Earlier today I attended the final day of the Shoreham Air Show Inquest at Horsham to hear the Coroner's conclusions. A judgement that the 11 men who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time through no fault of their own on that fateful summer's day back in 2015 were unlawfully killed was the result the families of the victims wanted to hear. It was also the right decision delivered with great sensitivity and thoroughness by Coroner Penny Schofield who has been exemplary in the sensitivity and engagement she has shown those families over what has been far too long a journey.
It did not require you to be an aviation expert to conclude that the men were killed by the way which the Hawker Hunter plane was flown and that the piloting was well below an acceptable standard as she said. The lower threshold of evidence enabled her to reach a different conclusion from the criminal trial which acquitted the pilot.
I do hope that the family achieve some degree of closure after this very comprehensive Inquest and I pay tribute to their quiet dignity and patience.
The Coroner made clear that the Air Accidents Investigation Branch had made a number of findings which have resulted in substantial changes to the rules governing the safety of air shows in the future and she did not need to make further recommendations. It is highly unlikely that the Shoreham Air Show to include fast jets will ever return in the future.
The Coroner also paid tribute to the emergency services and the way that the local community came together to stand shoulder to shoulder in support of the victims' families and it made me immensely proud to be the local MP. I hope that this Inquest will also allow some closure for the local community who felt the pain of the families so acutely as well and for whom the touching memorial on the banks of the River Adur stands as a lasting memorial of the impact on so many local people on that fateful day.