Pilot pleads not guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter over Shoreham Airshow disaster

Andrew Hill was thrown from the plane during the crash and taken to hospital in a critical condition before being put into an induced coma. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A pilot whose plane crashed during the 2015 Shoreham Airshow, killing 11 men, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

Andrew Hill, 54, faces trial on 11 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence and one of recklessly or negligently endangering an aircraft under air navigation laws.

The defendant, who is on bail, pleaded not guilty to all the charges relating to the crash on August 22, 2015.

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.

He 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.

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.

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.

The Hawker Hunter moments before it hit the A27 at Shoreham in Sussex. Credit: Chris Watkins/ITV Meridian

He wore a grey suit and blue tie for his appearance at the Old Bailey before Judge Richard Marks QC.

The judge set a trial for January 14 2019 and confirmed the case would be heard by a High Court judge.

The trial is expected to go on for up to seven weeks.

The victims were Maurice Rex Abrahams, Dylan Archer, Anthony David Brightwell, Matthew James Grimstone, Matthew Wesley Jones, James Graham Mallinson, Mark Alexander Reeves, Jacob Henry Schilt, Richard Jonathan Smith, Mark James Trussler and Daniele Gaetano Polito.

A memorial board for victims near Shoreham Airport. Credit: PA

Hill, of Sandon, Hertfordshire, is accused of “recklessly or negligently” endangering a Hawker Hunter G-BXFI or any person on that aircraft contrary to Article 137 of the Air Navigation Order 2009.

Judge Marks ordered a pre-trial review at the Old Bailey on a date to be arranged at the end of October.

Hill remains on unconditional bail.