Sussex

Shoreham crash: Police go to High Court to see evidence

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

Police investigating the Shoreham air show disaster have been forced to go to the High Court to see evidence from crash experts.

Det Ch Insp Paul Rymarz said aviation law blocks access to some Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) material.

This includes cockpit recordings and footage, witness accounts and specialist reports.

He told a pre-inquest hearing their inquiry "cannot progress effectively" until the court rules.

Without this material "key evidence is missing and experts are not in a position to provide interpretations".

'Good liaison'

A Hawker Hunter plane crashed into spectators watching the airshow from the A27 at Shoreham last August, killing 11 people.

The pilot, 51-year-old Andrew Hill, survived and has been interviewed under caution.

Mr Rymarz said there was "very good liaison" with the AAIB but police have had to work without its specialist knowledge and key evidence is missing.

Police said 330 statements, 3,500 documents and video and images from more than 200 people now form part of their inquiry.

Image caption Lawyer James Healy-Pratt said bereaved families do not want any corners cut during the investigation

The senior coroner for West Sussex, Penelope Schofield, plans to hold the full inquest in March next year and expects it to last about eight weeks.

But she said there might be a prosecution and that could "add a further delay to the families having some closure".

A lawyer for six of the bereaved families, James Healy-Pratt, of Stewarts Law, told the BBC they want the inquest to be completed but do not want corners cut.

He said: "We know there is key evidence still subject to a High Court dispute or application between the police and the Department of Transport.

Once that is resolved, we hope there will be a full air accident investigation."

A spokesman for the AAIB told the hearing on Tuesday it had released three bulletins about the crash with its final report expected to be published in "early summer".

The coroner adjourned the proceedings for another pre-inquest hearing on 19 September.


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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