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Man's Across-the-Sea Quest to See Girlfriend Ends Poorly

Dale Mclaughlan didn't manage to evade COVID-minded authorities on the Isle of Man
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2020 3:33 PM CST

(Newser) – True love will set you free—unless you're Dale Mclaughlan. The Scotsman's apparent determination to see his girlfriend, who lives between England and Ireland on the Isle of Man, led to quite the Friday voyage, per court documents: That morning he took his first ever Jet Ski ride—on a Jet Ski he had purchased a day prior. It was a planned 40-minute trip from his home country to her island via the Irish Sea, but it took the 28-year-old 4.5 hours to get across. He then walked 15 miles from the shore to her home, and the two subsequently went to "two busy nightclubs," per the BBC. But come Sunday night, Mclaughlan was arrested for breaking the Isle of Man's COVID rules, which permit only nonresidents with special permission in and require a quarantine period.

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Mclaughlan had reportedly twice applied for that permission but had been unsuccessful. On Monday he was sentenced to four weeks in jail. The New York Times has this from the Isle of Man's chief minister: "On the Isle of Man, we’re all for ingenuity. But unfortunately, this was an incredibly reckless, dangerous endeavor, which could have ended very differently given the time of year." He had been dating the woman since September, when a roofing job took him to the island. His lawyer cited his depression at being separated from her; the BBC reports that at the time of the weekend visit, she believed he had been back on the island working for a number of weeks. (He's not the first boyfriend to do something like this.)

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