Barrister died after crashing jet ski into sea wall on Christmas honeymoon

Barrister Michaela Danso was described as a 'bubbly person who lived life to the fullest'
Barrister Michaela Danso was described as a 'bubbly person who lived life to the fullest'

A barrister died on Christmas Day in a jet ski accident during her honeymoon in Dubai, an inquest has heard.

Michaela Danso, 46, hit a sea wall while using the jet ski on the third day of her trip in December 2022 while her husband Joseph looked on.

The couple were given only “basic instructions” on how to operate the powerful jet skis - despite neither of them having used one before, Walthamstow Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday.

After the instructor had left, Mrs Danso pressed the accelerator and hurtled towards the sea wall.

The jet ski hit the wall, causing her to “catapult” on to the ground in front of her.

A post-mortem examination found her cause of death was a head injury caused by blunt force trauma.

Mr Danso told the inquest: “Michaela was a bubbly person who lived life to the fullest. She was a gorgeous person and well liked by many members of the community. She adored music and danced to it even if it was coming from a passing car.”

He also said the company, called Aquablue, told them they were too big to fit on one jet ski – which he now believes was a ploy to make them rent two.

Michaela Danso and her husband Joseph were on their honeymoon in Dubai when the accident happened
Michaela Danso and her husband Joseph were on their honeymoon in Dubai when the accident happened

Mr Danso said: “It was never her intention to operate a jet ski alone. She had only reserved one for me and she wanted to sit behind me.

“She would be here if that claim hadn’t been made.”

He also told the inquest they were only wearing life jackets and not helmets, adding: “I think if she had she still would be here”.

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Mr Danso also told the inquest it took an hour for an ambulance to reach the port – in which his wife had died.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Danso said he had heard from police in Dubai that the boss of the jet ski operator had been arrested.

He said: “I was told if I said I forgave him that he would be released. I didn’t reply. I never want to hear anything more from that country again.”

Husband ‘thrown into police van’

Mr Danso also claims after witnessing the death of his wife, officers threw him into a police van to take him to the station to give his statement.

He said: “I was crying, screaming. I couldn’t believe what I had seen. I was traumatised and the officers kept telling me to ‘shut up’.”

Mrs Danso, from Holloway in north London, was a barrister with Charterhouse Chambers in Chancery Lane, and first practised criminal law before moving into family law.

Senior coroner Graeme Irvine said: “On arrival at the jet ski operator, it was explained to Mr and Mrs Danso they were not allowed to share a single jet ski and therefore something of a surprise and a change to the plan envisaged by Michaela was that they had to hire a second jet ski.

“The evidence I heard from Mr Danso was that Michaela didn’t plan to pilot a jet ski; she intended for her husband to pilot the jet ski and she would be a passenger for this pleasure ride.”

Mr Irvine described the jet ski as a “powerful piece of marine equipment”.

He said their briefing on how to use the jet skis was “very short and perfunctory” and the only safety equipment they were given was a “flotation vest”.

He said: “When she started the jet ski she lost control of it and she accelerated very speedily out of control.

“Her very short but fast journey stopped suddenly when she struck the sea wall and was catapulted on to the hard surface in front of her and she sustained fatal injuries to the base of her skull.

“Mercifully Mrs Danso’s injuries had left her unresponsive and unconscious from the outset.”

He said if the death had occurred in the UK he would be writing to the jet ski rental company about their safety procedures and equipment, and the local authority.

But he told the court: “Unfortunately I can’t do that because it is outside this court’s jurisdiction. I make it abundantly clear that if it were not, that’s what I would be doing.”

The court heard Mr Irvine contacted the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to request information from Dubai but after months of waiting no information was handed over.

Mrs Danso’s family agreed to go ahead with the inquest regardless.

The coroner recorded a conclusion of “accidental death due to injuries sustained in an accidental jet ski collision”.