A St Mary’s man involved in a fatal boat crash has told a court how sorry he is that a man was killed.

Philip Colver is is charged with the manslaughter of 31-year-old Benjamin Cochrane, from St Mawes.

“It’s something I think about every day - every morning and every night - and I want to express how sorry I am to his friends and family that he lost his life in the accident,” he told Truro Crown Court.

Colver, 32, was driving the speedboat Carrie Kate when it was in collision with a fishing boat driven by Mr Cochrane off St Mawes at about 10pm on July 16 2005.

He denies manslaughter and one charge of causing grievous bodily harm to one of Mr Cochrane’s passengers, his brother Frazer.

Earlier judge Mr Justice Owen directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict on the charge of committing grievous bodily harm against another passenger, Chay Richardson.

He said Mr Richardson’s injuries were not thought to be serious enough to warrant the charge.

Both helsman had been drinking before the crash. Mr Cochrane’s boat did not have navigational lights fitted and the Carrie Kate did not have her lights switched on.

Colver told Paul Dunkels QC, defending, that he could not explain why he had not switched on the lights. ‘Maybe an absence of mind, possibly I didn’t think it was that dark.”

He said he would not disagree with an expert witness who had deduced from a breathalyser test that he had consumed about 10 pints of beer during the day.

The defence team argue that the Carrie Kate was travelling at approximately 25 knots (29mph). Colver said he accepted that he had been driving too fast.

He also agreed with Prosecutor Philip Mott QC that the combination of going out where there are no lanes, without any lights and having drunk too much alcohol was ?stupid’.

Character witness Kevin Pender, an ex-St Mary’s publican, told the court Colver was a “thoughtful and intelligent” man who raises money for charity.

He said Colver had been a great help to him and his family when he lost an eye in an accident while working on a pleasure boat.

Colver would drive from Falmouth to Penzance to pick up Mr Pender’s children and take them to visit their father in hospital in Plymouth, he said.

The trial continues.