Two men charged after girl, 15, dies in high-speed boat accident in Solent

TWO men have been charged in connection with the death of a 15-year-old girl who died in a high-speed accident in a sightseeing boat.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 8:28 am
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 11:51 am

Emily Lewis was among 12 people taken to hospital after the rigid inflatable boat (Rib) collided with a buoy in the Solent on August 22, 2020.

Michael Lawrence, 54, who was driving the boat, has been charged with gross negligence manslaughter and Michael Howley, 51, the owner of the company which operated the boat trip, has been charged with failing to take all reasonable steps to secure that the boat was operated in a safe manner.

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Emily Lewis Picture released by Hampshire Constabulary

The pair will appear at Southampton Magistrates’ Court on February 2.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: ‘The CPS has today authorised Hampshire Constabulary to charge two men in relation with the death of Emily Lewis, 15, who was in a boat which struck a buoy in Southampton Water on 22 August 2020.

‘The CPS reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against these defendants are active and that they have the right to a fair trial.

‘It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice proceedings.’

The rib struck this green buoy (circled) in Southampton water Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

An inquest which opened into her death heard she was taken to Southampton General Hospital where she died despite attempts to save her life.

A report released by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) revealed that the teenager was ‘catapulted into the handrail directly in front of her seat’ when the Rib crashed into the North-West Netley buoy in Southampton Water at a speed of 38.4 knots.

Two of the 11 passengers were thrown overboard and all the remaining passengers as well as the skipper suffered ‘varying degrees of injuries’.

The inquest hearing was told that Emily, who died of an upper abdominal injury, was accompanied to hospital by her father, Simon Lewis, from Park Gate.

It is understood that Emily’s father, mother Nikki and 19-year-old sister Amy were also on the boat, and that both her mother and sister suffered broken arms.

The family said in a statement released previously through Hampshire Police: ‘We are all in shock that our beautiful daughter and sister is no longer with us, and words just don’t seem available to express our deep sense of loss.’

Stuart Parkes, head teacher at Brookfield School where Emily was a student, described her as ‘kind, compassionate’ and as a ‘bright, conscientious student’.

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