Romeo roofer Dale McLaughlan, jailed for crossing the Irish Sea on a jet ski to see his lover on the Isle of Man, has been released in time for Christmas, MailOnline has learned.
His girlfriend Jessica Radcliffe told MailOnline: ‘They let him out of prison first thing and he’s on his way home.’
Jessica said her feelings were ‘bitter-sweet’ as although she was delighted that 28-year-old McLaughlan was free, the lovebirds were denied a reunion by the same covid rules which led to his 28-day sentence.
Speaking from the ferry leaving the Isle of Man back to Britain, Dale told MailOnline: ‘i’m overjoyed to be out.
‘I’m just on the ferry home and I’m so happy to be coming home and coming home for Christmas.’
Romeo roofer Dale McLaughlan, (left) jailed for crossing the Irish Sea on a jet ski to see his lover on the Isle of Man, has been released in time for Christmas. Pictured leaving island today
Jessica Radcliffe, 30 (left) – the girlfriend of lovesick Romeo Dale McLaughlan, 28, (right) who got thrown in prison for crossing the treacherous Irish Sea on a jet ski just to see her
‘But I can’t really say anymore at the moment.’
He technically should only have been released on Boxing Day after serving half his sentence.
But today he was freed three days early from the island’s tiny Jurby Prison just before 6am and was on his way home to Scotland.
Shortly after 8.30am he changed the profile of his Facebook page to a romantic photo of him with Manx-born mother-of-two Jessica, 30.
McLoughlan was all smiles as he left the Isle of Man by ferry, instead of the jet ski he used to get there
Mclaughlan (pictured on his jet ski) sparked a coastguard search and rescue when he set off on his 25-mile journey on the Isle of Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway last Friday morning
Mr McLaughlan, 28, made the 25-mile journey from Scotland to the Isle of Man to visit his girlfriend Jessica Radcliffe, 30, last Friday – spending four and a half hours at sea (pictured arriving on the Isle of Man)
Ms Radcliffe, who has said she would like to marry her jet skiing lover
McLaughlan messaged friends that he was hoping to meet Jessica soon, but where and when wasn’t clear.
And Jessica in turn responded with a heart sign on her Facebook page.
She told MailOnline exclusively: ‘I meant it when i said i’d marry him if he asked me. Anyone who is prepared to cross an ocean to see you has got to be serious.’
She added, laughing: ‘Mind you, I don’t think I’d be prepared to do the same for him!’
The couple had explored ways to allow them to be together after Dale had served his sentence, and Jessica even contacted a lawyer on the island to apply for permission for Dale to return to her home in Ramsey for Christmas.
‘We thought because he’d already isolated for the required time in prison that he’d be ok to come and be with us, but the authorities said he might be liable to being arrested again as he didn’t have a permit to be on the island,’ she said.
‘I couldn’t face him spending Christmas in a police cell, so reluctantly we agreed the best thing would be for him to go home to Scotland for now, but we’re definitely going to get together again as soon as we legally can.
This map shows the 25-mile trip McLaughlan made from Scotland to the Isle of Man on Friday
McLaughlan’s jet ski was left on the beach at Ramsey harbour, Isle of Man after completing his four hour journey, which he thought would take 40 minutes, with only ten minutes of fuel left
‘We’ve discussed making a home on the Isle of Man – I’m not going to uproot my children and Dale’s children live in Scotland with their mother.’
If he had been allowed out on Boxing Day, there would have been no way for him to leave the island, which would once again have put him in breach of covid rules, as a non-resident without a permit.
But a spokesman for the Isle of Man government press office refused to confirm or deny he had been released.
Dale McLaughlan, pictured, was jailed for four weeks after admitting arriving unlawfully on the island to see Jessica
Dale has two children with his childhood sweetheart Korrin Hastings (pictured together)
The story of McLaughlan’s romantic but foolhardy crossing of a 25-mile stretch of the Irish Sea from south-west Scotland to the Isle of Man, followed by a 20-mile hike to his lover’s house brought admiration and condemnation in equal measure from around the world.
And Jessica herself was targeted by online trolls in the aftermath after vowing that she wants to marry the jet ski jailbird. She revealed that people had made unfavourable comparisons online between her and McLaughlan’s ex-girlfriend, mother of his two children.
She said in a Facebook post: ‘I feel so embarrassed, the fact im even needing to justify myself on social media being told I’m a nothing compared to my boyfriend’s ex.’
‘I can’t fathom why anyone thinks I think i’m beautiful or pretty, i’m my biggest critic, never would I class myself as better than anyone.
‘Stalking my posts and ripping me as a person, everyone has their own opinion I wasn’t born to please anyone. ‘
Police officers pictured at the car next to the slipway at the Isle of Whithorn on the Scottish mainland where Mclaughlan left his car and trailer before he began his fateful journey
When a coastguard saw McLaughlan launch his jet ski from the slipway (above) he jokingly said, ‘Are you going to the Isle of Man?’
McLoughlan had driven 75 miles through the night on single track forest roads from his home in Irvine, North Ayrshire, to reach Whithorn (above), Scotland’s closest point to the Isle of Man
Miss Radcliffe said earlier she has received messages of support from ‘all over the world’ following her boyfriend’s daring escapade, with some urging her to marry him.
In posts on Ms Radcliffe’s Facebook timeline, McLaughlan wrote: ‘Just think of all the love and support were getting babe a small minority that aren’t content with their lives so don’t want to see anyone happy I love you everywhere. Xxxxx’
To which Ms Radcliffe replied: ‘So happy you’re going to be able to see all the love and support yourself now. Love ya lots xxxx’
McLaughlan added: ‘Babe the whole world is behind us. Xxxxxx’