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Yachting firm boss convicted of failing to ensure Cheeky Rafiki safety

A yachting company boss has been found guilty of failing to ensure the safety of the Cheeki Rafiki yacht in which four sailors - two of whom from Somerset - were killed when it capsized mid-Atlantic.

A jury at Winchester Crown Court convicted Douglas Innes, of Whitworth Crescent, Southampton, for failing to operate the yacht in a safe manner.

His company, Stormforce Coaching Limited, was also convicted of failing to operate the yacht in a safe manner contrary to section 100 Merchant Shipping Act.

The jury are still considering manslaughter charges concerning the four crew members. James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren from Bridgwater and Paul Goslin from West Camel all lost their lives when the Cheeki Rafiki overturned in the North Atlantic in May 2014.


Man jailed after fatal drink driving crash

Lee Stoodley, 33, of Gielgud Close, Burnham-on-Sea. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A man has been jailed for 11 years after he had a fatal crash while drink driving.

Lee Stoodley, 33, of Gielgud Close, Burnham-on-Sea, crashed his BMW into a tree at a roundabout on the A38 Bristol Road at Dunball, on December 20th 2015.

His two back seat passengers suffered serious injuries and one of them, Lewis Rogers, 24, died at the scene.

Stoodley was sentenced after being convicted of causing death by careless driving whilst over the prescribed alcohol limit.

A second man, Christopher Hampton, 31, has previously admitted drink driving and aiding and abetting Stoodley drink driving. He is due to be sentenced on April 20.

PC Andy Grigg said:“Our thoughts remain with all of the families involved in this tragedy.

"Lewis’ family have had to not only endure losing a son and friend but also had to wait over a year for justice.

“Stoodley got behind the wheel of the car knowing he had consumed excess alcohol.

“He then drove recklessly, endangering those in his vehicle and other members of the public.

“I hope this acts as a stark warning to anyone thinking about driving after consuming alcohol – that decision can take a life.”

Stoodley was also banned from driving for 10 and a half years.

Police appeal for missing 22-year-old

Luke Rice, 22 Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Avon and Somerset Police are appealing for the public's help in locating a missing man.

Luke Rice, 22, was last seen at Sainsbury's in Bridgwater at 3pm on February 14.

He is described as white, 5ft 11ins tall, of a thin build and has long brown hair.

He was last seen wearing grey jogging bottoms, a black t-shirt with a white logo, black zip up jumper and black shoes.

If you see Luke, please don't approach him just call 101 and quote reference number 5217035307.


Police appeal for witnesses to serious sexual assault of woman in Bridgwater

Police are appealing for witnesses after a serious sexual assault in Bridgwater. Credit: PA Images

Police are appealing for witnesses after a serious sexual assault in Bridgwater on Friday night.

The incident took place shortly before midnight close to a block of garages off Silver Street.

A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and has since been released on bail.

Detective Nick Riley from Avon & Somerset Police said:

We would like to speak to anyone who might have information on this incident but, specifically, a woman who was walking along Silver Street close to the time of the incident.

It is possible people in the area didn’t realise the significance of what they might have seen. Any information, no matter how minor it may appear, could be crucial to our investigation.

Anyone with information should call us now on 101 and quote crime reference number 5216279416.

– Det. Nick Riley, Avon & Somerset
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