Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Cheeki Rafiki yacht deaths: Douglas Innes denies manslaughter

James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren, Paul Goslin Image copyright Other
Image caption James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin all died

A company director has denied the manslaughter of four yachting crew members who were killed when their vessel capsized in the North Atlantic.

James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin died when the 40ft (12m) Cheeki Rafiki got into trouble on the way home from Antigua in May 2014.

Douglas Innes is the boss of Stormforce Coaching Limited, the company that managed the Cheeki Rafiki.

He pleaded not guilty to four counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Douglas Innes is charged with four counts of gross negligence manslaughter
Image copyright US Navy/Reuters
Image caption A report said the Cheeki Rafiki capsized "following a detachment of its keel"

Mr Innes, 41, of Whitworth Crescent, Southampton, and his company Stormforce Coaching also denied a charge of failing to ensure the vessel was operated in a safe manner.

The judge at Winchester Crown Court, Mr Justice Dingemans, adjourned the case with a trial date set for 6 June.

The four crew died after the yacht lost its keel more than 700 miles from Nova Scotia in Canada.

The men were returning from Antigua Sailing Week to Southampton when they capsized.

The yacht started taking on water and contact was lost. It was found days later with its life raft still on board.

The US Coastguard was criticised for calling off its search after two days but after protests from family and friends, and intervention by the British government, the search was restarted and the boat was found.

Following an earlier court hearing, relatives of the crew released a statement which said their lives had been "shattered and changed forever" by the tragedy.

The men were skipper Mr Bridge, 22, from Farnham in Surrey, Mr Male, 22, from Romsey, Hampshire, Mr Warren, 52, from Bridgwater in Somerset and Mr Goslin, 56, from West Camel in Somerset.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites