Pilot Andy Hill found not guilty over Shoreham Airshow crash tragedy

Pilot Andy Hill has been found not guilty
Pilot Andy Hill has been found not guilty

Shoreham Airshow pilot Andy Hill has been found not guilty by a jury.

After a seven week trial the jury at the Old Bailey has announced its verdict.

Hill, 54, of Standon Road, Buntingford, was charged with 11 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

He had been flying a Hawker Hunter jet in 2015 when it crashed onto the A27 and led to the deaths of 11 people.

Today the jury in his trial found him not guilty on all counts.

Families react to the verdict

Families affected by the tragedy will now turn to the inquest in their search for answers, a lawyer representing 17 of those affected has said.

Rebecca Smith, an expert aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Now that the criminal proceedings have concluded attention will now turn to the Inquest where the entirety of the Shoreham Airshow tragedy can be fully examined.

“While the criminal trial purely looked into the actions of the pilot involved, the Inquest will be able to investigate the wider organisation and planning of the event including the safety precautions taken, the aircraft involved, location of spectators and the management of the pilots.

“While there have been some recommendations from the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) following their early reports, it is only once the whole event has been examined at the Inquest that lessons can be fully learned to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

“Hopefully then the families and those affected will finally have all the answers they need to be able to begin to move on from this tragedy.”

A new date for the inquest has yet to be confirmed by the Coroner.

A pre-inquest review, which was due to take place on February 22 but was postponed due to the ongoing trial, has been set for April 8.

‘It will always remain a tragedy’

Reacting to today’s verdict, councillor Neil Parkin, Leader of Adur District Council, said: “What happened at the Shoreham Airshow in 2015 was a tragedy and will always remain a tragedy.

“I know first hand that the events on that summer’s day nearly four years ago continue to have a profound impact on everyone who has a connection with our communities.

“Whatever the verdict from the trial at the Old Bailey, nothing was going to bring those 11 men back.

“My thoughts today are with the families of those who died, as well as the first responders and everyone who was affected by the incident.

“As a Council we will continue to provide support where we can.

“We also are continuing to lead on the creation of the Shoreham Airshow memorial which will become a permanent fitting tribute on the banks of the Adur to everyone affected by the events of August 22, 2015.”

11 men died in the tragedy in 2015. They were:

• Maurice Rex Abrahams, 76 of Brighton

• Dylan Archer, 42 of Brighton

• Anthony David Brightwell, 53 of Hove

• Matthew Grimstone, 23 of Brighton

• Matthew Wesley Jones, 24 of Littlehampton

• James Graham Mallinson, 72 of Newick

• Daniele Gaetano Polito, 23 of Goring by Sea

• Mark Alexander Reeves, 53 of Seaford

• Jacob Henry Schilt, 23 of Brighton

• Richard Jonathan Smith, 26 of Hove

• Mark James Trussler, 54 of Worthing.