Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 inquest rules five British victims were unlawfully killed

An inquest into the deaths of five British people who were killed when a passenger plane was brought down over East Ukraine has ruled that the atrocity was carried out by pro-Russian separatists.

In total, 298 people died when flight Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in July 2014.

A total of 10 of those on board were British, including the five subject to an inquest after their bodies were repatriated.

Among them was Richard Mayne, from Leicester, and Ben Pocock, a student at Loughborough University.

Richard was a former deputy head boy at Dixie Grammar School in Market Bosworth who had recently gone to study at Leeds University.

Ben, who was originally from Bristol, was heading to Australia for six months of travelling.

Liam Sweeney, 28, who was travelling with his friend John Alder to see their team Newcastle United play in New Zealand.

49-year-old Glenn Thomas - a Blackpool-born press officer at the World Health Organization in Geneva

The inquest held at Leicester's City Hall today began with individual tributes to the victims.

Giving evidence to the coroner on Friday, Detective Chief Superintendent Dominic Murphydescribed how a Dutch Safety Board Inquiry found a Buk missile system had downedMH17.

Mr Murphy told the hearing, which was held without a jury: "MH17 departed Amsterdam and had been flying for around three hours when it lost contact with air traffic control.

"At that time a missile launching system was fired from a field in Ukraine.

"It actually detonated on the upper left side, in front of the cockpit of the aircraft.

"Fragments (of the missile) penetrated the left side of the cockpit... a pressure wave caused the fuselage to break up and caused the crash.

"That missile system appears to have been smuggled over the border into Ukraine from the Russian Federation on the 16th and 17th of July overnight."

The inquest was told the four defendants being tried in their absence were linked to a pro-Russian armed group.

Leicester Coroner Professor Catherine Mason was told four individuals linked to a Donetsk-based Russian separatist group have refused to attend a trial pending in The Hague, at which they are accused of responsibility for the attack.

MH17 was flying at around 33,000ft and was in a space which had not beensubject to restrictions by any government agency.