North West Wales

Caernarfon Airport fatal plane crash pilot a 'lovely man'

Wreckage of light aircraft on runway at Caernarfon Airport
Image caption The wreckage of the light aircraft on the airfield

A pilot who was killed when his plane crashed in Gwynedd has been named locally as John Backhouse.

The 62-year-old, of Antrobus, Cheshire, died when the light aircraft hit the runway at Caernarfon Airport and burst into flames on Wednesday.

The businessman, a former Liverpool councillor, was described by friends as a "lovely man".

North Wales Police has not formally identified the pilot but said his family had been informed.

The force, along with the Air Accident Investigation Branch, is investigating the crash.

It is understood Mr Backhouse had been flying his Piper PA-31 Navajo twin-engined aircraft from his private airstrip near Northwich to the Republic of Ireland.

It crashed at about 18:30 BST on Wednesday, after the airfield in Caernarfon had closed.

Image copyright
Image caption John Backhouse's Piper Navajo - seen here parked on his grass airstrip in Cheshire - crashed on Wednesday

Mike Crabtree, Mr Backhouse's neighbour, said he had been a married father-of-three who was a proficient pilot "obsessed with flying".

Mr Crabtree said the businessman had been travelling to Dublin, where he had an office, at the time of the crash.

"It's very sad. All the neighbours are very shocked," he added.

Mr Backhouse, a law graduate who specialised in tax accountancy, was prominent in the Conservative party in Liverpool in the 1980s and 1990s.

He stood as the Conservative candidate in Liverpool West Derby in the 1987 general election and fought the Liverpool Garston seat in 1992.

'It's so sad'

After the 1992 local elections, he was one of just two Conservative councillors on Liverpool City Council.

He was also previously a co-director of an aviation company based in Widnes, along with the late Sir Phillip Carter, a former chairman of Everton football club.

Stephen Yip, the founder of Liverpool charity, Kids In Need and Distress (KIND) - of which Mr Backhouse had previously been a patron - described him as a "great asset, a supporter and a friend".

"He was a lovely man and I have fond memories of him. It's so sad for him to pass in this manner," he said.

"He loved flying and would tell amazing stories about where he'd been."

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