Teenager fined over holiday jetski tragedy

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The Independent Online

James Dudley, 16, was on a jetski when it struck his girlfriend, Hannah Sutton, at the resort of Pissouri on August 2. Hannah, 16, who went to the same school has James, died from her injuries in hospital.

Today James from Colwyn Bay, north Wales, was fined £1,508 at Limassol District Court after he admitted one charge under Cyprus law of causing death through want of precaution through recklessness or criminal damage.

He was also fined £503 after admitting two more minor charges relating to illegally driving a jetski without a licence.

The teenager, who was held overnight in custody, faced a maximum sentence of up to four years in jail.

His relieved family said his non-custodial sentence meant he could now travel home in time for Hannah's funeral on Friday.

"James was in the dock by himself. It was fairly tense because you were aware you were confronting the possibility of a custodial sentence," the teenager's uncle Rhys Williams said.

"James just wants to get back to where Hannah's family are. Her parents, Lynne and Stephen have been fantastic, and have put their arms around him and consoled him. That's the single thing that's got him through all this.

"The hardest part is just beginning for James. It has been an extraordinary week for him, he's been in and out of custody but really the fundamental thing has been how to deal with the bereavement. The substantial thing is the loss of his girlfriend."

Hannah's parents have said they do not blame James, but the boy was arrested and locked up by police in Cyprus after the accident.

But Lynne and Stephen Sutton criticised the authorities in Cyprus, saying the accident should never have happened. Both youngsters were under the legal age for hiring jests in Cyprus, which is 18.

Two local men, aged 29 and 45, who run the jetski firm were also arrested but have pleaded not guilty and will go on trial in October.

Hannah and James were both pupils at the private Rydal Penrhos School in Colwyn Bay, north Wales. Hannah had just finished her GCSEs and was planning to take A-levels at St John's Middle School, the school at the British army base in Episkopi where her mother is a teacher.

Both families have been staying at the base.

Hannah's mother, originally from Sheffield, has lived in Cyprus for the last seven years.

Mr Sutton has flown out to Cyprus from his home near Alderley Edge in Cheshire bringing their two other sons, William, 11, and Daniel, 14, to reunite the family.

James and his family will try to get flights out of Cyprus today or tomorrow and will be home in time for Hannah's funeral in Dunham Massey, Cheshire, on Friday.

Hannah's family will return to the UK tomorrow on an RAF flight.

A memorial service for Hannah, to be attended by James, was being held at the British army base in Cyprus this afternoon.

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