Police charge driver in 2011 Kuredu quad-bike crash that killed British newlyweds

Police have forwarded a case against the driver of a quad-bike that crashed and killed two passengers on Kuredu Island Resort to the Prosecutor General (PG)’s office.

The recently-married British couple from West Yorkshire, Emma and Jonathan Gray, were riding on the quad-bike as passengers when it collided with a tree around 4:00am on August 6, 2011. The pair had been married for just seven days and had a six-month old son, Jake.

Police subsequently identified the driver as 23 year-old Swedish national Filip Eugen Petre, the son of a shareholder of the company that operates the resort, who was employed by the company as a trainee guest relations officer.

Petre, who was injured in the crash, was charged under section 88 (d) of the penal code, Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News today. He confirmed that Petre was in the Maldives and was free to move about, “although his passport has been retained.”

The section cited broadly refers to “Disobedience to order authorised by Sharia or law”. Article (d) reads that “Where such disobedience resulted in the death of a person the offender shall be subjected to punishment described by Islamic Law.”

UK media reporting the charges have noted that the maximum extent of these punishments include the death penalty, however while this sentence is still given by the courts it is usually commuted to up to 25 years imprisonment and was last implemented in 1953: Hakim Didi, by firing squad, on charges of practicing black magic.

Several MPs in parliament, including Jumhoree Party (JP) MP Ibrahim Muthalib and Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Rasheed have previously submitted amendments to the relevant Clemency Act demanding that such sentences be carried out if upheld at Supreme Court level, however they have not been passed.

The prospect of Petre facing such a penalty was “shocking. It’s absolutely horrendous,” Jonathan’s mother Cath Davies told the Halifax Courier.

“We never expected there to be an outcome like this. It’s good they have dealt with it. It’s great they have investigated it properly. But I wouldn’t want it to be carried out. It’s not going to bring Jay and Emma back. It’s not going to make us feel any better. It doesn’t seem right. I just find it quite abhorrent,” she told the paper.

“It’s not like he set out to maliciously hurt or kill them. He never intended it. What happened was a tragic accident and not the result of wilful or malicious intention.”

Hearing of the charges had “brought back all the events that happened and what we have gone through since,” she said.

“We don’t want to keep revisiting these things. We want to move on and we want to remember Jay and Emma for the lovely couple they were and not always being brought back to the tragic event that ended their lives,” she said.

Following the incident in 2011, Filip’s father Lars Petre provided a statement to Minivan News in which he described the accident as “by far the most tragic event in my life, and words cannot describe how saddened we are. I and my family are deeply concerned with errors on some of the media reports and we are also deeply saddened by some accusations made at my son.”

“My son Filip Petre (23 years) was taking the two guests home, to the other side of the island, when he experienced some difficulties with the bike, and crashed headlong into a tree on the road. The crash took two lives and badly injured my son.

“He fell unconscious with the crash and woke up some time later to find the two deceased also lying on the road. He immediately called for help and worked alongside with the doctor who arrived to try and save the victims of the crash, while he was bleeding himself.

“The quad bike which my son was driving was registered and my son Filip is licensed to drive such vehicles. My son Filip and his brother Tom (who was the first to arrive at the scene of the accident with the doctor), the management and staff of Kuredhu have been cooperating with the police investigation fully, and I give every assurance that they will continue to do so in the future.

“We understand the grief of the families who lost their loved ones in the accident, and we also respect the duty of the Maldives Police Service to investigate the matter. However the fact remains that what happened on August 6 is an accident, a very tragic fatal event, which my son no anyone else had the power to change.”


Mother of Jonathan Gray calls for full inquiry into Kuredu quad-bike accident

The mother of a British honeymooner who died when the quad-bike he was riding on crashed into a tree on Kuredu Island Resort has called for a full investigation into the couple’s death.

Jonathan Gray and his wife Emma Gray, both 25, had been married on July 30 in West Yorkshire. They were killed a week later on August 6 at 4:00am on a Saturday morning.

