Emiliano Sala: Jury sent out in trial of pilot who organised fatal flight

David Henderson is on trial at Cardiff Crown Court Credit: PA

The jury in the trial of a businessman accused over a plane crash that killed Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala has been sent out to consider its verdict.

The plane carrying 28-year-old Sala crashed into the English Channel off the coast of Guernsey in January 2019.

Sala was making the trip from French club Nantes to Cardiff City, who had signed him in a multimillion-pound transfer deal.

The Argentinian striker and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, both died in the crash.

The aircraft operator, David Henderson, 67, arranged the flight with former football agent William “Willie” McKay, but was unable to fly the plane himself because he was away with his wife in Paris, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Instead, he asked Mr Ibbotson, who regularly flew for him despite not holding a commercial pilot’s licence or a qualification to fly at night, to take the flight.

Mr Ibbotson’s rating to fly the American Piper Malibu aircraft had also expired.

The jury has heard how moments after he found out the plane had gone down, Henderson texted a number of people telling them to stay silent.

Cardiff City fans mourned the death of Sala who never got to make an appearance for the club Credit: PA

Henderson told the court he feared an investigation into his business arrangements.

He is accused of endangering the safety of an aircraft in a prosecution brought by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Henderson has already pleaded guilty to a separate offence of attempting to discharge a passenger without valid permission or authorisation.

Judge Mr Justice Foxton has sent the jury out to begin its deliberations at around 11am.

Just before 2:30pm, the judge told the courtroom the jury still had not reached a verdict, adding he is “inclined to give them a little longer".

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