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The tragic story of Kirsty MacColl's death

Christmas is just around the corner which means in a week every neighbourhood will deck up the halls in the shades of green, red and white and will glimmer in the warmth of yellow fairy lights. It’s a time when the smell of your favourite confectionary or dish wafts in the air and when you catch yourself habitually humming the tune of your favourite carol. In fact, Christmas carols are a must for the festive season and, when we speak of Christmas carols, we are immediately reminded of Kirsty MacColl’s beautiful voice, among others.

The British singer-songwriter was born in a family where music oozed out of every nook and corner of the house. Her father, Ewan MacColl, was a well-known folk singer while her mother, Jean Newlove, was a dancer. Growing up under the spell of music, Kirsty MacColl soon made a niche for herself in the music industry as well as in people’s hearts. One of her most admired songs is ‘Fairytale of New York,’ an Irish folk ballad by The Pogues which featured MacColl on vocals. Released in 1988, it became a patent Christmas song and grew more and more irreplaceable with time.

Ironically, the time of the year which was supposed to be jovial for MacColl bringing back happy memories of achievement, turned into a dark one extinguishing the light of her life, bringing unhappy memories to her family.

After participating in a BBC radio program in Cuba, MacColl travelled to Mexico in December 2000 with her two sons and her then-boyfriend James Knight for a vacation. On 18th December, she and her sons went diving at the Chankanaab reef in the National Marine Park of Cozumel. As with other diving areas, this one was also restricted for water vehicles. As the small group was surfacing after a dive, a motorboat entered the concealed area at a high speed. MacColl spotted the boat and pushed her eldest son away from the danger and got hit by it in the process. The boat ran her over, causing fatal chest injuries that resulted in instant death.

After investigation, it was revealed that the boat was owned by the multimillionaire president of the supermarket chain in Commercial Mexicana, Guillermo González Nova’s brother Carlos. Guillermo was on board with family when the accident took place. Though Nova’s employee José Cen Yam said that he was in control of the watercraft, an eye witness crossed his false statement by stating that Yam wasn’t at the controls at that time and the boat was running at a very high-speed contrary to what Guillermo said.

Yam was finally fined and sentenced to prison for two years and 10 months being found guilty for culpable homicide. Hundreds of Kirsty’s fans fought along with her family in the Justice for Kirsty Campaign. They terminated the campaign after Carlos Gonzalez Nova’s death in 2009 since according to them it “was successful in achieving most of its aims” and it was “unlikely that any more could be achieved.”

Though Kirsty got justice legally, the void she left in the hearts of her family, friends and fans can never be filled.