Silence marks Shoreham air disaster first anniversary

Shoreham anniversary Image copyright PA
Image caption Civic leaders and members of the emergency services laid flowers after the minute's silence

Hundreds of people have joined in a minute's silence one year after a vintage jet crashed at Shoreham air show, killing 11 men.

Families and friends of the victims were among those who gathered on Shoreham Toll Bridge at 13:22 BST.

It marked the moment the Hawker Hunter jet crashed nearby, on the A27 in West Sussex.

Sussex Chief Constable Giles York joined the families on the bridge.

Live updates on Shoreham air disaster anniversary

Mr York said police remained committed to "finding answers as to how and why this dreadful thing happened".

Balloons and doves

"The tragedy of the Shoreham air crash still has significant impact for the families who lost loved ones, as well as their friends and across many communities in Sussex," he said.

The Rev Canon Ann Waizeneker read out the names of those who died ahead of the silence.

Civic leaders and members of the emergency services then laid flowers on the bridge, which became the focus of the community's grief in the weeks following the disaster.

Balloons and 11 white doves were also released in memory of the victims.

Image copyright Gareth Fuller
Image caption Balloons and 11 white doves were released as part of the commemorations
Image caption The minute's silence at 13:22 BST marked the moment the jet crashed on the A27
Image caption A steady stream of people laid flowers ahead of the minute's silence

The father of Jacob Schilt, who died with his friend Matt Grimstone as they were on their way to play in a Worthing United football game, said the anniversary was difficult, but in a good way.

"It is very important to mark this occasion for our family and friends and Jacob's friends," Bob Schilt said.

"The community have given so much to us and to the other families and it is very important that we are able to mark the occasion with them as a sort of token of thanks."

Image caption Bob Schilt said it was important for the families to mark the anniversary with the Shoreham community
Image caption Flowers have been laid around the memorial stone on the Toll Bridge for the anniversary
Image caption Staff from Brighton and Hove Albion, where Matthew Grimstone worked, are at the ceremony

The skies above Shoreham's Brighton City Airport, which staged the air show, also fell silent for one hour as a mark of respect.

The aerodrome was closed for all aviation activities between 13:00 BST and 14:00.

Flags are also being flown at half-mast at civic buildings in West Sussex to mark the anniversary.

It follows a service of remembrance on Saturday at St Mary de Haura church.

Pilot of the Hawker Hunter Andy Hill, 52, is at the centre of a manslaughter investigation.

He has been questioned under caution but not arrested.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Former RAF pilot Andy Hill has been questioned by Sussex Police but not arrested
Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the A27 during the air show in August 2015

Sussex Police is awaiting a ruling from the High Court over whether it can have access to Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) material relating to the crash as part of their inquiries.

The final AAIB report is not expected to be published before the autumn.

West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield said a full inquest into the deaths, due to take place in March 2017, is likely to be delayed by the High Court action.

"Everything depends on the High Court hearing due in October - that has to come first," she said.

"Sussex Police then need their experts to look at any evidence that emerges and the CPS need to make a decision on whether any prosecution is appropriate."

The owners of the Hawker Hunter, Canfield Hunter Ltd, have admitted responsibility for the crash and settled two compensation claims from victims' families.

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 Tussler, Daniele Polito, Dylan Archer, Graham Mallinson
  • Matt Jones, 24 - a personal trainer
  • Daniele Polito, 23 - he was travelling in the same car as Mr Jones
  • Matthew Grimstone, 23 - a Worthing United footballer who worked as a grounds man at Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Jacob Schilt, 23 - a Worthing United player travelling to a match with Mr Grimstone
  • Maurice Abrahams, 76 - a chauffeur on his way to pick up a bride on her wedding day
  • Richard Smith, 26, and Dylan Archer, 42 - friends who were going for a bike ride on the South Downs
  • Mark Reeves, 53 - he had taken his motorcycle to the perimeter of Shoreham Airport to take photos of the planes
  • Tony Brightwell, 53, - an aircraft enthusiast who had learned to fly at Shoreham airfield
  • Mark Trussler, 54 - thought to have been riding his motorcycle on the A27
  • Graham Mallinson, 72 - a keen photographer and retired engineer

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