Shoreham Air Disaster: Criminal Investigation into pilot almost complete

The criminal investigation into the pilot involved in the Shoreham air disaster is "95% complete", police have said.

Eleven men were killed when a vintage Hawker Hunter jet plummeted on to the A27 in West Sussex during a loop-the-loop stunt at the Shoreham Airshow on August 22, 2015.

Pilot Andrew Hill, 53, is being investigated for possible manslaughter by gross negligence and he has been questioned voluntarily under caution by police.

Detective Superintendent Adam Hibbert of Sussex Police gave an update on the force's inquiry during a pre-inquest review hearing into the crash.

He said: "The police investigation is now some 95% complete and following our recent meeting with the Crown Prosecution Service, an initial file is now being drawn up and I can confirm that process is under way.

"We continue to talk with the families and I'm extremely grateful for their continued support and patience in what continues to be upsetting circumstances for them all."

He told the hearing at Centenary House, Crawley, that a "conservative estimate" is that 25,000 documents in relation to the inquiry are now held on the force's database.

West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield said the inquest may have to be suspended pending the outcome of any criminal prosecution, but assured the families present at the hearing that "I am monitoring the police investigation".

Setting a date for a further pre-inquest review on January 24 next year, Ms Schofield said: "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."

Gerard Forlin QC, speaking on behalf of all the families of the victims after the hearing, said: "The families are understandably very disappointed. This matter took place over 22 months ago.

"However what they want is a full, frank, thorough and fearless investigation into this incident, and of course for that they will wait as patiently as they can."

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