Boyfriend in court over jetski death

Last updated at 16:48 03 August 2005


A British teenager appeared in handcuffs in a Cyprus courtroom today over the death of his girlfriend in a holiday jetski accident.

James Dudley, 17, appeared to lose control of his jetski and crash into the machine ridden by 16-year-old Hannah Sutton as her mother watched helplessly from the shore.

An ambulance was called to the beach at Pissouri and the pair were taken to Limassol General Hospital, 15 miles away.

Dudley suffered only shock and minor injuries but doctors could not save the girl's life.

The teenager, looking "shocked and bemused", appeared before magistrates at Limassol District Court this morning.

He was flanked by two local men, aged 29 and 45, who run a jetski hire firm, after police issued arrest warrants for the three following the

accident at 2pm local time yesterday.

Police applied for the three to be remanded in custody for two days, after the 24 hour arrest warrant expires.

Magistrates will make a decision tomorrow morning when the court reconvenes at 9am local time (7am BST).

Meanwhile Dudley is being held in cells at Limassol Police Headquarters. His mother flew out to be with him last night.

Hannah had just finished her GCSE exams at the private Rydal Penrhos School in Colwyn Bay, North Wales.

She had travelled with Dudley to visit her mother, Lynn, who teaches at St John's Middle School at Episkopi, a school for the children of British military personnel based on the island.

Hannah had planned to do her A-levels at her mother's school.

Mrs Sutton, who has lived in Cyprus for the past seven years, is estranged from Hannah's father, Stephen Sutton, from Cheshire.

Mr Sutton, who is not a serviceman, this afternoon flew to Cyprus in an RAF plane and was reunited with his wife. With him is the couple's other two children, William, aged 11 and Daniel, 14. Hannah's grandmother, Sheila Cardwell, is also with them.

Hannah and her boyfriend were enjoying a day out yesterday at the packed beach when the tragedy happened.

Along with the two arrested Cypriots, Dudley could face charges of criminal negligence.

Detectives are trying to find out if jetski operators had hired out the vehicles illegally, since the pair were under the legal age of 18 to drive them.

Jetskis can reach up to 45mph and can be hired for around £25 for 15 minutes. Users must stay outside an area from the shore marked by yellow

buoys.

The operators are supposed to watch from the shore and drivers are warned not to get within 20 yards of another machine.

Dennis Barnes, spokesman for British forces in Cyprus, said Mrs Sutton had been comforted by the family liaison officer and the padre before her family arrives.

"This is apparently a tragic accident and our thoughts go out to the family," he said. "She is obviously very, very distraught."

'Talented girl'

Hannah's head teacher at the school where she was a boarding pupil, today paid tribute to the youngster.

Michael James said: "Hannah was a very popular girl with her peers and a highly valued member of the school.

"She was a talented girl and a good all-rounder, taking part in music, drama and sport, as well as her academic work.

"She had just taken her GCSEs and we were anticipating a good set of results. She had a wonderful future ahead of her and we are absolutely devastated."

At the Sheffield home of Hannah's grandmother this afternoon, no one was available for comment.

All the blinds in the front windows of the bungalow were shut and there was no sign of anyone at home.

A note pinned to the front door, read: "For the attention of the press. Please note no comment can be made pertaining to the tragic incident of 2nd August. Please contact the Army Liaison (welfare) officer of Episkopi Army Base (Cyprus) should you require further info.

"No official press release has yet been made by the parents of the deceased. Thank you."

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