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The British Romeo who rode a jet ski across the Irish Sea to be with a girlfriend he had met just weeks before has admitted he felt like a “crappy James Bond” during his death-defying mission “for love.”
Dale McLaughlan — who was jailed for breaking lockdown rules with the trip — told the Sunday Mirror that he spent more than $8,000 buying the jet ski as well as a GPS and dry bag to carry gifts for his new love.
“The first time I’d even stood on a jet ski was in that harbor,” said McLaughlan, who risked the rough seas to get from Scotland to the Isle of Man to see new love Jessica Radcliffe, whom he met in September.
“As soon as I hit open water I thought ‘Oh my God’. It was like getting a kick in the teeth,” he told the UK paper.
“It was terrible. It wasn’t fun. I followed the GPS, but after half an hour a massive wave wiped it away. I didn’t have a clue where I was going,” he said.
“I thought it’d take 45 minutes. I tried checking maps and oceanic currents, which I didn’t have a clue how to read,” he admitted.
“After two hours I thought, ‘Where the bloody hell am I’? I couldn’t see a thing … I thought I was lost at sea. I was scared,” he said.
“But the thought of Jessica kept me driving on,” he said.
His gas tank warned him he was about to run out just as he saw the coast of the Isle of Man, which he recalled as “such bloody relief” and “like a beacon of hope.”
But he was off-target, and at least 15-miles from Jessica’s home — which he says he just walked.
“I just stuck my headphones on and off I went. I was listening to power ballads,” he told the Sunday Mirror.
Radcliffe had no idea he was making the romantic trip, and when he got to her home she “peeked her head out of the window and let out a bit of a scream,” he said.
“She opened the door, jumped around my waist and gave me a big kiss. I said, ‘Hi, babe!’ I was still a bit smelly from the water,” he said.
But police soon came knocking after he had been photographed arriving on the island, where he’d been refused permission to return amid strict coronavirus restrictions against visitors.
“I didn’t deny it – I was caught red-handed,” he said.
When he told cops about his jet ski ride, he recalled one telling him, “You’re bloody lucky to be alive! I know people that wouldn’t try that in the summer on a boat.”
McLaughlan was sentenced to four weeks in jail, and says he was amazed at making headlines around the world. “I was like, ‘What? I’m just a guy from Scotland!’ People are saying I’m a legend,” he said.
“I think I’ve lifted a lot of spirits. A lot of people say I’ve made a good end to a terrible year. That made me feel better,” he said.
“I broke the law. But I did it for love,” he said.
“I should never have done it. It could be called a crime of passion.”
Radcliffe told the paper that she loves her madcap Romeo.
“How could I not after what he did?” she said.
“I would like to marry him, but not this year. He’s got to get over here first – legally this time!”
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