Petition demands legal aid for Shoreham airshow tragedy families
A petition calling for the families of the Shoreham airshow tragedy victims to be given legal aid has been signed more than four thousand times.
Claire Miles, whose nephew Daniele Polito was the youngest of the 11 men who died, said she was surprised by the ‘great response’ it had received.
She said she was spurred on to start the petition after watching Tim Loughton MP tell the House of Commons that the decision by the Legal Aid Agency not to extend funding to the families was ‘inequitable’.
The 61-year-old, of Highclere Way, Durrington, said: “Having to watch my sister struggle without any answers and no finality to it...it’s awful for the whole family.
“You’re living with it every day.
“Everybody needs closure now, so that they can breathe and carry on.”
She said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the family had been refused funding for a representative at the inquest from the exceptional cases fund.
“This is exactly why it was started up in the first place,” she said.
“Everybody else when they go to the courts will have a representative.
“None of the families will. It’s not something they should have to find the money to pay for. It should be funded.”
Claire’s nephew Daniele was just 23 when he was killed while travelling in a car after a Hawker Hunter jet crashed into the A27 during an airshow display in 2015.
Claire said: “He was so full of life, and all of a sudden he was gone.”
His death left his two boys fatherless and Claire said his eldest son Georgio ‘misses him dreadfully’.
She said his mother, her sister Leslye Polito who lives in Goring, was trying her best to cope with the tragedy.
“She paints on a smile,” Claire said. “But she’s lost her youngest child.”
As a mother of two herself, Claire said: “It’s absolutely dreadful. I can’t imagine how she feels.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of losing one of my children.”
Claire’s sons, aged 27 and 31, were ‘always very close’ with Daniele and were ‘devastated’ by his death.
Claire said of the petition: “It’s not been going that long and it’s done amazingly well in a short time.
“It shows how many people feel the same way as we do, and people from all over the world – not just locally.”
Tim Loughton MP said: “It is clear there is very widespread support for the Legal Aid Agency to change its view.
“I applaud the initiative of one of the relatives setting up a petition which has now attracted over 4000 signatures in very short order.
“I will be bringing this to the attention of the new Justice Minister responsible when I meet her later this week.”