Angry tears as wrenching video shown at S. Korea ferry trial

Angry tears as wrenching video shown at S. Korea ferry trial
Family members of passengers aboard the sunken ferry Sewol struggle with a security officer (R), while attempting to attend a trial of the ferry's crew members at Gwangju District Court in Gwangju June 10, 2014.

GWANGJU, South Korea - Relatives of the victims of South Korea's ferry disaster wept in court Tuesday as prosecutors played wrenching cellphone video footage from inside the sinking vessel during the murder trial of the captain and crew.

There were angry scenes in the courtroom in the southern city of Gwangju, with irate family members repeatedly shouting abuse at the 15 defendants and demanding they all be sentenced to death.

In the morning session, prosecutors showed video from coastguard boats and helicopters of the last moments of the 6,825-tonne Sewol ferry as it listed and then capsized on April 16 with the loss of around 300 lives.

Among the dead were some 250 students from the same high school in Ansan city just south of Seoul.

Dozens of family members inside the court wept openly at the scenes of passengers desperately trying to escape the ship.

The tears turned to angry jeers as the video showed close-up shots of the captain and some crew members jumping from the sinking ferry into a rescue boat.

"You sons of bitches! I'll kill you!" one woman shouted at the dock.

Captain Lee Joon-Seok and three senior crew members are accused of "homicide through wilful negligence" - a charge that can carry the death penalty.

The 11 other crew are being tried on lesser violations of maritime law.

As well as abandoning the ferry while hundreds were still trapped inside, the crew were condemned for ordering passengers to remain where they were when the ship began listing.

'They are human scum'

The atmosphere in the courtroom was highly charged. At one point the mother of one student victim rushed out in tears and could be heard weeping loudly in the hallway.

As the court adjourned for lunch, one of the fathers stood and began to harangue the judge.

"The evidence is clear. They are human scum!" the father shouted. "We should just drown them all," he said, pointing to the defendants. "Why do we need more evidence?" Even as the judge admonished him for the outburst, other relatives joined in and one woman had to be restrained as she tried to hurl her shoes at the accused.

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