Will Shoreham Airshow continue? Organiser says it is 'far too early' to discuss event's future

A memorial service held to remember the 11 men that died in the Shoreham Airshow crash
A memorial service held to remember the 11 men that died in the Shoreham Airshow crash

An organiser of the Shoreham Airshow has said it was 'far too early' to say whether the event will be returning.

Andy Hill, of Standon Road, Buntingford, Hertfordshire, had been flying a Hawker Hunter jet at the 2015 event when it crashed onto the A27, killing 11 men.

After a lengthy trial, the jury cleared him of 11 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence at the Old Bailey on Friday.

The event has not been held since 2015.

Colin Baker, chairman of directors of the airshow, said he would not comment on the outcome of the court case but passed on his continued condolences to the families of the victims.

Asked whether the airshow would be returning following the not guilty verdict, he said: "It is far too early for us to make a decision on that, and it won't be for us to make that decision alone.

"The inquest process will start now, which was on hold until the trial was completed.

"Until that is over, I think it would be most unwise for us to consider another airshow, and it won't be for us to make the absolute decision. The police, fire service, the local authorities, indeed the airport itself will have a say.

"We will also have to see what the population in and around Shoreham feels about it as well."

Eleven men died in the tragedy. They were: Maurice Abrahams, 76, of Brighton; Dylan Archer, 42, of Brighton; Anthony Brightwell, 53, of Hove; Matthew Grimstone, 23, of Brighton; Matthew Jones, 24, of Littlehampton; Graham Mallinson, 72, of Newick; Daniele Polito, 23, of Goring; Mark Reeves, 53, of Seaford; Jacob Schilt, 23, of Brighton; Richard Smith, 26, of Hove and Mark Trussler, 54, of Worthing.

Mr Baker said: "We feel it would be a shame if the airshow ends on this very difficult note, but we fully understand and sympathise with the families of those that were killed and injured. Our hearts go out to them.

"We have suffered to some extent, but nothing like they have suffered. We have stayed very quiet for a long time because we never thought it was up to us to make comment.

"But now we know the decision of the court, the next phase will be the inquest, and it would be a mistake to make a comment on [the future of the airshow] until that is over."