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Justice for Charlie Metcalf, of Plummer Lane, Tenterden, over death of wife Gillian in boat accident on Rio Negro, Brazil

The husband of a lawyer killed in a boating accident while on a family holiday in Brazil says he finally feels he has got justice.

Charlie Metcalf was speaking after a judge in Manaus indicated that he would convict two boat pilots of the equivalent of manslaughter and that they would be jailed.

Mr Metcalf, of Plummer Lane, Tenterden, his wife Gillian and their daughters Alice and Natasha were on a boat on the Rio Negro which crashed with another vessel in September, 2013.

Gillian Metcalf, with daughters Natasha, Alice and husband Charlie by the Iguazu falls on their holiday in Brazil
Gillian Metcalf, with daughters Natasha, Alice and husband Charlie by the Iguazu falls on their holiday in Brazil

He returned to Manaus with Alice this week for the conclusion of the boat pilots’ trial.

“I feel we have got justice for Gill, which is what we wanted,” he said. “Nothing will bring Gill back but it will help us to deal with things.

“We are delighted that the trial has finished, as that was in doubt until the last minute, and are happy with the verdict.

“But we are disappointed that neither of the boat pilots showed any remorse. They could have shown some remorse without admitting their guilt.

“The verdict is the right one – it is lovely to wake up and think that after all this time it is behind us.”

Charlie Metcalf with wife Gillian, taken shortly before she was killed in a boat accident
Charlie Metcalf with wife Gillian, taken shortly before she was killed in a boat accident

Mr Metcalf said that neither of the boatmen – Raimundo Nonato Lima and Mailson Gomes – had been credible witnesses.

“There were inconsistencies in their evidence,” he said. “One said it had been impossible for him to look left and the other said it had been up to our pilot to give way, so he had carried on regardless. There was a degree of macho behaviour.”

He and Alice gave their evidence at a hearing earlier in the year.

Charlie Metcalf with daughters Alice and Natasha
Charlie Metcalf with daughters Alice and Natasha

The trial concluded yesterday with the judge saying he would officially announce his verdict in 10 days to two weeks.

He then called the Metcalfs to indicate that he considered the pilots guilty of manslaughter, which would carry a jail term of between one and three years.

The judge also went on television and said the same thing.

Mr Metcalf added: “It seems a strange legal system but we are used to it now – the judge has complete autonomy here.”

At the time of the accident, the Metcalfs were on the Rio Negro on their way to the hotel Juma Jungle Lodge in Rio Preto da Eva. They were just days into a 12-day tour of the South American country.

Mrs Metcalf, 50, had been a partner at Sharratts affordable housing law firm, based in Brasted, since 1999.


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