Court: Trial Underway In Fatal Boat Collision Case

August 15, 2018

[Written by Don Burgess]

Photos of boats involved and a panicked 911 call were all part of yesterday’s [Aug 14] testimony at a trial of a man charged with the manslaughter of New Zealand visitor Mary McKee during last year’s America’s Cup.

In December of last year, Andrew Lake pled not guilty to unlawfully killing Mrs McKee when his 17 foot Mako powerboat allegedly went over the top of the nine-foot Zodiac rigid inflatable boat [RIB] that was carrying Mrs McKee and two others.

The nine-woman, three-man jury heard that Mrs McKee and her husband arrived in Bermuda in June 2017 to attend the America’s Cup. They were renting a catamaran to stay.

After enjoying a dinner at a local restaurant, the McKees and other vacationers who were in Bermuda for the America’s Cup got into two small RIB boats at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and headed back to their catamaran.

The Court heard that the McKees were in a boat in which Charlie Watson was piloting, and at approximately 10:40pm, as they headed across Hamilton Harbour, Mr Lake’s boat went over the top of the boat that the McKees were in.

The Crown Counsel stated Mrs McKee was knocked unconscious and then drowned.

The Crown’s first witness was a crime scene investigator with the Bermuda Police Service.

She proceeded to show and describe a series of over 50 photographs she took on the night of, and a few days afterwards, of the boats.

The photos showed extensive damage to the boat the McKees and Mr Watson were travelling in. The damage included a hole on the side of the craft as well as huge cracks and a partially shattered cover for the outboard motor.

Also, the crime scene investigator showed numerous blood splatter spots on both the RIB boat and Mr Lake’s boat, the Lazy Bouy.

The crime scene investigator’s photos also showed numerous scratch marks on the McKees’ boat, some of which had blue paint on them, the same colour as the bottom of Lazy Bouy.

The photographs also showed two other RIB boats, one which could seat eight passengers, and the other which was docked at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club.

She described the colour of the McKee boat as grey and yellow. In cross-examination by QC Jerome Lynch, he challenged that description by stating it was mostly a grey boat with a thin yellow trim.

The crime scene investigator admitted she used her flash to take photos of the boats on the early morning of June 2, because “it was very, very dark that night.”

Continuing the cross-examination, Mr Lynch asked if there were any lights of any kind on the McKee’s boat, to which the answer was “no.”

Jurors then heard two of the many calls that were made to 911 on the night of the accident.

The first phone call played was made at 10:46pm on June 1. In it, a woman who sounded panicked, said that a powerboat had gone over the top of another boat and “we have some very serious injuries.”

She said one of the people was “conscious” but they could not account for all three.

After the initial conversation, the next few minutes were of the 911 operator trying to get the woman to speak to her again, calling the woman by name.

The second call played was from 10:48pm. In that call, the man was asked to be transferred to the ambulance services so they could know exactly where to go at Albouy’s Point.

The trial continues.

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