Tyne & Wear

Love rival set millionaire's £450k yacht adrift on River Tyne

Yacht Coco Image copyright PA
Image caption David Taylor saw his girlfriend Hannah Brookes, 26, with Michael Hay on the yacht Coco

A "jealous" love rival set a millionaire's £450,000 yacht adrift on the River Tyne, having seen his girlfriend on board, a court heard.

David Taylor, 54, saw 26-year-old Hannah Brookes with Michael Hay, 58, on his 60ft (18m) boat Coco.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he then cut mooring ropes tethering the vessel to the city's Quayside in November 2016.

Taylor admitted criminal damage and was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months.

The court was told Taylor, from Trimdon Grange, County Durham, also cut loose another boat owned by Mr Hay, called Vortex.

Mr Hay, a married father-of-two, was forced to call the fire brigade, the coastguard and the police to help get them to safety. He denied he was having an affair with Ms Brookes.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court that earlier in the same evening Taylor and Ms Brookes had been on a date at a pub.

However, a row started and Ms Brookes left, only for Taylor to spot her car near to Mr Hay's boat.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Michael Hay managed to get the engine of the yacht started after it was set adrift

The pair saw him looking through a window as he stood on the pontoon and shortly after they realised they were drifting away from the shore.

Mr Hay then saw Taylor next to his other boat and that too began to drift away.

The court heard Mr Hay was able to start the engine on Coco and with the help of two police officers secure it to a jetty.

However, the second boat Vortex began to float down the river, crashing into other vessels before being stopped by emergency services.

Mr Pallister said almost £12,000 damage was caused to Vortex and £1,500 to Coco.

Amos Waldman, defending, said Taylor had mental health problems and was currently unemployed.

Judge Robert Adams said Taylor's actions had been "completely inappropriate".

Taylor was also ordered to complete 200 hours unpaid work and pay £3,000 in compensation.

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