As searches for the body of a missing 32-year-old Brit continue today – almost a week since he fell from a stag party cruise in the Tejo – a UK tabloid has revealed that the friend who pushed him overboard is almost certain to get away without criminal charges.
Initially, national media suggested the friend could be charged with negligent homicide (click here).
But according to the Daily Mirror, although he has been given ‘arguido’ status (classification as an official suspect), the friend’s family have been “told no charges will be filed”.
Maritime police commander Malaquias Domingues has explained that the incident “was the result of a prank gone wrong”.
“There had been no excessive drinking,” he told the Mirror – and the intention of friends who had been wrestling with Imperial College graduate Nishanthan Gnanathas was simply to give him a “soaking”.
“The friends’ bad luck was that he hit his head as he was pushed in and was knocked out.
“When they saw he didn’t come back up, two of them, including the one who allegedly pushed him, dived into the water to try to find him but couldn’t.
“I have no doubt they will live with this terrible moment for the rest of their lives, and that it was an accident and there was absolutely no intention to cause the missing man any harm,” Domingues’ added.
The Lisbon ports commander explained that search efforts have been scaled back, adding: “Sadly I know we are searching for a body now and have no hopes of finding him alive after all this time.
“My worst fear is that it has been taken out to sea which is something that could happen with the currents over a period of days.
“I obviously retain hope that we can recover his body and return it to his family to give them some peace.
“I have only once failed to find someone’s body in these sorts of circumstances and I want to make sure this is not the second time.”
Thus as hopes of giving the missing man a proper burial remain on hold, the friend who has admitted to giving Nishanthan Gnanathas the fateful push is reported to have returned to the UK.
Family members have also been in Lisbon to assist with searches but have now returned home.