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Boat envy turns deadly

APRIL 6 — A British man who was reportedly obsessed with a 42-foot motor yacht and subsequently murdered the vessel’s millionaire owner was sentenced Wednesday to a minimum of 16 years in jail.

The Royal Courts justice who tried the case called the killing “bizarre,” and noted in court that the defendant appeared to have been “motivated by some kind of obsession” with the victim’s yacht, England’s The Argus newspaper reports. At one point the man, who is 49, apparently attempted to purchase the yacht with a $235,000 personal check that bounced.

According to court papers, the man reportedly beat the 70-year-old owner of the yacht to death and threw him overboard, the news report says. The men apparently met in September 2002. Two weeks after the men had gone for a cruise aboard the yacht, the owner’s body washed ashore. He had suffered multiple lacerations and fractures to his skull and face.

The man was convicted and sentenced in 2003 to life in prison, the news report says. Wednesday’s ruling makes it so the defendant must serve no less than 16 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Jason Fell