Businessman killed friend by ‘showing off’, jurors are told

David Cotton. Picture: Sussex Police

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A BUSINESSMAN killed his friend as he ‘showed off’ at ‘high speed’ piloting a boat before ‘violently’ crashing into a motor cruiser, jurors were told.

Aaron Brown, chief operating officer of One Com, yesterday went on trial accused of manslaughter by gross negligence of his friend Ryan McKinlay, 36, of Gosport.

Aaron Brown

Aaron Brown

Sitting on the front of a ‘quick and agile’ tender Mr McKinlay ‘had no chance’ when he hit a swimming platform at the rear of the larger 62ft boat, prosecutor Nick Tucker said.

Jurors were played footage of the 30mph crash recorded by the dad-of-one’s wife Fran, who was standing at the rear of the boat recording him on a friend’s mobile phone during the incident at Osborne Bay, off Isle of Wight.

Brown is accused of driving the boat too fast and too close to the True Blue, a 38-tonne Fairline Targa cabin cruiser, causing the death of Mr McKinlay on June 19, 2015.

Mr McKinlay hit the swimming platform as Brown was ‘catapulted over him literally head over heels,’ Mr Tucker said.

Still taken from footage issued by Hampshire Police of a Williams Turbojet 325 rigid inflatable boat (Rib) being driven by Aaron Brown

Still taken from footage issued by Hampshire Police of a Williams Turbojet 325 rigid inflatable boat (Rib) being driven by Aaron Brown

Winchester Crown Court heard several friends and associates, including Havant and Waterlooville manager and player, Lee Bradbury and Lee Molyneaux, were on True Blue for a party, having set off from Swanwick Marina at 2.30pm. Mr Molyneaux told jurors he and Mr Bradbury had recovered Mr McKinlay, who was airlifted to St Mary’s Hospital, Isle of Wight, and pronounced dead at 6.31pm.

Brown, who had been trained to a Royal Yachting Association level two in power boating, had led a champagne toast on the larger boat, which housed the rigid inflatable boat (Rib) in a garage, after they arrived in Osborne Bay at about 4pm.

Paul Carey had been taking out passengers on the Williams Turbojet 325, driving close to the boat, spraying passengers, video shown to the jury revealed.

The court heard Brown then took over from Mr Carey, who is also on trial, taking Mr McKinlay out on the tender.

Ryan McKinlay

Ryan McKinlay

Mr Tucker said the boat skidded as Brown piloted it toward True Blue with Mr McKinlay sitting on the front.

Brown, 34, Botley Road, Curdridge, denies manslaughter by gross negligence. Carey, 52, of Chatsworth Road, Southampton, denies failing to proceed at safe speed while driving the Williams Turbojet 325 earlier in the afternoon.

(Proceeding)