Jury told renowned sailor would ‘probably not’ carry out manoeuvre done by fatal boat crash accused

Ryan McKinlay
Ryan McKinlay
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A RENOWNED sailor who has been ‘shipwrecked’ 12 times and took a boat out at 150mph on his 70th birthday said he would not carry out the same manoeuvre done by a businessman on trial over a fatal boat crash.

Roderick Pike, 84, who jurors heard twice assisted in Richard Branson’s Atlantic world record attempts, was giving evidence at the trial of Aaron Brown at Winchester Crown Court.

Successful businessman Brown, chief operating officer of One Com, denies the manslaughter of his friend Ryan McKinlay, 36, of Gosport, who was a passenger on the Williams Turbojet 325 piloted by Brown.

Jurors heard how Mr McKinlay died from chest injuries when the boat crashed into the 62ft motor cruiser True Blue, where his wife Francesca was standing on a swimming platform filming the smaller boat.

Mr Pike – known as Dag Pike – said: ‘It’s not something I would have undertaken,

‘I don’t think. I prefer doing mine in the high sea.’

He added: ‘Going close to another boat adds to the potential risk to the operation.’

Prosecutor Nick Tucker asked: ‘Would you have done it, if you had had some alcohol and a passenger sitting on the bow; would you, for fun, chose to drive at a hard object on the surface of the sea?’

Mr Pike replied: ‘Probably not.’

The expert who built the first ever rigid inflatable boat, told also jurors the bow had dipped, showing it was put in reverse.

Mr Pike said: ‘The only conclusion I could come to was the boat was put in stern steer, that would allow the bow to dip significantly down.’

He said the boat looked to be travelling at 25mph, then losing 5mph as it went into a turn in the incident on June 19, 2015, in Osborne Bay, off the Isle of Wight.

In his report he estimated a higher speed but told jurors that estimating the speed was ‘intelligent guesswork’.

Asked by Brown’s barrister Trevor Burke QC for the cause of the crash, Mr Pike said: ‘If you’re relating the accident to going under the swimming platform then almost certainly going astern was the cause of that happening.’

Brown, 34, Botley Road, Curdridge, denies manslaughter by gross negligence.

The True Blue skipper hired for the day, Paul Carey, 52, of Chatsworth Road, Southampton, denies a charge of driving too fast in contravention of Merchant Shipping regulations, in relation to earlier driving of the Williams Turbojet 325 the same afternoon.

(Proceeding)