Shoreham air crash pilot Andy Hill will face court charged with manslaughter, the families of the 11 victims were told this evening (Wednesday 21 March).
The 11 victims – six of them from Brighton and Hove – died when Hill, flying a vintage Hawker Hunter jet aircraft, crashed at the Shoreham air show on Saturday 22 August 2015.
The families of the 11 men were invited to a meeting with Sussex Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) at the police headquarters in Lewes this evening where they were told the news.
Simon Ringrose, of the CPS special crime division, said: “Following a careful review of the evidence, I have found that there is sufficient evidence to charge Andrew Hill with the manslaughter by gross negligence of the 11 men who died.
“I have also authorised a further charge against Mr Hill of endangering an aircraft, contrary to article 137 of the Air Navigation Order 2009.”
Hill, 53, of Sandon Road, Sandon, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 19 April.
The inquest into the 11 deaths will be further postponed until after the criminal case is over.
The decision to charge Hill, who turns 54 tomorrow (Thursday 22 March), ends a wait of more than two and a half years for the families.
East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton said: “Frankly, it’s taken too long and those families have been left in limbo.”
The decision comes two years after the final report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), part of the Department for Transport.
A 17-month investigation by the AAIB found that Hill was flying the 1955 aircraft too slowly and too low during a loop the loop, which ended with the jet crashing on to the A27.
It also found that the organisers had failed to take adequate measures to mitigate the effects of a crash outside the air show boundary. The air show has not taken place since.
The AAIB made 32 safety recommendations to the Civil Aviation Authority, including 10 in the final report which was published in March 2016.
The 11 who died in the air crash were
Maurice Abrahams, 76, of Brighton
Dylan Archer, 42, of Brighton
Tony Brightwell, 53, of Hove
Matt Grimstone, 23, of Brighton
Matt Jones, 24, of Littlehampton
Graham Mallinson, 72, of Newick
Daniele Polito, 23, of Goring
Mark Reeves, 53, of Seaford
Jacob Schilt, 23, of Brighton
Richard Smith, 26, of Hove
Mark Trussler, 54, of Worthing
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