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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 23:45 GMT 00:45 UK
Long sentences for Blake murder
Blake with Americas Cup
Sir Peter was one of the most successful yachtsmen
A judge in northern Brazil has sentenced six men to over 20 years in prison each for the killing of New Zealand yachtsman Sir Peter Blake.

Amapa state judge Jose Magno Linhares Moraes also gave three other men suspended sentences for their part in Sir Peter's death during a robbery attempt.

Sir Peter Blake's yacht Seamaster
Seamaster moored at the mouth of the Amazon
The yachtsman was attacked in December 2001 on the Amazon river near Macapa, 2,500 km (1,800 miles) northwest of Rio de Janeiro.

Sir Peter, who led New Zealand to America's Cup victories in 1995 and 2000, was on an expedition to monitor global warming and pollution for the United Nations.

The man who fired the actual fatal shots, Ricardo Colares Tavares, received a sentence of 36 years and nine months, but, in accordance with Brazilian law, will in reality serve no more than 30.

Five others received sentences ranging from 35 years to 26 years.

Knight and UN envoy

According to court documents, six men wearing hoods or motorcycle helmets boarded Sir Peter's boat around 2100 on 5 December and announced they were robbing it.

Map of Brazilian Amazon
Sir Peter, 53, took a gun from the cabin and opened fire, wounding one of the robbers before being shot by Tavares. The robbers then fled.

In 2001, the yachtsman was named special envoy for the UN Environment Programme.

He and his 10-strong crew had been returning from a two-month stay in the upper reaches of the Amazon and Rio Negro rivers at the time of the robbery.

He was buried in Hampshire in England, where he had lived since the 1970s, being knighted in 1995.


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Yachting legend killed

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