Newhaven fishing boat tragedy: body found in sea identified as missing fisherman

A body pulled from the sea has been identified as one of the fishermen who went missing after a boat sank off the coast of Newhaven, his family has confirmed.

Friday, 19th February 2021, 9:28 am

Two men on board the Joanna C fishing boat died when it sank on November 21 last year.

A third man – captain Dave Bickerstaff was pulled from the water by lifeboat crews after clinging to a lifebuoy – but the body of Adam Harper, 26, from Brixham, Devon, was found days later.

On December 14, a body was pulled from the sea off De la Warr Parade, Bexhill.

Search for missing fishermen off Newhaven SUS-201125-151104001

On Thursday (February 18), a spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Following the tragic incident in which the fishing boat Joanna C capsized off Newhaven on 21 November, the body of a man washed ashore at Bexhill on 14 December has been formally identified, through DNA analysis, as that of missing fisherman, Robert Morley.

The next of kin of Mr Morley, who was 38 and from Pembrokeshire, have been notified.

Our thoughts are with his family - and the other fisherman who lost his life in this tragic incident - at this time.”

Robert’s father Barry Woolford, from Brixham, said: “To all the beautiful people of Brixham it is with much sadness that I have to inform you that our son Robert Morley has been identified as the body that was brought from the sea at Bexhill in December.

A vigil was held in Newhaven days after the fishing boat sank SUS-201126-081817001

“Thank you all for your fantastic support and love these past 12 weeks.

“No further information is available at this moment regarding funeral arrangements but on behalf of all Robs’ family thanks Brixham.”

The Joanna C fishing vessel sank at about 6am on November 21 with three crew members on board.

It sparked a major multi-agency search which continued throughout the Saturday and Sunday.

The search off Newhaven SUS-201125-151053001

Once the search was called off on November 22, hundreds of people, including emergency teams included in the search, attended a vigil in Newhaven to send their thoughts to those affected.