Covid breach jet-skier freed from Isle of Man jail

Covid breach jet-skier freed from Isle of Man jail

A man who rode from Scotland to the Isle of Man by jet ski to see his girlfriend has left the island by ferry upon his release from jail.

Dale McLaughlan made the four-and-a-half hour crossing from the Isle of Whithorn to Ramsey on 11 December.

He then walked another 15 miles (25km) to his girlfriend’s home in Douglas.

The 28-year-old – who served part of a four-week sentence for the Covid-19 border control breach – told the BBC he was “happy to be going home”.

Under current Isle of Man coronavirus laws McLaughlan, from Irvine in North Ayrshire, was required to leave the island after his release or face further prosecution.

Speaking to Isle of Man Newspapers, his girlfriend Jessica Radcliffe said: “I don’t understand why he’s been told to leave when he’s isolated for two weeks before he came over with a negative test.

“He had a negative test in jail, he didn’t put any of the public at risk, and he’s done isolation in jail.

“That’s four weeks already, so why does he need to leave the island? To punish him this much, they shouldn’t be doing that.”

McLaughlan was arrested two days after his arrival, having spent time mixing with people in two busy nightclubs, his court case heard.

Douglas Courthouse heard it was the first time he had used a jet ski.

Only non-residents given special permission are currently allowed to enter the island.

McLaughlan’s defence advocate said he suffered from depression and was not coping with being unable to see his partner.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle said the sentence sent “a strong signal” to potential lawbreakers.

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