The helmsman and owners of a pleasure craft failed to give a moment's thought to the potential dangers of taking a boat overloaded with partygoers on to a river at night, a jury at Birmingham Crown Court has been told.

If they had done so the death of Birmingham tax inspector Jane Turner could have been avoided, it was claimed.

Mrs Turner, aged 45, of Brownsover Close, Castle Bromwich, died when the 20-foot Sweetie Pie sank in the Severn at Stourport in September 2003 during a carnival.

It is alleged the owners and helmsman were grossly negligent in allowing the boat to be in a seriously overloaded state and that their judgment was "clouded" by alcohol.

Ruth Pearson (39), of St George's Terrace, Kidderminster, Janice Ward (42) of Four Acres Caravan Park, Worcester Road, Stourport, and Thomas Prescott (48) of George Street, Kidderminster, have all denied a charge of manslaughter.

In his closing speech to the jury Mr Philip Shears QC, prosecuting, said: "A small boat, a boat where the cabin roof was covered with people. there was no inquiry as to whether anyone could swim or not."

The case continues