Kent

Becky Morgan: Man jailed for not helping drowning teenager

Becky Anne Morgan Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption The body of 17-year-old Becky Morgan from Ramsgate was recovered after two hours in the water

A man has been jailed for killing a 17-year-old woman by not helping her when she fell into the sea.

Becky Morgan fell in the water at the Port of Ramsgate on 1 May after a party. Michael Bowditch went clubbing after watching her die.

Bowditch, 21, had denied murder but admitted manslaughter by gross negligence.

He was given a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence at Maidstone Crown Court.

Bowditch, of Prestedge Avenue, Ramsgate, and Miss Morgan had met at a birthday party before going to the harbour arm in Ramsgate, the court heard.

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Simon Taylor for the prosecution told the hearing: "Mr Bowditch accepts that although he cannot say exactly how Becky Morgan came to fall into the sea, once she fell in he failed to take any steps to try to assist her.

"It is the failure to take any steps to prevent Miss Morgan's death after she fell into the sea which forms the basis of his culpability for manslaughter."

'Left her to drown'

Sentencing Bowditch, Judge Jeremy Carey said: "You did not try in any way to help a drowning girl - not by throwing her a life buoy, not by going to her aid as some would have done, not by calling for help, not by contacting the rescue or emergency services.

"In other words, you left her to drown."

Bowditch had been due to stand trial this week after denying murdering the college student, but an admission of manslaughter was accepted by Judge Carey.

Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Michael Bowditch called police hours later to say he had "seen someone die"

The court heard when the pair went to the harbour, Bowditch was drunk and had taken cocaine and cannabis. Miss Morgan was not drunk, toxicology reports showed.

Bowditch told police they had been "mucking about" and he believed she ended up in the water sometime between 02:05 and 02:40 BST.

The court heard Miss Morgan had asked for help and told Bowditch she could not swim. He said he was unable to help.

The prosecution lawyer said: "He did not just walk away and leave Miss Morgan to perish but remained and watched her drown."

Bowditch was seen dancing in a bar at around 02:50, more than two hours before he called police.

A Kent Police spokesman said: "He appeared very drunk and was trying to chat up girls. He was thrown out by door staff 20 minutes later."

'Cold and frightened'

When Bowditch returned home he called police at 05:01 and said: "I've seen someone die tonight."

Miss Morgan's body was recovered from the sea at Broadstairs just after 07:45, Kent Police said.

In a statement to the court, her mother Lee-Ann Bevan said: "She was smart, mature, independent and funny. I feel like something bright has died in my life.

"I'll spend my whole life not knowing what happened," she said.

"All I can think about is her being alone in the dark and cold and frightened.

"I can only think she would have been asking for me," Ms Bevan said.

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