A convicted knife killer died in a horrific jet ski crash on the first day of a Christmas holiday in the Caribbean, an inquest heard.
Jordan Mayers, 29, was turning his life around by studying business management at university after spending years behind bars for the brutal killing of a teenager.
But he suffered a fatal head injury when he crashed into his cousin’s jet ski off a popular tourist beach in Barbados while visiting his mum’s family just three days before Christmas, the hearing was told.
Mayers had been jailed for life in 2007, aged 20, after being convicted of the murder of 19-year-old Emmanuel Odenewu who was stabbed in the head, neck and chest at a bus stop outside Lewisham Police Station in south east London in a row over drugs.
The victim – described as a “gentle giant” by his family – was studying sports science and planned to work as a sports trainer in the 2012 Olympic Games.
But Mayers had his sentence cut by two-thirds in 2009 after a legal ruling on the use of anonymous witnesses led to the quashing of his murder conviction.
Prosecutors decided not to pursue a re-trial because eyewitnesses were too afraid to give evidence openly against him.
Mayers was originally jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years after being found guilty of the November 2016 murder.
Jurors heard the evidence of witnesses who were allowed to remain anonymous because they feared for their own safety.
But the practice was thrown into turmoil after a Law Lords ruling and Mayers’ conviction was quashed.
Mayers, of Lewisham, south east London, was due to be re-tried for murder, but instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter in May 2009 and was jailed for 10 years.
Southwark Coroner’s Court heard yesterday (MON) that he was just one day into a family reunion on the Caribbean holiday island in December 2016 when he was killed after accidentally colliding with his cousin’s jet ski.
Coroner Doctor Andrew Harris said the only report of the fatal accident came from the Royal Barbados Police.
He told the hearing: “It says they rented the jet skis for 30 minutes and instructions were given to both of them.
“Jordan’s cousin, Samuel Joshua, slowed down and Jordan reached him; Samuel was stationary.
“Given the rainy conditions, Jordan drove the jet ski towards Samuel. but didn’t stop.
“He collided into the jet ski and was thrown into the water.
“Samuel Joshua went to his aid and he was assisted by two American tourist s- but could not be revived.”
Dr Harris said there were concerns over the rough sea and rain and whether the jet ski vendor, Ricardo Clarke, was licenced.
But he said: “We have been trying to find out if the company was licenced.
Dr Harris said: “We would normally explore these matters but we do not have the evidence to do that.
“The full details of the autopsy report were also not disclosed.”
Mayers’ father Winston Trew, who was not on the holiday and is estranged from his son’s mum, told the hearing that he remains “cut up” that there were no lifeguards on duty at tourist spot Welches Beach at the time of the fatal collision.
Mr Trew said: “I keep on thinking that if there was a lifeguard there then Jordan might have been rescued and survived.
“The police report doesn’t mention whether there were lifeguards.
“Jordan wasn’t a risk taker, he was physically fit and a strong swimmer.
“I want to get closure, I want to know what happened. If he didn’t have the head injury, he might not have drowned.
“I have to accept the fact that I don’t know the circumstances.”
Dr Harris ruled that Mayers died from a head injury caused by an accident.
He told Mr Trew: “I know you have waited two years for this and I’m sorry I couldn’t give you more closure.”
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Trew said his son had turned his life around after being released from jail, and was a “good and well loved student” on the business management course at Metropolitan University in Holloway, north London.
Mr Trew said: “He swung back from a lot of disasters.
“He was accused of murder but they realised the other guy attacked him first. He was twice his size and he did what he could.
“It was a low point in his life. He got 10 years for manslaughter, but we supported him through it.
“The university knew about it and they supported him. They gave him his diploma, even though he wasn’t there to finish the course.
“He was a good and well loved student. Me and my wife were going to give him some money so he could start up his own business.”
He added: “I loved my son and, although me and his mum didn’t get on, he was an integral part of mine and my wife’s life.
“Jordan was a Muslim and I won a court order to stop him getting cremated – which was what his mum wanted.”
By Isabel Dobinson