A 37-YEAR-OLD man has been sentenced to nine months in prison for the manslaughter of a six-year-old boy.
Stuart Wilson died in a speedboat collision at Cranfield beach in county Down three years ago.
Damien McCann pleaded guilty to the manslaughter which occurred on the August Bank Holiday Monday 2010.
His sentence has been suspended for three years.
After today’s court appearance, the PSNI and Maritime and Coastguard Agency reminded those who use coastal waters for recreation to be aware of regulations and use the same care and consideration as required on the roads.
“I would like to express our deepest sympathies to Stuart’s family, I know that nothing can compensate for their loss,” said MCA’s head of enforcement Captain Jeremy Smart.
“This tragic incident must serve as a reminder…there are rules that govern how craft are to be driven and exercising common sense, particularly when powerful boats are involved, is essential.”
Sergeant Kelly Anne Warnock added, “Our thoughts are firmly with Stuart’s family today. We know that nothing can bring Stuart back but we hope that this case will provide a stark reminder to all that care and attention is needed on the water, as much as on land.”
The victim’s family expressed their relief and sadness after the sentencing today.
“Gary, Heather, Ashleen, Gareth, Hannah and the rest of the family remain devastated by the death of their son and brother Stuart but are relieved that the court case has come to an end,” they said in a statement.
Stuart was a very outgoing child who loved football, outdoor activities and playing with his many friends. Nothing can bring Stuart back to us but we hope now that the proper authorities will study the legislation and regulations around maritime activity and support the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency’s call for stricter legislation.
“We would like to thank all of those who have supported us through this lengthy and difficult time. Stuart will always be in our thoughts. Gone but not forgotten.”
The young boy was on holiday with his family on 30 August 2010 when the incident occurred. He was on a wave board, being towed by a boat when he was struck by another craft just after 5pm. He suffered head injuries and blood loss. He was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after initial emergency treatment at the Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.