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Parents of 14-year-old girl call for tougher regulations after speedboat death

Emily drowned after being trapped underwater for 25 minutes. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

The parents of a 14-year-old girl who drowned after her buoyancy aid snagged on a speedboat as it capsized have called for tougher safety regulations.

Emily Gardner, 14, from Gloucester, was pulled unconscious from the water near Brixham Harbour by lifeboat crews after being trapped underwater for 25 minutes.

She had been taken on the 16ft vessel by Paul Pritchard - the father of her 15-year-old best friend Holly - in the south Devon fishing town in May last year.

Following a two-day hearing, a jury found Emily died because the webbing strap of her ill-fitting buoyancy aid became entangled in the cleat.

The inquest also heard she was wearing an extra-small wetsuit but had been allocated an extra-large buoyancy aid, which was not a life jacket, to fit a chest of 45-50in.

Her family are now campaigning for 'Emily's Law' calling for tighter restrictions to be brought in. Credit: Slater and Gordon/PA Wire

Emily's mother Deborah and father Clive have vowed to campaign for the introduction of Emily's Law to improve safety standards.

"It is something no parent should ever encounter," Mrs Gardner said.

"We are devastated at the loss of our beautiful daughter in such tragic circumstances that could have possibly been avoided had there been more safety precautions in place.

"It is very frustrating that we have experience of losing our daughter and that there are no laws."

The inquest, in front of a jury, is expected to conclude on Wednesday.