A YACHT company boss has been found guilty of failing to ensure the safety of the Cheeki Rakifi boat which capsized in 2014, killing four people.

Steve Warren, 52 and Paul Goslin, 56, both from Somerset, died along with 22-year-old Andrew Bridge from Surrey and James Male, also 22, from Southampton.

They had been returning the 40ft (12m) vessel to Southampton after an Antigua Sailing Week.

Douglas Innes, 42, from Southampton, was convicted of failing to ensure the safety of the vessel following the lengthy trial at Winchester Crown Court.

However the jury trying Innes over the deaths of the four people on board was discharged by trial judge Mr Justice Dingemans after failing to reach verdicts on manslaughter allegations, which they had been deliberating over since Tuesday morning.

Innes and his company Stormforce Coaching Limited were convicted of failing to operate the yacht in a safe manner, contrary to Section 100 of the Merchant Shipping Act.

Innes, a married father-of-two, showed no emotion as the verdicts were announced.

Nigel Lickley QC, prosecuting, said they would be seeking a retrial on the four manslaughter charges and Mr Justice Dingemans released Innes on unconditional bail until a future hearing on a date to be set.

Thanking the jury, which deliberated for 21 hours, Mr Dingemans said: "I will discharge you from considering any more the verdicts in this case.

"May I thank you very much for the sacrifices you have made, your prompt attendance and the diligence and care you have taken when considering this matter."

The Cheeki Rafiki lost its keel as the crew were returning the 40ft yacht from Antigua to the UK in May 2014 when it got into trouble more than 700 miles from Nova Scotia.

The four crew members were skipper Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham in Surrey, James Male, 22, from Southampton, Steve Warren, 52, and Paul Goslin, 56, both from Somerset.

The US Coastguard was criticised for calling off its search after two days but after protests from family and friends and intervention by the British government, the search was re-started and the boat found - but without any sign of the four men.

Mr Lickley told the jury Innes and his company had been in charge of the Cheeki Rafiki, named after a character in the Lion King, for three years.

He said the prosecution case was that the yacht, which had grounded on three occasions in the past three years, had an undetected fault.

He claimed bolts holding the three-tonne keel to the hull failed, causing it to fall off during the bad weather during the voyage.

Mr Lickley also claimed during the trial that the yacht was not appropriately coded - licensed - for the voyage and Innes had chosen an "unsafe" northern route.

Innes told the court any fault with the keel had lain hidden and would not necessarily have been found by an inspector, and that he believed the yacht had not required the coding because he did not consider the journey to be a commercial voyage.

He also denied he had cut costs or tried to save time by sending the yacht back to the UK via the northern route.