Cornwall

MAIB 'deeply regrets' report distress to MP's family

Neil Murray
Image caption The MAIB report said Mr Murray was well respected by the local fishing community

The chief inspector of Marine Accidents has said he "deeply regrets" any distress a report may have caused to a Cornish MP's family.

Sheryll Murray was upset by details of the injuries sustained by her fisherman husband Neil who died at sea in March when his clothing got caught in a net.

She said the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) had agreed to leave out certain details.

The MAIB said it would now amend "appropriate sections" of the report.

The report detailed the multiple injuries to 57-year-old Mr Murray when his hood toggle became entangled in fishing net pulling him on to a rotating drum which hauled the net up and down.

Mrs Murray, the Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, accused the MAIB of behaving "irresponsibly" after wording regarding her husband's injuries had been agreed in order to minimise the distress to her children.

She said the original wording used in the report made the accident "more sensational".

Mr Murray's body was found on board his boat, Our Boy Andrew, about 25 miles (40km) south of Fowey in March after an extensive search.

Following the accident, his widow - elected as a Conservative MP in 2010 - said her husband had died "doing what he loved" and at his funeral the coffin was carried into church by members of the RNLI.

The fatal accident report described Mr Murray as an experienced fisherman who was well respected in the local fishing community and was known for his positive attitude towards safety.

However, it said the equipment and process used on his vessel to haul in fishing gear compromised the safety for a lone fisherman because it was necessary to manually feed the net onto the drum.

Image caption Neil Murray's body was found on board his boat after an extensive search

Responding to Mrs Murray's concerns about the report, Capt Steve Clinch confirmed the MAIB had liaised with Mrs Murray and took her views on the draft report into consideration.

"It is now evident that we did not properly understand Mrs Murray's concerns on how we drafted the report, and I deeply regret any distress caused to Mrs Murray and her family," he said in a statement.

"We take the views of the next of kin during any investigation very seriously, and the appropriate sections of the Our Boy Andrew report are now being amended."

Capt Clinch said the MAIB would consult with Mrs Murray further before its report was published on its website.

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