Killer of legendary 80s popstar will 'never be brought to justice'

killer of legendary 80s popstar will 'never be brought to justice'

Kirsty MacGowan was killed aged 41 (Picture: Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

The late Kirsty MacColl’s stepmother has said her killer will never face justice, speaking 24 years after her death.

In 2000, the Fairytale of New York hitmaker was on holiday in Mexico with her family – teenage sons Jamie and Louis and partner James Knight – when a boat propeller struck and killed her.

Aged 41, Kirsty was introducing her sons to scuba diving on a well-deserved holiday when she was killed by a boat owned by Mexican supermarket mogul Guillermo Conzalez Nova.

While diving off Conzumel Island in an area labelled safe for the sport – and accompanied by a qualified instructor – the singer surfaced from the water with her sons when she saw a 10-metre powerboat heading towards them.

She shoved one of her sons out the way, grabbed the other to protect him, and was hit by the boat’s propeller, which instantly killed her, with her body ‘nearly sliced in half’.

Boathand Jose Cen Yam said he was steering the boat – carrying Nova and his family – at the time, but witnesses stated this wasn’t the case.

killer of legendary 80s popstar will 'never be brought to justice'

Her voice is heard every december in her Fairytale of New York duet with the late Shane MacGowan (Picture: Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

killer of legendary 80s popstar will 'never be brought to justice'

The singer was diving in Mexico with her two teenage sons when she was hit by a boat (Picture: kpa/United Archives via Getty Images)

Nevertheless, Nova’s staff member Yam was found guilty of culpable homicide for his role in Kirsty’s death and was sentenced to just under three years in prison.

But Yam never served even one day, and instead paid 1034 pesos (about £40) to the Mexican government and $2,150 (£1,660) to Kirsty’s family.

Kirsty’s mother Jean Newlove, who led the Justice For Kirsty campaign shedding light on the topic, died in 2017 and now Peggy Seeger, 88, has spoken out about the injustice.

Folk singer Peggy was married to Kirsty’s dad, singer-songwriter and activist Ewan MacColl, from 1977 until his death in 1989.

Calling MacColl’s death a ‘complete and utter criminal tragedy’, Peggy told The Sun: ‘She was a bright light and she was just snuffed out by a man who should never have been there. He tried to shift the responsibility on to someone else.

‘It’s like the way our government works in that they say one thing….things happen that are absolutely horrendous and they work their way around it. And that’s what they did.

‘Power does that. What it’s done to her sons’ whole lives.’

Asked if justice will ever be served, Peggy said: ‘No. The only person who could have brought them to justice was her mother, and she did try.’

killer of legendary 80s popstar will 'never be brought to justice'

No one has ever served prison time for MacColl’s death (Picture: Fin Costello/Redferns)

killer of legendary 80s popstar will 'never be brought to justice'

MacGowan died in November after years of ill health (Picture: Patrick Ford/Redferns)

She explained how Newlove was aware how power can protect people, especially when they are shut away in a foreign country.

MacColl’s most famous song is her festive classic Fairytale of New York, in which she sang the iconic spirited duet with the late Shane MacGowan.

‘Merry Christmas you a*** and pray God it’s our last,’ is her line which is belted out year after year every December, over three decades since its 1987 release.

This comes six months after The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan died aged 65 in November following years of deteriorating health.

Recalling the moment MacColl died in an interview with the Daily Mail, her son Louis said: ‘It was the most incredible dive, we saw everything, it was an amazing experience. Then we came up. I was the first one up, then I heard the dive master, Ivan, shout, “Watch out!”

‘I looked behind me and this boat was coming at some considerable speed. I managed to get out of the way – I think Mum pushed me and Jamie out of the way.’

He searched frantically in the water and found her floating face-down.

‘All I wanted to do was swim over to that boat and show them what I felt. But I mean, what can a 14-year-old boy do, really?’ said Louis.

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