Information on the inquests into the 11 deaths that occurred on the A27 during the Shoreham Airshow on 22 August 2015.

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Read the latest news on the inquest.

Shoreham Airshow crash inquest postponed until 2021

The inquests into the deaths of the 11 men at the Shoreham Aircrash will now be postponed until 2021 to allow families to attend in person.

The full inquest was due to go ahead this autumn, but due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic it has been agreed with the families of the victims that the inquests could not take place safely in open court this September as originally planned. A future date, likely to be in June or September 2021, will be confirmed as soon as possible.

West Sussex Senior Coroner, Penelope Schofield, said: “I have expressed my extreme regret to all the families that there is to be a further delay to proceedings, but I will not be able to hear these inquests, as planned, later this year.

“With 11 bereaved families and several other interested parties, lawyers, press and public it seems likely that well over 150 people would wish to attend court and I anticipate the threat of Covid-19, the potential for its transmission and the consequent disruption of in-person proceedings will not have receded by the Autumn.

“My present view is that these inquests are not ones that are appropriate to be held remotely given the importance to the families of being fully involved in the hearings, the benefits of hearing the first-hand evidence in person and the overall public interest.”

The pre-inquest review hearing is still due to take place on 24 June 2020, however, Ms Schofield has confirmed this will be conducted via a remote hearing.

January 2020

A date has been set for the full inquest of the Shoreham Airshow crash victims by West Sussex Coroner Penelope Schofield.

The full inquest will take place for up to six weeks and is planned to run from Monday 14 September at the Coroners Court, Centenary House, Crawley.

Before the full inquest, there will be one further pre-inquest review, due to take place on Wednesday 24 June, which will be held to agree the list of required witnesses and finalise any other administrative matters.

The dates were announced at a pre-inquest review on Wednesday 29 January held at the Coroners Court in Crawley.

At this hearing the coroner also ruled that she will not be sitting with a Jury: “I have taken into account all the views of the interested persons, but it is my view that there is not sufficient reason for departing from the presumption in schedule 1 para 11(3) Coroners in Justice Act 2009 in favour of me sitting alone without a Jury.

I do accept that this case raises questions on matter of great public importance. However, as a Coroner I will be able to make very detailed and reasoned factual findings, which will be announced publicly. It is my position that public interest can be better served by sitting alone."

August 2019

Following the Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s decision not to re-open investigation into the Shoreham Air Show crash, the West Sussex Coroner has set a date for the next pre-inquest review.

It will take place on Wednesday 29 January at the Coroner’s Court, Centenary House, Crawley.

It is anticipated that the Coroner will be looking to set the dates of the final inquest.

July 2019

A decision on when to hold the inquest into the deaths of 11 people who died following the Shoreham Airshow crash in 2015 has been delayed.

At the pre-inquest review hearing held today at Crawley Coroner’s Court, Coroner Penelope Schofield advised the families that it was not possible to fix the inquest hearing dates. She explained there had been recent correspondence from the Government Legal Service indicating that the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) was now considering whether to reopen its investigation into this air crash.

The Coroner advised that the AAIB would be confirming its position on 2 August 2019.

Should there be a further investigation by AAIB this may cause the inquest to be delayed until the later part of 2020.

The Coroner is aware of the delay and in particular that we are approaching the fourth anniversary of the crash.

West Sussex Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield told the families: “I do appreciate that this is a very difficult time for you and I will do everything I can to get the inquest listed as soon as possible. However, we are very much in the hands of the AAIB and the decision that they make.”

A further pre-inquest will be held later in the year.

April 2019

9 April

At the pre-inquest review hearing held Monday 8 April into the Shoreham air crash, the Coroner indicated to the families that she wanted to be able to set a firm date for the inquest as soon as reasonably practicable.

The review heard that following the conclusion of the criminal trial it is now necessary for the families to be provided with disclosure of the documentation held by Sussex Police. It has not been possible to provide this disclosure until the criminal trial was concluded.

West Sussex Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield told the families: “I will do everything I can to get the inquest listed as soon as possible and find a suitable venue.”

Ms Schofield indicated the first two days of the inquests will be set aside to allow the families to provide the space to remember their loved ones and to share this with the inquest.

A further pre-inquest will be held in July, at which time it is hoped that the final inquest dates will be announced.

5 April

The pre-inquest review into the 11 deaths following the Shoreham air crash will take place on Monday 8 April at 2.00pm at Crawley Town Hall, The Boulevard, Crawley RH10 1UZ.

