Tuesday 6 December 2016

Shoreham air crash coroner tells victims' families: 'I will conduct a full and fearless inquiry'

Tom Pugh

Published 02/09/2015 | 13:23

Undated handout photos of Shoreham air crash victims (clockwise from top left) Mark Trussler, Maurice Abrahams, Dylan Archer, Richard Smith, Mark Reeves, Matt Jones, Tony Brightwell and Matthew Grimstone, as an inquest into the deaths of the 11 air disaster victims is set to open. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday September 2, 2015. See PA story INQUEST Crash. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Undated handout photos of Shoreham air crash victims (clockwise from top left) Mark Trussler, Maurice Abrahams, Dylan Archer, Richard Smith, Mark Reeves, Matt Jones, Tony Brightwell and Matthew Grimstone, as an inquest into the deaths of the 11 air disaster victims is set to open. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday September 2, 2015. See PA story INQUEST Crash. Photo credit should read: PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Undated handout photo issued by Sussex Police of Graham Mallinson, who has been named as the last victim of the Shoreham air disaster. Sussex Police/PA Wire

The family of the last victim of the Shoreham air disaster to be named have said he was in the "right place at the wrong time".

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Relatives of retired engineer James Graham Mallinson, 72, spoke as a coroner vowed to conduct "a full and fearless" inquiry into the crash during the Shoreham Airshow on August 22.

West Sussex senior coroner Penelope Schofield opened and adjourned the inquest into the 11 deaths at a hearing in Horsham.

As it started, the family of Mr Mallinson, known as Graham and from Newick, near Lewes, said he went to Shoreham to photograph one of the last Vulcan bomber flights.

Undated family handout photos issued by Sussex Police of Shoreham air crash victim Richard Smith, 26, who along with his friend Dylan Archer, 42, were heading on a cycle ride in the South Downs.Family Handout/PA Wire
NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Undated family handout photos issued by Sussex Police of Shoreham air crash victim Richard Smith, 26, who along with his friend Dylan Archer, 42, were heading on a cycle ride in the South Downs.Family Handout/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

In a statement, they said: "He was the kindest and most generous man who regularly gave his time to help others.

"Always loyal and reliable, he was a private and loving family man with a great sense of humour.

"A very caring husband and father who was dearly loved, he will be very sorely missed by all his family and the wide circle of friends who had the good fortune to know him."

A lifetime member of the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex, Mr Mallinson had recently developed an interest in photographing vintage aircraft.

Undated family handout photos issued by Sussex Police of Shoreham air crash victim Dylan Archer, 42, who along with his friend Richard Smith, 26, were heading on a cycle ride in the South Downs. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday August 30, 2015. See PA story AIR Crash. Photo credit should read: Family Handout/PA Wire
NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Undated family handout photos issued by Sussex Police of Shoreham air crash victim Dylan Archer, 42, who along with his friend Richard Smith, 26, were heading on a cycle ride in the South Downs. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday August 30, 2015. See PA story AIR Crash. Photo credit should read: Family Handout/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Undated family handout photo issued by Sussex Police of Tony Brightwell who has been named as among at least 11 victims to have died when a Hawker Hunter jet crashed on the A27. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday August 28, 2015. See PA story AIR Crash. Photo credit should read: Sussex Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

His relatives said: "He was at the right place at the wrong time, doing what he loved best on a beautiful summer's day."

All the victims' identities were officially confirmed before a minute's silence was held during the half-hour hearing.

Some families of those who died attended the opening of the inquiry while others chose to be represented by their police family liaison officer.

As inquiries continue by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and Sussex Police, Ms Schofield adjourned the case for a pre-inquest review to be held on March 22.

Candles and flowers left during a candlelit vigil on the Adur Ferry Bridge in Shoreham, Sussex, in memory of the victims of the Shoreham Airshow crash. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 29, 2015. See PA story AIR Crash. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Candles and flowers left during a candlelit vigil on the Adur Ferry Bridge in Shoreham, Sussex, in memory of the victims of the Shoreham Airshow crash. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 29, 2015. See PA story AIR Crash. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The coroner said: "I will conduct a full and fearless inquiry as the law requires, but as you can imagine this will take time for the various agencies to report to me."

The full inquest was provisionally set for next June - before the first anniversary of the disaster, Ms Schofield added.

After the names were read out, she said: "This was the single largest loss of life on my jurisdiction since I took up office in 2008."

It happened during the Shoreham Airshow when a vintage Hawker Hunter jet failed to pull out of a loop-the-loop stunt and crashed on to the A27.

As well as Mr Mallinson, the 10 other victims were named as: window cleaner and general builder Mark Trussler, 54, from Worthing; cycling friends Dylan Archer, 42, from Brighton, and Richard Smith, 26, from Hove; NHS manager Tony Brightwell, 53, from Hove; grandfather Mark Reeves, 53, from Seaford; Worthing United footballers Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, both 23; personal trainer Matt Jones, 24; wedding chauffeur Maurice Abrahams, 76; and Daniele Polito, 23, from Worthing.

At the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Carwyn Hughes, the senior identification manager at Sussex Police, read out a summary of the circumstances and cause of death of each victim.

The jet's pilot, Andrew Hill, was left fighting for his life, and has been moved to a specialist hospital for treatment.

The plane wreckage has been sent to Farnborough, Hampshire, where AAIB investigators are seeking to find out what caused the crash. An interim report is due in days.

The A27 near Shoreham partially reopened at the weekend as thousands of people gathered at memorial events a week after the crash.

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