South Scotland

Sailor 'sorry' for causing death of teenage fisherman Daniel McNeil


An Italian sailor is "profoundly sorry" for causing the death of a 16-year-old fisherman, a court has been told.

Pasquale Miccio, 48, was in charge of the Scottish Viking ferry when it collided with the prawn fishing boat Homeland off the Borders coast in 2010.

He previously pleaded guilty to failing to change the ship's course to avoid the collision which resulted in the death of Daniel McNeil from Tynemouth.

On Wednesday, Miccio's lawyer asked that he be spared a jail term.

Miccio, of Sorrento in south west Italy, was originally charged with culpable homicide.

Image caption Miccio will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday

The High Court in Glasgow heard that he failed to change course despite warnings from his crew about the proximity of the fishing vessel before the two collided at St Abbs Head, off the Berwickshire coast.

After the collision, Daniel McNeil and his brother Joseph climbed onto the roof of their boat but it sank before they had time to put life jackets on.

Joseph, the boat's skipper, was rescued from the water by the crew of a passing trawler but Daniel drowned.

His body was found three months later and he was identified by his distinctive trainers.

'Remorse and sadness'

Miccio, a first offender, pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow last month but sentencing was adjourned to Edinburgh so the court could obtain reports about his character.

On Wednesday, Miccio's defence advocate Dorothy Bain QC urged judge Lord Bannatyne not to jail her client.

She said: "He has profoundly and genuinely expressed remorse for what he has done.

"He is struggling to come to terms with what has happened. It is difficult to convey the level of remorse and sadness that he feels as a consequence of his actions."

She added: "He realises that he has caused the loss of the life of a 16-year-old boy who had his entire life in front of him."

Lord Bannatyne told the McNeil family, who were sitting in court, that the case was a complicated matter and he wanted time to consider what he should do.

The maximum prison term which can be imposed on Miccio is two years.

He is due to be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday.

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