Parents of girl, 15, killed when 'coward' speedboat skipper crashed into buoy tell how 'light dimmed from her eyes' | The Sun

THE family of a 15-year-old girl killed when a speedboat smashed into a buoy have slammed the "coward" skipper after he avoided jail.

Emily Lewis suffered "unsurvivable" injuries when the rigid inflatable boat (RIB) smashed into the structure at 42.2mph in Southampton.

The 15-year-old was crushed against a metal handle after skipper Michael Lawrence allegedly failed to see the "massive" buoy for 14 seconds.

Lawrence has now avoided jail after being convicted of failing to maintain a proper lookout and failing to maintain a safe speed.

The skipper, who was was previously cleared of manslaughter, was instead handed an 18-week prison term suspended for two years.

Seadogz owner Michael Howley – found guilty of failing to discharge his duty that a boat was operated in a safe manner – was handed the same sentence today at Winchester Crown Court.

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Emily's mum Nikki Lewis today told Lawrence he had "broken" the family and "kept them in hell".

She said: "From the day of the accident my life has changed dramatically, I carry on but I do not live anymore.

"My family is what I got up every day for, my girls Emily and Amy are what I lived for.

"What you took away from me and my family has left us broken and unable to function.

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"Emily was a fun, quiet, caring, young girl with a wicked sense of humour. We loved her so much but now our hearts are empty.

"You have taken away from us not being able to watch Emily grow into a beautiful young lady, the amazing adult that she would have been.

"I will never forgive you for this."

The mum told how all she can see is Emily's blue lips as she struggled to breathe when she goes back to the tragic day.

Nikki said she was not able to comfort her daughter because of her other injuries.

She added: "The paramedics took Emily and that is the last time I saw her until she was in a hospital bed, I remember screaming hearing Amy scream and this is when I knew we were going to have to turn off the life support machine off.

"I couldn't help her and this haunts me daily, I cannot get that image out of my head.

"That is why I survive and not live, because of what you did to me and my family on that day.

"It is two and a half years and you have kept us in this hell, you could have taken responsibility for what happened that day but you have chosen not to – to me you are just a coward only thinking about yourself.

"You show no remorse. You are a weak man. You never once stepped up for anyone on the boat that day."

Emily's dad Simon said her death has "truly broken" him as he spoke of his daughter's final moments as he watched the "light dim from her eyes".

He said: "I can vividly see her skin, smooth and pale as alabaster, and her lips already looking blue.

"I hope you remember this too, I hope that this is what you see in your mind's eye when you wake up and before you sleep.

"This hole will never be filled or mended, it just sits there as a poisonous reminder of what you did that day."

Emily's parents had decided to take her and their other daughter Amy for the speedboat ride in August 2020 as a post-lockdown treat.

The 60-minute RIB ride was advertised as "adrenaline-fuelled", involving "speed", "tight turns" and "wake rides".

But Lawrence was accused of recklessly taking risks by performing daring stunts before he ploughed into the huge metal buoy.

Emily's mum Nikki told the court previously how she felt unsafe while on the journey with her family.

She said: "All I remember was hitting something, I don't remember seeing the buoy.

"The next thing I knew was Amy screaming.

"I had shot forward at an angle, my arm broke and I was turned around, I was skewed on the floor. I was slumped and I was in so much pain, I was numb.

"I looked for Emily, she was on the floor: 'OMG, she's blue'.

"Amy was screaming, 'Help my sister, help my sister'.

"I remember the skipper on the phone saying 'I've had a bad one mate'. He was walking down the boat."

The mum had told jurors Lawrence "didn't do anything for me and my family".

She recalled how Emily was "freaked out" so she kept telling her daughter to "stay with us".

When paramedics arrived, Nikki told jurors she was still convinced her daughter was not going to die.

Tragically, the teen's fate dawned on her as they arrived at hospital.

She said: "She had lost so much blood they could not get her blood pressure up.

"It was not Emily. She had lost so much oxygen, her brain was starved of oxygen. She was not going to gain anything."

Emily's sister Amy, then aged 18, told jurors about the schoolgirl's heartbreaking "last words" as she lay dying.

She said the teen begged, "I just want to go home, I just want to go home" while she drifted in and out of consciousness.

Amy told how she saw her sister on the ground hunched over after a hoop had gone "straight into her stomach".

The group were taken back to shore where Emily "woke up and started screaming" she could not see.

Amy added: "Emily said, 'Everyone get off me' but nobody was touching her, she was claustrophobic, I think it was because everything was collapsing inside of her."

Prosecutors claimed Lawrence's driving was "extremely dangerous" and his actions were "truly exceptionally bad".

The skipper – nicknamed "Mr Safe" – said a Covid mask blew up and blocked his vision before later claiming he suffered vision loss.

Other passengers on board the boat said smashing into the buoy was like "hitting a brick wall".

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The skipper denied manslaughter by gross negligence, failure to maintain a proper lookout as master of the boat, and failing to proceed at a safe speed while operating the boat.

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