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Tuesday, 10 December, 2002, 14:10 GMT
Yachtsman was 'unlawfully killed'
Blake with Americas Cup
Sir Peter was a highly successful yachtsman
An inquest into the death of a round-the-world yachtsman shot by pirates in the Amazon has recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

New Zealander Sir Peter Blake, who won the 1989 Whitbread Round the World race and the 2000 Americas Cup, was shot by pirates raiding his 119-foot boat Seamaster in Brazil.

The 53-year-old sailor, who lived at Western Parade, Emsworth, Hampshire, was leading a United Nations project to investigate global warming when he was killed.

Recording his verdict, deputy coroner for Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Peter Latham praised Sir Peter's bravery.

On that night he showed outstanding bravery in trying to protect his colleagues and the ship.

deputy coroner Peter Latham
He said: "He had been a world-famous yachtsman braving high seas over many years.

"He was well-loved and known in Hampshire where his English family still lives.

"On that night he showed outstanding bravery in trying to protect his colleagues and the ship in what must have been for everyone terrifying circumstances. He was a great man."

Six Brazilian men were jailed in June, 2002, for the attack.

Sir Peter Blake's yacht Seamaster
Seamaster moored at the mouth of the Amazon

The man who fired the fatal shot, Ricardo Colares Tavares, was jailed for 37 years.

Crewman Robin Allen, 20, from Adsdean, Chichester, West Sussex, gave his account of the yachtsman's death at Portsmouth magistrates' court on Tuesday.

He said, when the pirates boarded their vessel on December 5, 2001, he made for the safety of the crow's nest.

He waited until the raiders were out of sight before climbing down.

Fatal shot

He said: "I saw some blood on the deck. I did not want to believe it at first.

"I thought they had been firing blanks at first, or something, trying to believe it was not for real."

He then went to the pilot house where he found Sir Peter lying with three or four people around him trying to resuscitate him.

Mr Allen went ashore to try to speed up the help before going back only to be told that Sir Peter was dead.

The court heard a police report into the incident which told how Sir Peter was shot twice in the shoulder by Tavares, an injury which was to prove fatal.


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BBC Sport Online pays tribute to sailing legend Sir Peter Blake

Yachting legend killed

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