Shoreham Airshow disaster: Coroner pens date for inquest hearing following tragedy

A CORONER has fixed a date for an inquest hearing into the deaths of 11 victims killed during the Shoreham Airshow tragedy.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 3:48 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd August 2019, 5:07 pm
The horrifying moment the Hawker Hunter jet crashed into the A27 during the Shoreham Airshow in 2015. Photo by Derek Martin

West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield has earmarked Wednesday, January 29, as the next date for a pre-inquest review.

It is anticipated the hearing, due to be held at the coroners’ court in Crawley, will seek to set the dates of the final inquest.

The news came after the Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s decision not to re-open the investigation into the Shoreham Air Show tragedy.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The disaster took place on Saturday, August 22, when a Hawker Hunter jet plummeted onto the A27, killing 11 people.

Among the victims was 26-year-old Richard Smith, who used to work at a bike shop in Cosham before moving to Hove.

Andrew Hill, the jet’s pilot, was cleared of manslaughter following a trial at London’s Old Bailey.

The 54-year-old had been attempting to perform a loop when disaster struck during his display.

During his trial, prosecutors had claimed Mr Hill had a ‘cavalier attitude’ to safety and had previously taken unnecessary risks during airshows.

But his defence team claimed he had been affected by the G-forces which had caused a subtle ‘cognitive impairment’ related to hypoxia and the jury returned unanimous not guilty verdicts.

Leslye Polito, who lost her son Daniele in the crash, was horrified by the result and said: ‘I feel extremely disappointed, very upset and primarily let down by the justice system when someone who has clearly made some very bad errors of judgement is allowed to walk free.’