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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 August, 2005, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
Water crash teen fined over death
James Dudley outside court on Wednesday
James Dudley had been warned he could face a custodial sentence
A schoolboy who admitted causing his girlfriend's death in a water bike accident in Cyprus has been fined by a court on the island.

James Dudley, 16, of Colwyn Bay, north Wales, lost control of his water bike, fatally injuring Hannah Sutton, 16, of Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

The teenager admitted causing her death through want of precaution due to recklessness or negligence.

He had heard he might face jail but was fined 1,750 Cypriot pounds (2,113).

After the hearing on Wednesday, his family said he wanted to attend Hannah's funeral on Friday and now faced the "long process" of coming to terms with her death.

The teenager had also pleaded guilty to two further charges relating to riding the jet water-bike at the age of 16, when the minimum age in Cyprus is 18, and doing so without a licence or completing the necessary official forms.

Limassol district court fined Mr Dudley 1,250 CYP over the death and 500 CYP for driving the water bike without a licence.

'Never forgive himself'

Mr Dudley had previously been warned by the court that he could have faced four years in custody.

Two men who allegedly illegally hired out the jet water bikes to the couple, face a trial later in the year.

Hannah Sutton
Hannah Sutton died in hospital of her injuries

Mr Dudley was arrested by Cypriot Police following the accident in the resort of Pissouri on 2 August, in which the schoolboy crashed into a vehicle being driven by Ms Sutton, leaving her with fatal injuries.

During a hearing on Tuesday when Mr Dudley admitted the charges against him, his lawyer told the judge that his client would never forgive himself for ending the life of his girlfriend.

He pleaded for leniency to enable Mr Dudley to leave Cyprus to attend Ms Sutton's funeral, which is due to take place in Dunham Massey, Cheshire, on Friday.

The teenagers both attended the Rydal Penrhos School in Colwyn Bay, north Wales.

Ms Sutton had just finished her GCSEs and was planning to take A-levels at St John's Middle School in Episkopi, Cyprus, where her mother is a teacher.

Picture of Hannah Sutton's father, Stephen Sutton
Stephen Sutton said his family had suffered a great loss

Members of Mr Dudley's family had flown to Cyprus from north Wales to support him during the court case.

His uncle Rhys Williams, who accompanied his mother Janette, said outside the court on Wednesday that his nephew continued to be affected by the consequences of the accident.

He added: "We wanted to bring him home for Hannah's funeral on Friday, but he's now got the long, long process of coming to terms with the death of his friend.

"As he stood up in court and said, he blames himself for this and he has to deal with that.

"We will be taking James home and he'll have a tough time.

"But for Hannah's parents, they have lost Hannah their daughter and that's the real ordeal."

Ms Sutton's parents have said they do not blame Mr Dudley for their daughter's death and have criticised the authorities in Cyprus, saying the accident should never have happened.

James Dudley and his mother
Mr Dudley's mother Janette has supported her son during the case

Her father, Stephen Sutton, said: "What's happened to Hannah, I'm going to deal with that in my own way and in my own time.

"But what I don't want is that to happen to anybody else's child.

"The pain and loss that both Lynne and I are experiencing, no parent should have to go through that."

Mr Dudley and his family plan to leave Cyprus on Wednesday or Thursday to be home in time for Ms Sutton's funeral.

Ms Sutton's family will return to the UK on Thursday on an RAF flight. A memorial service for Ms Sutton, to be attended by Mr Dudley, was due to be held at the British army base in Cyprus on Wednesday afternoon.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear an interview with James Dudley's uncle



SEE ALSO:
Reckless water-bikers face arrest
10 Aug 05 |  Cornwall
Fatal water crash Briton bailed
05 Aug 05 |  Manchester


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