Shoreham Airshow crash: parents of Littlehampton victim 'devastated' by not guilty verdict

The parents of a Littlehampton man who was among the 11 killed in the Shoreham Airshow crash have reacted to news that the pilot has been found not guilty of manslaughter.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 3:27 pm
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 4:20 pm
Matthew Grimstone was among the 11 men killed in the tragedy

Today, Andy Hill was cleared of all charges by the jury at the Old Bailey in London following a seven-week trial.

Matthew Grimstone, 23, from Littlehampton, was among the 11 killed on August 22, 2015 when a Hawker Hunter jet flown by Mr Hill crashed into the A27 after a failed loop manoeuvre.

The Worthing United footballer, who worked as a groundsman at Brighton & Hove Albion, was travelling to a match with Jacob Schilt when they died.

Andy Hill

Speaking after the jury returned their verdict, Sue and Phil Grimstone reacted to the news.

In a statement released by Sussex Police which was read out on BBC radio today, they said: "Obviously we are devastated about the verdict that was reached in this case. There is no justice for our son Matthew and the 11 men who died in tragic circumstances.

"We were always told by police that to prove guilty due to gross negligence, the bar is set very high.

"Despite having compelling evidence from the cockpit footage and expert witnesses, this was not enough."

Flowers were laid in tribute at Shoreham Tollbridge

Mr Hill's defence lawyers argued that he was temporarily mentally impaired due to the G-forces involved in the loop manoeuvre.

Mr and Mrs Grimstone felt that lessons needed to be learnt by this case.

They said: "We are allowing any form of aerobatics to be performed when there is doubt now concerning any pilot's ability to avoid becoming cognitively impaired from the normal G-forces that would be experienced during an aerobatic display. It leaves questions to be asked.

"Matthew had no interest in airshows, he couldn't have cared less - and knowing he died because an aircraft was being flown for fun for the entertainment of others makes it even harder to bear.

"It has to be remembered that this is a leisure industry, not a necessity."