Initially treated as a murder, the charge was reduced to manslaughter:
Michael Bowditch, of Prestedge Avenue, Ramsgate, denied murdering Becky Morgan, 17, during a previous court appearance.
But he changed his plea to guilty to manslaughter before his trial was due to start at Maidstone Crown Court today.
Now, there is no question here that he wasn’t being charged due to his actions, but due to his inaction:
In the early hours of May 1 they were at the harbour arm in Ramsgate.
At some stage the teenager went into the sea and drowned. Her body was recovered two-and-a-half miles away at 7.47am.
Bowditch entered a plea to manslaughter on the basis he could not say how Becky came to fall in the sea, but failed to take any action to help her.
This is made explicit by the prosecution:
“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,” said Mr Taylor.
Now, there’s no doubt that he’s a deeply unpleasant human being, but the outpouring of scorn seems to have obscured the fact that this verdict would appear to set a rather dangerous precedent.
Or am I being alarmist?