Leeds Festival death: Authorities ‘still gathering evidence’ after teenager David Celino dies

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Authorities investigating the death of a teenager at Leeds Festival last month are “still gathering evidence”, a public meeting has been told.

David Celino, 16, from Salford, is thought to have taken an ecstasy tablet before falling fatally ill at the event over the bank holiday weekend, West Yorkshire Police said.

Now, Leeds City Council’s licensing committee has indicated it wants to take a close look at the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, in a bid to prevent a repeat.

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The committee is effectively responsible for allowing the festival to run each year and holding organisers to account.

David Celino is believed to have died after taking MDMA - also known as ecstasy - at Leeds Festival.David Celino is believed to have died after taking MDMA - also known as ecstasy - at Leeds Festival.
David Celino is believed to have died after taking MDMA - also known as ecstasy - at Leeds Festival.

Addressing fellow councillors at a meeting this week, committee chairperson James Gibson said: “Our thoughts are with David Celino’s friends and family at this tragic time.”

He said he had joined deputy leader Debra Coupar at a meeting with other agencies to discuss some of the issues that arose at Leeds Festival, adding: “What was clear from that meeting was that there’s still evidence being gathered by partner agencies.”

Coun Gibson said a report on the festival was being compiled by the council’s safety advisory group and that public scrutiny of this year’s event could start once investigations had been completed.

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He added: “The licensing committee has to be involved in looking at how we improve what was a difficult Leeds Festival.”

In 2021, the council was handed a formal notice by a coroner to prevent future deaths at the festival. It followed the death of 17 year-old Anya Buckley at Bramham Park in 2019.

In response, awareness campaigns around drugs and alcohol were ramped up at the 2021 event and additional late-night medical officers were employed.

A standalone drugs advisory board was also set up on site.

However, organisers stopped short of banning 16 and 17 year-olds attending without the company of an adult, despite the coroner at Miss Buckley’s inquest saying he was concerned unsupervised teenagers were “easy prey” for drug dealers.

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West Yorkshire Police previously said its officers had made 50 arrests at this year’s festival, with the majority being for drugs supply offences.

Just 27 arrests were made in 2019, with 56 in 2019 and 48 in 2018.