Sussex

Shoreham crash pilot facing possible manslaughter charge over 11 dead

Andy Hill Image copyright PA
Image caption Former RAF pilot Andy Hill, from Sandon in Hertforshire, was thrown clear as his jet plummeted on to the A27

A pilot whose vintage jet crashed at the Shoreham Airshow, killing 11 people, is being investigated for manslaughter, police have confirmed.

Former RAF pilot Andy Hill, 52, was interviewed under caution by police in December, after recovering from critical injuries in the 2015 crash.

The details emerged in papers filed by Sussex Police in its High Court bid to access evidence.

Mr Hill's Hawker Hunter crashed into four pieces, hitting people on the A27.

Sussex Police said: "A 52-year-old man was notified in December he is being investigated for possible endangerment pursuant to Article 138 Air Navigation Order 2009 and also manslaughter by gross negligence."

'Hugely insensitive'

As part of its inquiry, the force has applied to see material gathered by the Air Accident Investigation Branch including cockpit recorders from the vintage Hawker Hunter and other footage.

Mr Hill was taken to the Royal Sussex County hospital in Brighton after the crash on 22 August and placed in a medically-induced coma. He was later moved to a specialist hospital.

BBC Sussex revealed last December the pilot voluntarily attended an appointment at a police station in Hertfordshire and was not arrested.

Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said the families of the victims were having to wait too long to get to the truth.

"I am most concerned that it has taken so long to get to this point," he said.

He added the families should not have had to find out about the manslaughter investigation through the media.

"The families need some sort of closure, to find out about this in the press is hugely insensitive and I really feel for them."

Det Ch Insp Paul Rymarz, who is leading the investigation, said it was "completely incorrect" to say the families had only learnt of the information through the media.

"Throughout, we have kept all of the victims' families up-to-date with the progress of the investigation as we seek to provide answers as to what happened on that dreadful day.

"They were advised some months ago of the content of the legal appeal and that the man had been notified in December that he is being investigated for possible endangerment pursuant to Article 138 Air Navigation Order 2009 and also manslaughter by gross negligence," he said.


The victims:

Image copyright BBC/Sussex Police/Facebook
Image caption (Top row, left to right) Matt Jones, Matthew Grimstone, Jacob Schilt, Maurice Abrahams, Richard Smith. (Bottom row, left to right) Mark Reeves, Tony Brightwell, Mark Trussler, Daniele Polito, Dylan Archer, Graham Mallinson
  • Matt Jones, a 24-year-old personal trainer
  • Matthew Grimstone, 23, a Worthing United footballer who worked as a groundsman at Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Jacob Schilt, also 23 and also a Worthing United player, was travelling to a match with Mr Grimstone
  • Maurice Abrahams, 76, from Brighton, was a chauffeur on his way to pick up a bride on her wedding day
  • Friends Richard Smith, 26, and Dylan Archer, 42, who were going for a bike ride on the South Downs
  • Mark Reeves, 53, had ridden his motorcycle to the perimeter of Shoreham Airport to take photos of the planes
  • Tony Brightwell, 53, from Hove was an aircraft enthusiast and had learnt to fly at Shoreham airfield
  • Mark Trussler, 54, is thought to have been riding his motorcycle on the A27
  • Daniele Polito was travelling in the same car as Mr Jones
  • Graham Mallinson, 72, from Newick, was a keen photographer and retired engineer

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