comino-caves

comino-caves

A scuba instructor based in West Sussex, UK has been charged with two involuntary homicides by Maltese authorities and is fighting extradition to Malta.

Stephen Martin, 55, an experienced diver, was diving with eight friends from the Brighton branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club on June 18 last year when Larissa Hooley, 48, and Nigel Haines, 59, lost their lives.

Mr Martin insists he is innocent.

He told the Mail Online that Ms Hooley had descended from 49ft below the surface to 114ft without warning. Mr Haines and fellow scuba diver Jeremy Coster went down to help Ms Hooley and brought her to the surface but she died on  shore. Mr Haines was later also found dead in the water.

Dwejra - Gozo

Dwejra – Gozo

divers-exploring-comino-caves

divers-exploring-comino-caves

Brighton coroner, Veronica Hamilton-Deeley, concluded the deaths on June 17 last year were the result of diving accidents, after hearing from witnesses and medical experts.

Dwejra Point

Dwejra Point

However, Mr Martin is being accused by the Maltese authorities of being “negligent in his obligations”.

Gozo-diving

Gozo-diving

They say he “failed to keep a close watch” of his scuba diving ‘buddy’ and long-term partner Ms Hooley and should have halted the dive off Gozo, due to “prevailing weather conditions”.

He said he was and had always been a conscientious buddy and was not the group’s leader, even though as an instructor he was one of the most qualified divers in the group.

A Westminster judge approved his extradition to Malta a month ago but Mr Martin lodged an appeal with the High Court.

santa-maria-caves

santa-maria-caves

About Albert Fenech

Born in 1946, Albert Fenech’s family took up UK residence in 1954 where he spent his boyhood and youth before temporarily returning to Malta between 1957 and 1959 and then coming back to Malta permanently in 1965. He spent eight years as a full-time journalist with “The Times of Malta” before taking up a career in HR Management but still retained his roots by actively pursuing freelance journalism and broadcasting for various media outlets covering social issues, current affairs, sports and travel.