Fatal helicopter flight crash instructor Ian King jailed

  • 4 February 2013
  • From the section England
Paul and Linda Spencer
Image caption Paul and Linda Spencer had just returned from holiday when they died

A flying instructor has been jailed for six months for lying to get a licence for a millionaire client who later died in a crash.

Ian King was found guilty last month of signing off inaccurate training records for Paul Spencer.

Mr Spencer and his wife Linda died in the crash at Rudding Park, near Harrogate, in January 2008.

King, 53, of Burns Way, Clifford, West Yorkshire, was sentenced by a judge at Leeds Crown Court.

The trial heard that the former Army captain had recorded that Mr Spencer had completed 51 training flying hours against the Civil Aviation Authority's demanded minimum of 45 hours.

'Utter disregard'

Following the crash, a record of Mr Spencer's flying experience was discovered among his papers that was different from the hours recorded in the official log submitted for his licence.

King's trial heard he knew it was false, but certified it to fast-track the process for his student, displaying an "utter disregard" for aviation rules.

The jury found him guilty of making a false representation with intent to deceive the Civil Aviation Authority.

Image caption King had denied making a false representation

Judge Tom Bayliss said King cut corners and was uncooperative throughout the investigation.

He said: "Mr Spencer's logbook was a work of fiction. The missing exercises are difficult exercises, exercises carried out at the end of the training period.

"Your purpose was to deceive the Civil Aviation Authority into granting Paul Spencer a private pilot's licence.

"Your attitude, it seems to me, was one of complete and utter disregard for the Civil Aviation Authority's rules, put in place by them to protect public safety.

"Your actions have cost you dear. You have lost your livelihood. You will never instruct again."

Mr Spencer, 43, and his wife, 59, from Brighouse, had just returned from a holiday in the Caribbean when they were killed.

The couple, who ran Country Baskets, a business which sold dried flowers, were regular visitors to the Rudding Park Hotel.

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