Tributes paid to 16-year-old boy after death at Leeds festival

Robyn Vinter North of England correspondent

Mon, 29 August 2022 at 3:00 pm

The family of a 16-year-old boy who died after falling ill at the Leeds festival on Sunday have described him as “a beautiful, fiercely independent and warm character”.

David Celino, whom police named on Monday, was taken to hospital on Saturday night after possibly taking ecstasy in a “grey or black oblong shape”.

A police investigation has been launched into the cause of his death, but it is believed to have been an isolated incident.

David was from Worsley in Greater Manchester and was at the festival with friends celebrating getting good grades in his GCSEs last week.

In a tribute his family said: “Our David was a beautiful, fiercely independent and warm character who lived every day at 110% and who loved to spend time enjoying music with his friends.

“He had just received fabulous GCSE results, got into college, and had hoped to study computer science at a top university.

“Leeds festival was the highlight of his summer; ultimately it was to take his life in the most unfair, cruel and horrible way, and we are broken.”

His death comes after a review by Leeds city council and the organisers Festival Republic into whether 16- and 17-year-olds should be allowed to attend the festival without an adult.

This was prompted by the death of the 17-year-old Anya Buckley at the festival in 2019, the 17-year-old Lewis Haunch in 2016 and the 19-year-old James Houghton in 2013. All three had taken ecstasy before they died.

Catherine Hankinson, an assistant chief constable at West Yorkshire police, said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the boy who has died, and we have officers supporting them at this very difficult time.

“While the exact cause of his death is yet to be established, one line of inquiry is that he had taken a particular type of ecstasy (MDMA) tablet, which was described as a grey or black oblong shape.

“At this moment in time this is believed to be an isolated incident as we have not received any similar reports.”

The Leeds festival website contains a section warning about ecstasy deaths. It says: “In 2005 each pill contained around 80mg of MDMA. Some recent pills have tested upwards of 250mg MDMA. This could be firmly in the fatal overdose range.

“A combination of factors are at play such as bodyweight, hormone levels, mixing with other drugs including alcohol, underlying health and so on. There is no safe dose.”

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