A HAMPSHIRE businessman sobbed in court as he admitted that he had been driving too fast when he crashed a powerful jet-powered boat into his luxury cruiser, killing his friend of 20 years.
Ryan McKinlay, 36, a father of one died following the accident in Osborne Bay off the Isle of Wight on June 19 2015.
Aaron Brown, chief operating officer of telecoms firm OneCom, is on trial at Winchester Crown Court charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of the 36-year-old, which he denies.
Giving evidence, the 34-year-old had to take breaks to recover himself as he sobbed while giving his account of the accident.
He admitted that, in hindsight, driving the Williams Turbojet 325 rigid inflatable boat (Rib) at up to 35mph, which would cover up to 15 metres per second, was too fast for the manoeuvre he was carrying out, close to the 62ft Fairline Targa cabin cruiser.
He told the jury that said he had been “having fun” in the Rib, and had earlier been throwing up spray from the boat’s water jet on to the cruiser, named True Blue, which had on board a party of his friends made up of successful businessmen and professional footballl players.
Brown said: “At the time I didn’t think it was too quick, looking back it was too quick.” He added: “It happened so quickly.”
The court heard that Brown had previously been convicted for driving another Rib at up to five times the speed limit on the River Hamble in 2012, when he had been driving at between 25 and 30 knots in a 6-knot limit zone.
He said that during the afternoon of the boat trip from Swanwick to Osborne Bay, he had drunk a glass and a half of Champagne and a bottle of Peroni lager, but he said this had not affected his judgment. The defendant said that he had been “100% confident” he could safely complete the manoeuvre he was carrying out when the collision happened, despite only having about 80 minutes of previous experience driving the Rib.
Brown, of Botley Road, Curdridge, also said it was “very unfair” to suggest he was showing off to his guests aboard the True Blue, and denied he was “driving towards True Blue”. He added: “I was intending to turn away, to turn the boat right”, and added: “I turned right and the boat didn’t turn.”
Hired skipper Paul Carey, 52, of Chatsworth Road, Southampton, is also on trial for a charge he denies of driving the Rib earlier in the afternoon too fast in contravention of Merchant Shipping regulations.