‘Exocet missile’ jet ski rider escapes jail time

Bournemouth Echo: DESTROYED: Lil Annie owner Mark Hughes in front of one of the trimaran’s hulls which were damaged by jetskier Michael Wills DESTROYED: Lil Annie owner Mark Hughes in front of one of the trimaran’s hulls which were damaged by jetskier Michael Wills

A BUSINESSMAN who crashed into a racing yacht in Studland Bay has received a community sentence.

Following his trial at Bournemouth Crown Court Michael Wills, 51, was convicted of causing criminal damage to the trimaran Lil Annie on June 6, 2010.

Jurors heard how Wills of Poppy Close, Poole, had been travelling at about 50mph on his jet ski with a 10-year-old pillion passenger before the collision.

Moments before the impact, which tore the vessel’s hull apart, the boy leapt to safety. Wills suffered serious leg injuries and needed 12 operations.

In his defence, the court heard that Wills, who has five employees, was a man of integrity with “a creditable background” who had made “a serious error of judgement”.

Judge Peter Johnson ordered him to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £2,400 prosecution costs.

He told Wills: “You engaged in 60 seconds of madness, riding this powerful jet ski with a 10-year-old boy behind as pillion passenger, towards a racing yacht.

“They thought you were trying to commit suicide. Their view was that your intention was to turn away at the last minute in order to spray the boat; perhaps as a show of bravado. You got this totally wrong, colliding with the yacht and causing a substantial amount of damage.”

Speaking after the collision Lil Annie owner Mark Hughes, who was sailing with a friend when the crash happened, told the Daily Echo: “He came at me like an Exocet missile.

“I could see his eyes. I heard the lad on the back shout ‘What are you doing?’ before he jumped off the back. If that little kiddie hadn’t jumped he could have been dead.”

PC Tristin Oliver of Dorset police marine section said: “While the majority of power boat and jet ski users act responsibly, some do fail to recognise the risk that they can cause to other members of the public.

“Jet skis are powerful, fast craft and highly manoeuvrable.

“Using them in this manner, close to other water users, creates a high risk of collision. Thankfully this case did not result in the death of the rider or child.”

Comments (5)

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2:01pm Mon 26 Mar 12

Poole sailor says...

Not quite the whole story. This was not a collision between two craft in open water, it was a jet ski driving at high speed through a quiet anchorage in Studland straight into a sailing craft moving slowly up to drop anchor.
Not quite the whole story. This was not a collision between two craft in open water, it was a jet ski driving at high speed through a quiet anchorage in Studland straight into a sailing craft moving slowly up to drop anchor. Poole sailor

6:46pm Mon 26 Mar 12

Bob49 says...

Funny how my earlier comment has disappeared. One in which I refered to the man responsible for the collision as a cretin and questioned the leniency of the sentence.

And the story has also been moved from the front page news listings

Very odd
Funny how my earlier comment has disappeared. One in which I refered to the man responsible for the collision as a cretin and questioned the leniency of the sentence. And the story has also been moved from the front page news listings Very odd Bob49

9:25pm Mon 26 Mar 12

spyinthesky says...

I know this guy, he is a very well respected local man who made a bad jugment that day, as for for you Bob49 go and crawl back under that rock you came from.
I know this guy, he is a very well respected local man who made a bad jugment that day, as for for you Bob49 go and crawl back under that rock you came from. spyinthesky

12:25am Tue 27 Mar 12

Bob49 says...

"a bad jugment ", eh ?

That's a quaint way of putting things.

50 mph with a child on the back of a jetski heading intentionally for another craft.

I think I would have been grateful for anything to crawl or hide under with someone like that on the loose.

ps at what point did HE think it was 'a bad judgement' and had the collision not occured and he had been able to swerve at the last second would he have recalled the incident as 'a bad judgement' ?

I doubt very, very much. And I doubt very, very much if he would have also volunteered to do 100 hours of community service because he missed killing people by seconds through, what was it ....

.....'a bad judgement'
"a bad jugment ", eh ? That's a quaint way of putting things. 50 mph with a child on the back of a jetski heading intentionally for another craft. I think I would have been grateful for anything to crawl or hide under with someone like that on the loose. ps at what point did HE think it was 'a bad judgement' and had the collision not occured and he had been able to swerve at the last second would he have recalled the incident as 'a bad judgement' ? I doubt very, very much. And I doubt very, very much if he would have also volunteered to do 100 hours of community service because he missed killing people by seconds through, what was it .... .....'a bad judgement' Bob49

5:42pm Tue 27 Mar 12

pete woodley says...

Spy in the sky,Are you in the same lodge.
Spy in the sky,Are you in the same lodge. pete woodley

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