Girlfriend 'devastated' as body found in search for boyfriend in Prague

A body was found in the search for Joop Sparkes from Galashiels on Monday, the foreign office confirmed.

Girlfriend ‘devastated’ as body found in search for missing Galashiels man Joop Sparkes in Prague Charley Maben via Supplied

The girlfriend of a man who jumped off a party boat in Prague has said she is “devastated” after a body was discovered on Monday.

Joop Sparkes, 29, reportedly went overboard during an organised party boat trip with friends on the Vltava River at around 1am on Sunday, April 28.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirmed on Monday a British man had died and that it was supporting his family.

His girlfriend, Charley Maben, and members of his family flew out to the Czech capital in an effort to find him, and even rode the party boat themselves to try and get a scope of where Joop could have jumped.

The body of Joop Sparkes was discovered on Monday. Charley Maben via Supplied

She told STV News: “After we had followed the boat on the Friday and Saturday night we noticed it didn’t even go as far as Charles bridge and when it went in that direction it was at the start of the boat party so we knew he hadn’t jumped then.

“We followed the boat and we noticed it would be Stefanikuv Bridge – as that was exactly where the boat was roughly at the time Joop jumped. So the police were looking at the totally wrong bridge which they would know if they investigated the boat properly.”

Charley and Joop’s family were then told that a news article stated a body had been found – in the same area that a Scottish man had jumped.

A Czech detective visited the next evening to tell them Joop’s body had been discovered.

Charley added: “On Sunday night, Jodie received a message from a family member which was a news article which said a body had been found at 7pm and it was the same area where the missing Scot’s man had jumped.

“We then called so many different numbers for the police but no one could speak English. We ended up going to the police station at 11:45pm to try find out if it was Joop. We got no news at this point.

“A detective came the next again day around 11:50pm to confirm it was Joop.

“They didn’t even come in to the apartment to tell us. They made us stand out on the street which was devastating for us all.”

Charley said she is “heartbroken” from the news, and even revealed that she had Joop were planning on traveling to New Zealand this summer – which was his “dream”.

A fundraiser, set up to help bring the 29-year-old’s body home, has raised over £16,000 since being posted.

“Joop is very loved and we will miss him always. We had our whole life planned ahead of us and we were hoping to get to New Zealand in August. It was Joop’s dream”, Charley said.

“I am heartbroken but the support from everyone has been amazing! We are all so grateful.”

An FCDO spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Czech Republic and are in contact with the local authorities.”

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