Briton faces charge over boat tragedy

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The Independent Online

A Briton is due to face charges in Italy next month after a boating accident in 1998 which claimed the lives of three other UK citizens, the Foreign Office said yesterday.

A Briton is due to face charges in Italy next month after a boating accident in 1998 which claimed the lives of three other UK citizens, the Foreign Office said yesterday.

John Lilley, from Aberdeen, is believed to be facing a charge of manslaughter after a hired pleasure craft overturned in a freak storm, a spokesman said.

He is one of nine people at the hearing listed for September 28 in the aftermath of the boating tragedy on Lake Garda, near Milan.

Mr Lilley, aged 43 at the time of the tragedy, was pulled from Lake Garda with his two children, Andrew and Alison, and Katherine Harris. Her husband, Richard, 50, a head teacher from Dunstable, and his sons, Timothy, 13, and Luke, six, died in the accident.

Ian Shand, a press officer at the British Consulate General in Milan, said Mr Lilley had been charged because he had used his ID to hire the boat. "Mr Lilley has been accused of shipwreck, negligence, causing disaster and multiple manslaughter." The charges were based on allegations that Mr Lilley had continued to sail in spite of the storm and also failed to ensure all his passengers were wearing lifejackets.

"Also charged with multiple manslaughter are the two owners of the boat because they are charged with not having informed the British tourists of the changeable weather conditions on Lake Garda and not having explained where the life jackets were located," he said. "Six police officers, one a police captain, are accused of multiple manslaughter because they are charged with not having initiated a search in good time."

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