A man who was jailed for crossing the Irish Sea on a jet ski to be with his girlfriend on the Isle of Man has been released after spending half of his 28-day sentence.
28-year-old Dale McLaughlan from Scotland met his girlfriend, Jessica Radcliffe, while legally working on the island as a roofer for four weeks in September.
However, his subsequent applications to return to the island had been rejected, prompting him to save up to buy a jet ski and tow it 70 miles from his home in Irvine, North Ayrshire to a beach on the Isle of Whithorn on the day of his crossing.
He initially expected the trip to take 40 minutes, but bad weather left him at sea for four and a half hours.
After landing at the island, he walked another 15 minutes to his girlfriend’s home in Douglas, and used her address as his own the next day.
The two went to two nightclubs together after his arrival, as Radcliffe thought McLaughlan had been in the island for several weeks.
“I’m overjoyed to be out,” said McLaughlan.
“I’m just on the ferry home and I’m so happy to be coming home and coming home for Christmas.”
McLaughlan was not able to see Radcliffe before leaving the island, as she is currently self-isolation at home.
“I meant it when i said i’d marry him if he asked me,” she said in an interview.
“Anyone who is prepared to cross an ocean to see you has got to be serious.”
“I couldn’t face him spending Christmas in a police cell, so reluctantly we agreed the best thing would be for him to go home to Scotland for now, but we’re definitely going to get together again as soon as we legally can,” she added.
Radcliffe had contacted a lawyer to help McLaughlan apply for permission to return to the island.