Boat captain gets over seven years for causing fatal crash

| 18/01/2023 | 32 Comments
Cayman News Service
Boat damaged in fatal crash in August 2019

(CNS): Sean Michael McDonald (39) was remanded in custody Wednesday to begin serving a prison sentence of seven years and one month for causing the death of Manuel “Manny” Brown (49), a former police officer from George Town, and his business partner, John Turner (70), a UK national living in Cayman, and endangering the life of Shamilla Wright, who was badly injured in a fatal nighttime boat collision on the North Sound in August 2019.

As Justice Cheryll Richards handed down the sentence, she explained the sentencing guidelines and how she had arrived at the jail term and said McDonald’s offending was serious and had tragic consequences for all involved. McDonald had been “grossly negligent” and must now face up to his part in causing the crash, which he had made a choice to do and had no one to blame but himself

“Given all of the circumstances, he showed a blatant disregard for the very high risk of death… and failed to keep a proper lookout,” the judge said, as she reflected on the speed that McDonald was driving the Pepper Jelly that day.

She noted that at the time of the collision night had fallen and McDonald, despite the conditions and the amount of boat traffic around, had accelerated as he headed towards the canal by Harbour House Marine. He then collided with and ran over the Godfrey Hurricane, which was being captained by Brown, killing him and Turner and seriously injuring Wright.

However, the judge also accepted that McDonald was “deeply and genuinely remorseful” and had suffered significant emotional trauma over what had happened.

After Justice Richards handed down the term of seven years and one month and before McDonald was taken into custody, he made an emotional apology to the relatives of the victims, repeatedly saying he was sorry. He said he “would do anything to take it back” or to trade places with their loved ones.


Share your vote!


How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , ,

Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (32)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    This case shows you that Cayman values money and the financial industry far more than two lives – people get more jail time here for property and financial crimes than they do for manslaughter. It’s an absolute travesty and this guy has NO remorse it is a show for the court. I cannot wait for the civil trials to really bring out the truth of what this man did and who he really is.

    18
    4
    • Anonymous says:

      What Property and Financial crimes are being prosecuted? Not many. That’s why we’re on the black list.

      4
      2
  2. Anonymous says:

    He’ll be out in 18-months and back on his new boat. . .just wait and see.

    20
    1
  3. Anonymous says:

    How many years ago now did ex-MP Ezzard Miller call for controls on operations of private boats in the NS and Rum Point areas????

    35
    3
  4. Anonymous says:

    Emmanuel was his name

    9
    3
  5. Anonymous says:

    This hopeless human being killed two decent men and seriously injured a sweet woman. I was one of the last people to see Manny and John alive at Starfish Point on the evening of this tragedy. Sadly, I also witnessed the this criminally negligent boat captain and his partying crew at Kaibo Bar a couple of hours later. All of those who disembarked from Pepper Jelly were beyond drunk and totally out of control, including those who claimed to be in control of the party and boat. But Cayman doesn’t have effective boating drink laws and these people were fully entitled to board the boat and cause death and destruction on the North Sound.
    This wasn’t just someone ‘messing up’ this was criminal negligence, a deliberate, irresponsible act that led to tragedy, and it wasn’t the first time this crew had indulged in drunken, drug induced mayhem, it was almost a daily occurrence.
    I hope my statement to police helped put this idiot in prison, sadly not for long enough. Those wonderful people didn’t deserve to die or be seriously injured that night, but they do deserve real justice and there should be an immediate appeal to increase this derisory sentence. In addition, the CI government need to get a back bone and bring in laws that make it too expensive to be drunk or high whilst boating. This must stop, no more preventable deaths.

    69
    2
  6. Anonymous says:

    This man has been carelessly and recklessly operating the “Pepper Jelly” for years. Driving with no lights on at night. Driving while intoxicated, and fast! It was only a matter of time before he injured someone or took someone’s life, unfortunately, like in this case. Very sad. He should feel sorry and he deserves every year he got and more.

    41
    2
  7. Anonymous says:

    Elsewhere accidental manslaughter is 10 years x 3 = 30 years. He’s being sentenced less than the drug mules with 4 keys. Cost of life in Cayman pretty cheap as justice goes.

    40
    3
  8. Anonymous says:

    Was Sean drunk and speeding? Probably, but no one is mentioning that the boat he hit wasn’t properly lit. You’re taking your life in your hands going out to sea at night with out proper navigation lights. Sean is not completely at fault here.

    8
    40
    • Anonymous says:

      You obviously didn’t listen to the trial – there is video footage clearly showing that Mannys boat had his lights on as pepper jelly approaches at a high speed and demolishes his boat.

      22
      3
      • Anonymous says:

        Red and green navigation lights or just a white light which would blend into the background lights?

        2
        8
        • Anonymous says:

          Boats at anchor only need a standing white light so it wouldn’t change anything. There isn’t a scenario where the victims are to blame for someone going faster than they could safely navigate. Then he fled the scene!

  9. Anonymous says:

    many ppl..including rich go rum point get drunk and drive boats home at mach 1….where are the enforcers? actually driving boats drunk are just as dangerous as cars…inevitably…i hope this does not happen again…but nothing being done to curb these incidents?definition of madness…doing same thing over y over expecting different results!

    39
    4
  10. Anonymous says:

    Much more enforcement and patrols need to go on, As this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many boats being operated while drunk and high on God knows what. Many boats with no nav lights or partially lit. and countless without basic proper safety gear.

    44
    4
  11. WBW Czar. says:

    I am not certain that this whole sham will stand on appeal. Alot of the evidence seems rather flimsy.

    5
    46
    • Anonymous says:

      WBW Czar, You must be another spoiled brat that has no sympathy for the two killed and one maimed.

      22
      3
    • Anonymous says:

      How is two people being dead and 1 person being seriously injured a “sham”? Are you saying he did not run over a small boat with 3 people in it while speeding in the dark? The evidence certainly proves that. Please explain.

      27
      2
    • Anonymous says:

      Evidence is overwhelming.

      23
      2
  12. Anonymous says:

    We all F*up. But he should not have left the scene and should have stayed and helped the victims if he could…not run away as instinct may tell some of us.
    This is horrible for all but what really needs to happen is for the government to control drinking and boating and look for drunk boaters on the water.
    I do not know Sean but I bet he was drunk. It’s not an excuse but if sober he would never have done this I am quite confident in saying…none of us would.
    I knew the two men who died but not the woman who has been hurt forever. I feel for them and their families.
    Stop getting drunk and driving a boat.

    43
    3
  13. Anonymous says:

    He’s been free this whole time and allowed to self-medicate with alcohol?? Why should him drinking reduce his sentence? What he did was horrific. If a jury saw evidence and pictures of what he did they’d put him away for much longer. How did he get a judge only trial? He should feel bad and should serve the full allowed sentence. End of story.

    40
    1
  14. A bit concerned says:

    Nope. This doesn’t work.

    17
    1
  15. Anonymous says:

    out in just over 3 years, damn, life really is cheap. disgraceful sentence and the only genuine sorrow shown is for himself. disgusting individual.

    37
    2
    • Anonymous says:

      Based on your judgment of his remorse, sounds like you know this individual personally with first hand knowledge of how he feels.

      2
      8
    • Anonymous says:

      Possessing a gun and/or ammo, and not shooting anyone, is 10 years. What are our values Cayman? This mostly unrepentant leaving the scene turd killed 2 and permanently injured another and gets less time than some of the first time drug mules.

      18
      1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.