Distraught father of boy killed in Greek speedboat horror speaks for first time 

A British oil executive whose son was killed in a horrific speedboat accident in Greece has spoken for the first time of his devastation.

Paul Finnett, 53, was at the helm when his son Toby, 15, fell off their rented boat and into the blades of the propeller.

The managing director at energy company Aon jumped in and dragged Toby back on to the boat. The teenager was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Paul Finnett and wife Amanda, second right, with Toby, circled, and brothers Benjamin and Kai, far right, earlier this year

‘We are numb – there is no pain like losing a child,’ said Mr Finnett. ‘Nothing can prepare you for the shock and disbelief that this can ever happen to you.

‘Toby lived life to the full in his short 15 years and was an inspiration to us all. He was one of a kind – passionate about learning about the world, cultures and adventure. He had big dreams and was confident they would be fulfilled.’

Mr Finnett is originally from Littlehampton, West Sussex, but has lived in Houston, Texas, since 1994. He described Toby, a talented filmmaker and keen runner who competed for St Francis Episcopal School in Houston, as ‘my best friend and travel companion’.

The accident happened last Saturday after Mr Finnett, an experienced and licensed sailor, rented a rigid inflatable speedboat for a day trip with Toby, his elder son Benjamin, 17, and stepson Kai Stark, 14.

The rented rigid inflatable speedboat used for the family's day trip which ended in tragedy 

The rented rigid inflatable speedboat used for the family’s day trip which ended in tragedy 

The holiday was a boys’ trip to the Ionian island of Paxos, south of Corfu. On the day Toby died, the four had set off to explore the nearby small island of Mogonisi, but they found themselves in turbulent waters.

Explaining what happened, Mr Finnett said: ‘Toby lost his balance in the blink of an eye trying to get closer to his brothers who were at the front of the boat.’

Kostas Karavonioti, who works at the Paxos health centre where Toby was taken, said: ‘It was instant. In 39 years I have never seen anything like this.’ Mr Finnett was arrested on suspicion of driving negligently but was released. An official said: ‘Everything points to bad weather and choppy waves that made the boy lose his balance and fall into the sea.’

Toby’s body was due to be flown to Britain, where most of his family still lives.

Mr Finnett has lived in Houston since moving there with his first wife, Justine Warburton, who is the mother of Toby and Benjamin.

Kai posted a video on Instagram of the boys jumping from a cliff into the sea, with the message: ‘I’ll never forget you brother, and my best friend.’


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