Father sends drug warning to thousands after son died at Leeds Festival
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A grieving father is speaking out a year after his son died from taking ecstasy at Leeds Festival.
David Celino died in hospital at the age of 16 in August 2022, just days after receiving his GCSE results.
His dad has now started a campaign to make music events safer for young people.
Gianpiero Celino told ITV: "One of the biggest challenges we face with festivals and a large number of 16 and 17-year-olds is how you bridge the gap between the fact that they're not able to purchase and consume alcohol and the fact that there are drugs available on site.
"That for me is one of the biggest risks that's not fully dealt with.
"We know that, in David's case, one of the things that drove them towards considering buying drugs was that they had run out of alcohol and they were preyed upon by a drug dealer, who having understood that took steps to groom them to the point where he sold them drugs, because they felt they didn't have anything else they could do.
"The coroner made a really important point in asking those who give evidence at the inquest into David's death whether 16 and 17-year-olds were particularly vulnerable and we believe they are.
"We believe the question of whether festivals are safe for 16 and 17-year-olds is still an open one."
With Leeds Festival on this weekend, the grieving dad's mind is on the young revellers attending this year's festivities.
He said: "This weekend there'll be 20,000 people under the age of 18 there trying to enjoy themselves just like David and his friends were.
"They'd been talking about going to Leeds Festival since the previous Christmas, they were looking forward to it.
"The real test is that what's happened to David, doesn't happen again.
"I hope it won't, but that will be in my mind this weekend."
It is believed that David died after taking one-and-a-half tablets from a dealer who has never been identified.
Speaking at the inquest, a coroner told the court: "As a tribute to David I would hope that all young people attending the festival become aware of that fact and heed the lessons drawn from this painful tragedy."
David's parents said in response: "Whatever assurances are given by the organisers, whatever measures put in place to keep festival goers safe you cannot be sure that if your child becomes seriously unwell that someone will come forward to offer help, so preparing your child and their friends is critical."
Detective Chief inspector Phil Jackson said: "[David's] tragic death really illustrates the risks involved in experimenting with unlicensed drugs. Even just one experience can prove fatal.
"The safety of festival goers is paramount and we continue to work closely with organisers to do everything we can to deliver this."