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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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Inquest into Maryport fishing boat tragedy held

The final chapter of the Aquila tragedy unfolded at the English inquest in Workington today.

Coroner David Roberts found that three Maryport fisherman, skipper Tony Hayton, 45, and crewmen Peter Hilton and Martin Sanderson, both 52, died as a result of an accident when their scallop dredger sank off the west coast of Scotland.

Marcus Nickson, the solicitor representing Mr Hilton’s family, said 36 fishing vessels had capsized in the same area since 2001 and there had been 12 lives lost, including the Maryport men.

He asked Mr Roberts to consider in his findings a suggestion that all fishing boats be fitted with automatic release systems, which would prevent capsizes when nets became snagged.

But, Mr Philip James representing Sunderland Marine Insurance, said he did not believe this would be practical.

Mr Roberts said that this suggestion was not made at the original inquiry in Scotland and did not feel qualified to comment now.

The inquest ends almost three years of waiting for the families.

Pauline Lightfoot, partner of Mr Hilton, Julie, wife of skipper Mr Hayton, and Kate, wife of Mr Sanderson, were at the inquest and spoke only to confirm the names and addresses of the three men.

Mr Roberts said his findings were based on the extensive inquiry held in Scotland and the determinations of Sheriff Paul Crozier.

He said that because he was not present at the original inquiry he could not comment on issues raised in the inquiry.

Mr Hayton’s mother, Betty, said: “I am relived it’s all over. It’s been heartbreaking.”

Miss Lightfoot, Mrs Hayton and Mrs Sanderson said they the verdict was what they expected and they could be left in peace now.


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