Is jet-ski Romeo just in it for the cash? He’s been revelling in his fame after his four-hour escapade to the Isle of Man – but friends say it’s all a sham
- Dale McLaughlan won hearts as he made four hour jet-ski trip to see girlfriend
- Sources close to the couple suggest the fairytale journey was instead a sham
- Suggestions he and Jessica Radcliffe portrayed themselves as couple for media
He was the love-sick roofer jailed for breaking Covid rules after jet-skiing from Scotland to the Isle of Man to see his girlfriend.
Romantics lapped up the tale of how Dale McLaughlan was so desperate to see Jessica Radcliffe that he made the four-and-a-half-hour trip, despite never having ridden a jet-ski before and being unable to swim.
But The Mail on Sunday can today reveal the real story. Testimony from sources who have witnessed a very different set of events involving the father-of-two and his new love show the ‘fairytale’ escapade is little more than a sham. They claim:
- Mr McLaughlan, 28, was seen flirting with other women while the couple were at a bar on the Isle of Man – resulting in Ms Radcliffe throwing a drink over a customer;
- When asked to leave, the pair became angry, kicking, shouting and even allegedly spitting at staff before police were called;
- Ms Radcliffe, 30, told a friend she and Mr McLaughlan had split before they portrayed themselves as a couple for the media;
- Mr McLaughlan has abandoned his young children and ex-partner.
The head of security at the 1886 Bar and Grill in the island’s capital, Douglas, said he had to call the police on December 12 after a visit by the couple descended into chaos. Describing how it took ‘three full-grown men’ to remove the pair from the bar, John Hagedorn, 32, said: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it.’
Romantics had loved couple Dale McLaughlan and Jessica Radcliffe, but things between them are perhaps not as they seem
Mr McLaughlan’s antics on the Irish Sea, where he boasted of braving 6ft waves to reach his girlfriend, provoked a mixture of shock and awe, not to mention condemnation from the island’s authorities who had enforced a lockdown to hold the pandemic at bay.
Sentencing him to four weeks in prison, magistrates said Mr McLaughlan had made a ‘deliberate and intentional attempt to circumnavigate’ the border restrictions – potentially putting the community at risk.
Mr McLaughlan, who bought the jet-ski for £5,500 before driving it from Carlisle to the Isle of Whithorn and making the crossing on December 11, served just ten days.
Upon his release, he and Ms Radcliffe wasted no time telling their story. ‘I love Dale. How could I not after what he did?,’ Ms Radcliffe gushed to one media outlet.
They looked less comfortable on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Speaking online from their respective homes, they averted their eyes as Mr McLaughlan told how he ‘did it for love’ and Ms Radcliffe said it was ‘absolutely’ true love. Presenter Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘I’m not sure Cupid’s bow is going to last long with those two…’
Indeed, social media messages suggest Cupid had already moved on. While Mr McLaughlan was in prison, Ms Radcliffe, a healthcare worker with two children, said in a message: ‘I’ve ended the relationship or whatever it was.’
Mr McLaughlan won an army of fans when he travelled for hours on a jet-ski to see his partner across the Irish Sea and broke coronavirus rules
The events at the 1886 underline the couple’s volatile relationship.
Mr Hagedorn remembered noticing Mr McLaughlan because he was ‘barging’ people out of the way as they tried to watch a boxing match.
An hour later, he was called to an upstairs cocktail lounge where he saw Mr McLaughlan with a group of women.
He said: ‘Jessica went over shouting, “What are you doing with that girl?” She went over and threw a drink at the woman. Me and another member of the door staff approached them and told them they had to leave. But… she started kicking off.’
He added: ‘It escalated when Jessica spat at a glass collector as they were cleaning up the drink she had thrown. As we were escorting them down the stairs, Jessica grabbed another drink and threw that over one of my door staff. When he tried to move her down the stairs again, she spat in his face and kicked him in the groin.’
Mr Hagedorn said he had to ‘restrain’ Mr McLaughlan as he tried to intervene.
He said he made a note of Ms Radcliffe’s actions in the club’s logbook, but only realised who the couple were when news broke about Mr McLaughlan being arrested for breaching Covid laws.
Mr McLaughlan, from Irvine, Ayrshire, left a trail of betrayal behind him in Scotland, where his ex-partner, Korrin Hastings, was left to look after their children, aged three and nine months, without any help. A family friend said: ‘It’s been awful for the family.
‘They’re incensed by the whole thing and his grand work of fiction is making his family ill. He’s not a romantic, he’s full of it and is not the person he’s making himself out to be. He’s telling everyone he’s going to get a film deal, he’s rich now and is calling everyone “soft” because he has got away with it.’
Messages from Mr McLaughlan to friends support this view. He boasts of how much money he has made since buying the jet-ski. In one, he says: ‘Good investment I think, turned £5,000 into tens of thousands in a matter of weeks.’ Another says: ‘Not received the money for the TV film yet, speaking to someone about that in the New Year.’
Last night, Mr McLaughlan confirmed the couple had been spoken to by police. He added: ‘We didn’t assault anybody. If somebody is attacking you and you’re trying to kick them away from you, that’s not really assault, is it?’ Ms Radcliffe said: ‘It’s none of your business. I’m not going to comment any further on any of this… it’s just irrelevant.’
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