Shoreham air disaster police probe '95% complete'

Emergency services at the crash site Image copyright PA
Image caption The Hawker Hunter jet plummeted on to the A27 in August 2015

The police investigation into the Shoreham air disaster in which 11 men died is 95% complete, a pre-inquest hearing has been told.

Det Supt Adam Hibbert told the hearing in Crawley a file was being submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Sussex Police has been investigating pilot Andy Hill, 53, for possible manslaughter by gross negligence.

The date for the full inquest into the 2015 crash, which saw a jet plummet on to the A27, has been set for next year.

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Det Supt Hibbert told the hearing that a "conservative estimate" was that 25,000 documents in relation to the police investigation were now held on the force's database.

"We continue to talk with the families and I'm extremely grateful for their continued support and patience in what continues to be upsetting circumstances for them all," he said.

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

Mr Hill has been questioned voluntarily under caution by police.

The vintage Hawker Hunter jet crashed on to the dual carriageway while performing a looping manoeuvre during the Shoreham Airshow nearly two years ago.

West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield said the inquest may have to be suspended pending the outcome of any criminal prosecution.

But she assured families at the hearing that she was was monitoring the police investigation.

She told them: "I want to assure you I am satisfied that they are moving forward as quickly as they can in quite difficult circumstances and they are hoping to bring their investigation to a conclusion as quickly as possible."

Speaking on behalf of the families after the hearing, Gerard Forlin QC said the families were very disappointed.

He said the crash had taken place more than 22 months ago.

"However what they want is a full, frank, thorough and fearless investigation into this incident," he added. "And of course for that they will wait as patiently as they can."

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

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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