It is anticipated a decision will be made with regards to the scope and format of the forthcoming inquest with the final dates for the inquest being set.

The criminal trial has concentrated on the actions of the pilot, Andy Hill, but the Coroner at the inquest can consider other wider issues that are linked to the deaths of the 11 people. The coroner may consider, having heard the evidence, whether or not she needs to make any Regulation 28 Reports (prevention of future deaths reports) relating to the organisation and planning of future air shows.

March 2018

A pre-inquest review into the 11 deaths following the Shoreham air crash due to take place on Monday 26 March has been postponed.

West Sussex Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield has taken the decision following the CPS decision to bring charges against the pilot. The Coroner has set the next review for Friday 22 February 2019, to allow for the criminal proceedings.

Due to the nature of the charges, the full inquest must now await the conclusion of the criminal case. The Coroner has said she does not anticipate the full inquest will take place until mid to late 2019 and will continue to keep the matter under review to ensure that the inquests take place as soon as is reasonably possible.

January 2018

The pre-inquest review into the 11 deaths following the Shoreham air crash due to take place on Wednesday 24 January has been postponed.

West Sussex Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield said the Crown Prosecution Service had recently notified her that no decision would be reached before the date of the pre inquest review on whether or not the pilot of the aircraft will be charged with any criminal offences.

The pre inquest review has been rescheduled for Monday 26 March.

The Coroner has informed the families of the new date.

She described the decision to postpone as regrettable, but with no decision from the CPS that little progress could be made.

She indicated she was still working towards holding the full inquest in the autumn if no criminal charges are brought.

The inquest may have to be suspended if the CPS decides to bring criminal charges.

November 2017

The West Sussex Senior Coroner has been told that Sussex Police’s full file into the Shoreham air crash is now with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Penelope Schofield has written to the families of the 11 men killed in the air crash in August 2015 to share the update.

Ms Schofield said: “The full file is now with the CPS and Sussex Police await a CPS decision as to whether or not any criminal charges are to be brought.

“A further update will be provided at the next pre-inquest review hearing scheduled for 24 January 2018.

“I will of course keep the matter under continuous review.”

The Coroner has indicated that the full inquest is still set to be heard in September 2018.

Ms Schofield said the inquest may have to be suspended if the CPS decides to bring criminal charges.

October 2017

West Sussex Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield received an update from Sussex Police informing her that progress has been made in their investigation into the Shoreham air crash.

A further update will be provided by Sussex Police to the Coroner by the end of November.

Eleven men died in the air crash in August 2015.

Ms Schofield said: “In accordance with the Direction given at the Pre Inquest Review Hearing on 20 June 2017 Sussex Police have provided me with an update on their ongoing investigation on 29 September 2017.

“Whilst progress is being made there is no further information to be given out at this time and a further update will be provided to me on 30 November 2017. The families of the deceased are being kept informed.”

The Coroner has indicated that the full inquest is still set to be heard in September 2018.

A third pre-inquest review will take place on Wednesday 24 January at Crawley Coroner’s Court.

Ms Schofield said the inquest may have to be suspended if the CPS decides to bring criminal charges.

June 2017

A second pre-inquest review was held on 20 June 2017 into the deaths of the 11 people who were killed when a Hawker Hunter jet crashed during a display at the Shoreham Airshow on Saturday 22 August 2015.

West Sussex Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield received an update on the current investigations by Sussex Police.

The police revealed their investigation is 95% complete and a file was being submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Coroner set the date for a third pre-inquest review to take place on Wednesday 24 January at Crawley Coroner’s Court and indicated she would like the full inquest to be set for September 2018.

Ms Schofield said the inquest may have to be suspended if the CPS decide to bring criminal charges.

She informed families at the hearing that she was in regular contact with the police about their investigation.

She told them: "I want to assure you I am satisfied that they are moving forward as quickly as they can in quite difficult circumstances and they are hoping to bring their investigation to a conclusion as quickly as possible."

April 2017

The West Sussex Senior Coroner has taken the decision to postpone the Shoreham air crash pre-inquest review due to have taken place on Friday 17 March 2017.

The Coroner, Penelope Schofield, said she had reluctantly taken this step due to the close timing of the release of the Air Accident Investigation Branch final report, which is due in March and the fact that the police investigation is still ongoing.

A new date for the pre-inquest review will be set in due course.

 
Last updated:
4 June 2020
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