Emily Jayne Collie's parents do not blame boyfriend for daughter's jetski death in Thailand

By Kim Stephens

Emily Jayne Collier with her partner Tommy. Photo / Facebook
Emily Jayne Collier with her partner Tommy. Photo / Facebook

Aussie man Tom Keating has been charged in relation to the death of his girlfriend Emily Collie in a jetski accident in Thailand.

The parents of a young Victorian woman killed in the jetski collision with her boyfriend in Thailand say they do not blame him for her death.

But Thai police have charged Mr Keating, 22, with reckless driving causing death, four days after he slammed his jetski into one ridden by girlfriend Emily Jayne Collie, 20, in the ocean off tourist mecca, Phuket.

Emily Jayne Collier with her partner Tommy. Photo / Facebook
Emily Jayne Collier with her partner Tommy. Photo / Facebook

Mr Keating arrived at the police station at 11.30am local time with friends and family members, as well as Ms Collie's parents.

Karon police chief, Colonel Sanya Thongsawad, said Mr Keating had been charged with careless driving causing death in what all parties believe was a tragic accident.

He said that Mr Keating's passport was currently held by police.

Mr Keating told Thai authorities he did not see the watercraft ridden by his girlfriend, due to sunlight reflecting off the water.

Ms Collie, from the northeast Victorian town of Kyabram, suffered fatal head and neck injuries in the crash.

Her parents, Ian and Sally Collie, said in a statement they regard the collision that claimed their daughter's life as a "tragic accident".

"We are in the midst of grieving through the sudden loss of our precious daughter Emily," the couple said.

"This was a tragic accident. We do not believe anybody was at fault.

"In particular, we do not place any blame on Tom Keating, who we care about very much and who we know loved Emily deeply.

"We are all heartbroken beyond words, and at this extremely sad time, we wish to be together with our family, with Tom, and with other loved ones to grieve and celebrate Emily's life."

The families of both Ms Collie and Mr Keating have travelled to the Thai resort island, where Ms Collie's family are preparing to return home with her body.

Mr Keating will be unable to leave Thailand after he is charged.

The court process is expected to take at least a month, according to the Phuket News.

He is unlikely to be jailed.

In a Facebook post the day after the tragedy, a heartbroken Mr Keating expressed his grief at losing his girlfriend of 18 months.

"I love you so much Emily and I wish I could just bring you back into my arms," he wrote.

"I'm so broken and I know I'll never never be able to mend.

"I'll always be your boy and you'll always be my girl! We had so many plans for our future Emmy.

"I love you to bits baby and I promise I'll never stop and you'll always have my heart!"

Ms Collie's family are in Phuket preparing to repatriate her body. Photo / Facebook
Ms Collie's family are in Phuket preparing to repatriate her body. Photo / Facebook

Karon Police Chief Colonel Sanya Thongsawad told the Phuket News police had to press charges against Mr Keating.

Thai law dictates that charges be laid in any incident that results in a person's death, he said.

However, Mr Keating is likely to receive a wholly suspended sentence.

The police chief said the Collie and Keating families had seen each other in Phuket.

"The two families know each other very well," he told the Phuket News.

"The Keating family said they were so sorry for what happened, and Ms Collie's family said they know Mr Keating well and that no one wanted this to happen.

"Ms Collie's family said they understood that it was just an accident. They do not believe there was any intent on causing harm, or the death, of Ms Collie, and they also expressed their sympathies to Mr Keating."

A friends of Mr Keating's, Steph Morton, has established an online fundraiser to pay for his family's travel expenses while they are in Phuket.

In just 24 hours, 160 people have donated nearly A$20,000.

"As Tom and family come to terms with the tragic accident we ask for your support to bring those involved financial peace at this time," she wrote.

"Your donation will greatly help with the significant overseas travel costs, legal aid and the payment of an entire team of law consultants and lawyers both Thai and Australian, ongoing family help once returned, last minute flights and accommodation causing extreme price hikes and a lot more that keep adding up."

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel advisory warns there have been many serious accidents involving jet skis and motorcycles in Thailand.

DFAT is providing consular assistance to Ms Collie's family, as they prepare to repatriate her body.

- news.com.au

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