Shoreham air crash: Inquest delayed until 'late 2017'

Emergency services at the crash site Image copyright PA
Image caption The Hawker Hunter jet plummeted on to the A27 in August last year

An inquest into the deaths of 11 men at the Shoreham Airshow is not likely for another year, the BBC can reveal.

A pre-inquest review was due to take place on Monday, but has now been postponed until March.

West Sussex County Council said the full inquest was now likely to be held late 2017, but was "very dependent" on the police investigation.

A lawyer representing some of the victims' families described "a measure of frustration" at the news.

A vintage hawker hunter jet crashed on to the A27 during an aerobatic stunt at the Shoreham show in August 2015, killing 11 men.

The pilot, Andrew Hill, 51, survived the crash and is being investigated for manslaughter.

Plans were put in place for the inquest to begin in March, but neither the police investigation nor the full Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) report have yet been published.

Image copyright BBC/Sussex Police/Facebook
Image caption (Top row, left to right) The men who died: 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

Specialist aviation lawyer James Healey Pratt said the victims' families had full confidence in the coroner and the investigation.

He said the pre-inquest hearing was being delayed until March as a decision by the CPS on whether to bring charges was due then.

He also revealed the families had been invited to a meeting in Farnborough on 19 December, at which they would be told the results of the AAIB investigation.

Sussex Police's report is not expected until the new year at the earliest.

West Sussex Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield said the decision to postpone the pre-inquest review was "not taken lightly", particularly as she was anxious to ensure the inquests were dealt with in a timely manner.

But it was anticipated little progress could be made with the police and AAIB report still outstanding, she added.

The victims:

  • 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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