Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Shoreham airshow disaster pilot Andy Hill to be charged with manslaughter following death of 11

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

Andy Hill, the pilot who was in the cockpit of the Shoreham air disaster plane when it crashed is to be charged with manslaughter by gross negligence.

Eleven men were killed and 16 other people were injured when the Hawker Hunter aircraft crashed into the A27 in on August 22, 2015.

On Wednesday, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that they would charge Hill with "manslaughter by gross negligence of the 11 men who died" and a further charge of endangering an aircraft.

Those who died in the crash were either in cars travelling along the A37 or were pedestrians.

They are:

  • Wedding chauffeur Maurice Abrahams, 76, from Brighton
  • Retired engineer James Mallinson, 72, from Newick, near Lewes
  • Builder Mark Trussler, 54, from Worthing
  • Cycling friends Dylan Archer, 42, from Brighton, and Richard Smith, 26, from Hove
  • NHS manager Tony Brightwell, 53, from Hove
  • Grandfather Mark Reeves, 53, from Seaford
  • Worthing United footballers Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23
  • Personal trainer Matt Jones, 24, from Worthing
  • Daniele Polito, 23, from Worthing
Eleven men died when the plane crashed on to the A27. Credit: ITV Meridian

In March 2017, the final report into the incident concluded that Hill was flying "too low" and "too slow" to perform his stunt and failed to do the necessary escape manoeuvre before the crash.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) also found that the 53-year-old remained conscious throughout the flight but was untrained in escape manoeuvres, which would have still been possible before he plummeted into traffic.

They found a "lack of provisions" by the organisers to protect an area outside their control had increased the severity of the West Sussex disaster before the loop-the-loop stunt went fatally wrong.

As a result of the Shoreham disaster, safety regulations at UK air shows were tightened.

Along with the 11 fatalities, 16 people were injured when the jet plummeted onto the A27. Credit: PA

Hill, from Hertfordshire, trained with the RAF before going into commercial aviation and was once a pilot for British Airways.

He was authorised by the Civil Aviation Authority to fly the Hawker Hunter aircraft and had racked up dozens of hours in the plane between May 2011 and August 2015 - almost 10 of which were in the three months leading up to the crash.

Andy Hill trained with the RAF before going into commercial aviation. Credit: PA

Hill was thrown from the plane during the crash and taken to hospital in a critical condition before being put into an induced coma. He was discharged in September 2015.

Fellow pilot David Wildridge told the Chichester Observer at the time of the crash: “Andy Hill was a British Airways captain and very well thought of.

“He is a highly experienced pilot, well-known and well-loved. He is highly professional and it is totally unusual for this to happen.

“He was a Harrier pilot in the air force. They are the top RAF pilots - the best of the best."

A fireball from the crash was seen by spectators at the show. Credit: PA

Hill, who turns 54 on Thursday, will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on April 19.

If convicted, Hill could face a lengthy jail sentence, since manslaughter by gross negligence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, while the charge of endangering an aircraft can incur a jail term of up to five years.