UPDATED: Mum of tragic Maldives honeymoon groom speaks out after man is charged over deaths of him and his bride

Soulmates: Jonathan and Emma Gray died in a quad bike crash on their honeymoon in the Maldives. The driver has been charged in connection with their deaths.
Soulmates: Jonathan and Emma Gray died in a quad bike crash on their honeymoon in the Maldives. The driver has been charged in connection with their deaths.

A MOTHER spoke of her shock last night after learning that a man has been charged over the death of her son and his bride of one week.

Jonathan and Emma Gray, both 25, of Heath Lea, Halifax, were killed in a quad bike crash while honeymooning in the Maldives last August.

Resort employee Filip Eugen Petre, 23, who was driving the bike when it hit a tree, has been charged with disobedience to order, Maldives Police said.

The maximum sentence is death, but it has not been used since 1953.

Jonathan’s mother Cath Davies said last night: “I still believe what happened was a tragic accident and not the result of wilful or malicious intention.”

She said hearing of the charge had been hard on her and the couple’s other loved ones.

“It impacts on us by bringing back all the events that happened and what we have gone through since,” she said.

“We don’t want to keep revisiting these things. We want to move on and we want to remember Jay and Emma for the lovely couple they were and not always being brought back to the tragic event that ended their lives.”

She said she understood the offence could be punished by death or 25 years in prison and said: “I think it’s shocking. It’s absolutely horrendous.”

She went on: “We never expected there to be an outcome like this. It’s good they have dealt with it. It’s great they have investigated it properly.

“But I wouldn’t want it to be carried out. It’s not going to bring Jay and Emma back. It’s not going to make us feel any better. It doesn’t seem right.

“I just find it quite abhorrent.”

“It’s not like he set out to maliciously hurt or kill them. He never intended it.”

Petre, a Swedish national, worked at the Kuredu Island Resort, where the couple were staying, as a trainee guest-relations officer.

He is also the son of a shareholder of the company that operates the resort.

Emma and Jonathan were childhood sweethearts and had a baby son, Jake.

He was just six months old at the time of the tragedy.

Devastated relatives and friends described them at the time as “the perfect couple”.

Emma, a former pupil at Ryburn Valley High School, was a teacher at Holy Trinity Primary School in Halifax, and Jonathan, a former Crossley Heath pupil, worked as a manager at kitchen designers Nobilia GB Ltd in Mytholmroyd.

The couple knew each other as neighbours when they were young and met up again years later and fell in love.

Jonathan proposed to Emma - whose maiden name is Oldfield - as they rode in a horse and cart in New York on New Year’s Eve 2009.

They married 18 months later at St Bartholomew’s Church, Ripponden, and held their reception at Halifax’s Holdsworth House.

Speaking to the Courier shortly after the tragedy, Jonathan’s twin brother Michael said: “It was the most special day to both families - and to them - that any of us have ever had.

“It was perfect. It was everything to them - their big day.”