Sir Peter Blake's killer says he's sorry

Peter Blake
Sir Peter Blake after Team New Zealand's victory against the Dennis Connor-led US team in San Diego in 1995. Photo credit: Getty

Sir Peter Blake's killer has a message for the Kiwi hero's family: "I'm sorry."

Sixteen years ago, Ricardo Colares Tavares, now 38, and a crew boarded Sir Peter's research boat, shooting the former Team New Zealand skipper.

In an interview behind bars with Fairfax, the shooter has asked for forgiveness.

"I'm sorry," he said. "There is nothing else I can say."

On December 5, 2001, Tavares and his crew boarded Sir Peter's boat the Seamaster, docked in Macapa.

Sir Peter shot at one pirate with a rifle, but when the gun malfunctioned, the 53-year-old was shot in the back. Six months later, Tavares was sentenced to 36 years in prison.

He told Fairfax he had lingering regrets, and assumed Sir Peter was a wealthy tourist.

Tavares was a drug addict by age 16, and soon began offending to support his drug.

He never got to tell his side of the story, he said, and his family had been hounded by the Brazilian press.

"Lots of things happened at that time that weren't taken into account that weren't allowed to be said - I didn't get the chance".

The family's only comment for the interview was that their son was treated like a "psychopath".

"I was exploited; my family was exploited by a sensationalist press that didn't have ethics. Even here in prison we have ethics that we follow."

Of the seven who were convicted of the murder, Tavares is the only one who remains in prison.

Tavares is due for release in 2023 and wants to study.