Coroner refuses to rule out wrongful deaths in Shoreham crash investigation

A CORNER has refused to rule out whether those killed in the Shoreham airshow disaster were victims of unlawful killings.

Around 11 people died and 15 others were injured when a former military aircraft crashed onto the A27 in Shoreham during an aerial display in 2015. It was the deadliest air show accident in Britain in more than 60 years.

The pilot of the plane, Andy Hill, had asked the coroner, in a long-awaited inquest, to rule out a conclusion of unlawful killing before hearing evidence.

Mr Hill was acquitted of manslaughter by a jury, with an inquest into the deaths of 11 men killed in the crash due to begin in November.

However, coroner Penelope Schofield, in a review ahead of the Horsham inquest, said she would not shut down any possible conclusions until evidence was heard.

She said: “It would be extremely unusual for a coroner to close his mind to every aspect.

“I’ve been asked to take this unusual step so he doesn’t have the long-standing fear.

“I don’t think that’s enough.

“I am not prepared to make a decision before or at any time prior to the completion of the investigation.”

Lawyers for the families affected by the crash said they were surprised to hear that Mr Hill had written to the coroner’s office asking them to rule out unlawful killings before the inquest began.

Bridget Dolan QC, Counsel for the Inquiry, said eyewitnesses who suffered severe trauma during the disaster need to be treated very carefully.

“Witnesses have experienced a lot of trauma.

“One person talks about having to take his clothes off because he had blood on his clothes that weren’t his and having to drive home in his underwear.

“Others speak of the guilt of the survivors.”

The coroner is expected to present her conclusions just before Christmas this year. Coroner refuses to rule out wrongful deaths in Shoreham crash investigation

Fry Electronics Team

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