that may have supplied the drugs, and we will continue to work with them as usual.

"I would like to take this opportunity to remind anyone attending Reading and Leeds Festival that there is no safe way to take prohibited drugs and there are no safe prohibited drugs.”