Australian found negligent in girlfriend's watercraft death

PHUKET, Thailand — A Thai court on Thursday gave a suspended one-year prison sentence to an Australian man whose girlfriend died when their personal watercraft collided at high speed off the southern resort island of Phuket.

Thomas Keating, 22, pleaded guilty at Phuket Provincial Court and was handed a one-year sentence — suspended for two years — for criminal negligence that led to the death last month of fellow Australian Emily Jayne Collie, 20.

The charge specified that "the accused committed the crime without intent but also without care."

Collie was not breathing when rescuers brought her to shore after the crash, and an autopsy found drowning to be the cause of death. Keating was distraught but unharmed, police said.

He was fined 5,000 baht ($145) and was allowed to leave Thailand. He had been barred from leaving the country pending the completion of his trial.

Renting a personal watercraft is popular at many Thai beach resorts. Keating has said he was blinded by sunlight reflecting off the sea when his watercraft crashed into hers.

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