Jonathan’s mother Cath Davies told the BBC she had been led to understand that the vehicle was unregistered and the driver unlicensed, and called for a full investigation to prevent such a tragedy from reoccurring.

“Somebody, somewhere, is responsible for having allowed that quad to be on the island, and those keys to be available to the young man who was unlicensed and unregistered. I’m sure I’m not mistaken, but he shouldn’t have been there,” she said.

“The lad himself, my heart goes out to him and his family because he has done something reckless and really foolish which has ended in the most tragic way possible, but he never meant for this to happen. I don’t want the responsibility to be solely his.”

The driver of the quad-bike, subsequently identified by police as Swedish national Filip Petre, a guest relations officer and son of one of the resort’s shareholders, remains in hospital in Male’ being treated for injuries he sustained during the accident.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that Petre’s was not under arrest but that his passport had been confiscated pending the outcome of the investigation, as was standard procedure in such serious cases. If Petre’s injuries required him to receive treatment outside the Maldives, “that would be a matter for our legal officers.”

Shiyam said that police had completed examining the scene of the accident and were now working to conclude the investigation as swiftly as possible.

In an emergency motion in parliament last week MDP MP ‘Reeko Moosa Manik alleged that the King Quad 700 was unregistered and Petre unlicensed to operate it.

Opposition MPs claimed that Reeko Moosa’s motion was a “personal attack” against the owner of the resort, Champa ‘Uchoo’ Mohamed Moosa, in retaliation for Champa’s television network DhiTV’s coverage of alcohol bottles found in Reeko’s car last year.

The bodies of the couple were reported to have been flown back to the UK for the funeral. Davies told the BBC that the fact the couple had been married and had enjoyed six happy years together had made the tragedy easier to endure.

“They had that day. It was perfect. Both were fantastically successful in their own lives and have their wonderful little boy. It was so perfect for them. It was almost too perfect,” she said.

The Gray’s six-month old child, Jake, will grow up “much loved by all his family,” Davies told the BBC. “He is a very happy little baby and will grow up into a wonderful man just like his father.”


Driver of quad-bike was son of resort shareholder, police reveal

The Maldives Police Service have identified the driver of the quad-bike that crashed and killed two British honeymooners on Kuredu Island Resort as 23 year-old Swedish national Filip Eugen Petre.

Filip Petre is the son of a shareholder of the company that operates the resort, and was employed by the company as a guest relations officer trainee, police stated.

The young couple from West Yorkshire, Emma and Jonathan Gray, were riding on the quad-bike as passengers when it collided with a tree around 4:00am on August 6. The UK press reported that the couple had been married for just seven days and had a six-month old son, Jake.

A quad bike of the kind police said was involved in the Kuredu accident

“Investigation into the incident has so far revealed that the accident occurred while the three were riding a four-wheel vehicle – a King Quad 700 – and crashed into a tree in the middle of the path,” police said in a statement today.

“Upon hearing of the accident the island doctor went to the scene of the accident and attempted to treat the victims, but told police that there was no sign of life from the two English tourists.”

Filip Petre suffered injuries in the crash and is currently being treated in hospital in Male’.

Jonathan Gray’s twin brother Michael told the Yorkshire Post that the family was “absolutely on our knees. We’re in shock and all pulling together as one big family.”

“They were the perfect couple. They were both high flyers, both doing well in their careers. They had such a great future ahead of them.”They were soulmates and their little boy was so special to them. Jake’s with us at the moment, with family,” he said.

Emma and Jonathan Gray

Meanwhile students at West Yorkshire primary school – at which Emma Gray was a teacher – were being offered counselling following her death.

Deputy Head teacher Liz Whetham told the Post that Gray was an “outstanding” teacher and that staff and pupils were devastated.

“At the moment we’re taking each day as it comes, but we will be organising a memorial event for Emma in September, and setting up a book of condolence,” Whetham told the paper.