Two men to face trial over death of Park Gate schoolgirl Emily Lewis on boat on Southampton Water

Two men have been sent for trial in connection with the death of a 15-year-old girl who was killed in a high speed accident in a sightseeing boat.

Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 11:22 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 1:18 pm

Michael Lawrence, 54, who was driving the boat, and Michael Howley, 51, the owner of Seadogz, the company which operated the boat trip, both appeared for a preliminary hearing at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

Lawrence, of Hartsgrove Avenue, Blackfield, Southampton, entered a not guilty plea to the gross negligence manslaughter of Emily.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Emily Lewis

Read More

Read More
Large police presence cordons off part of the Canoe Lake car park in Southsea

Howley, of Stopples Lane, Hordle, Hampshire, indicated a not guilty plea to the charge of owning the RIB and failing to take all reasonable steps to secure that the boat was operated in a safe manner.

He also indicated a not guilty plea to the alternative charge of failing to operate the company, Seadogz, in a safe manner.

Sarah Barnard, defending the pair, said of Lawrence: ‘The issues are that this was an unfortunate accident, it was not caused by gross negligence.’

Michael Howley, 51, the owner of boat trip company, Seadogz, leaves Southampton Magistrates' Court Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

District Judge Anthony Callaway sent the case for trial at Winchester Crown Court and released the two defendants on unconditional bail until the first hearing on March 2.

He told them: ‘This matter goes for trial at the crown court sitting at Winchester, the first hearing of the case will be March 2.

‘I propose to grant you unconditional bail until March 2. Thank you gentlemen for attending today.’

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

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

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