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Manslaughter suspect won't face charges

Manslaughter suspect won't face charges

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Manslaughter suspect won't face charges

The man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with the death of footballer Emiliano Sala has been told he won't face any action over the fatal plane crash.

The 64-year-old from North Yorkshire was arrested in June last year, five months after the tragic accident.

It also led to the presumed death of pilot David Ibbotson who has been missing since the light aircraft he was flying from Nantes in France to Cardiff in Wales, ditched into the English Channel near Alderney.

While Mr Sala's body was recovered from the wreckage of the plane, and enquiries into his death are ongoing, there has been no sign of Mr Ibbotson since January 21 last year, despite extensive searches in the weeks after the tragedy. 


Pictured: The fuselage of the stricken Piper Malibu was found on the sea bed, after it had ditched into the sea north west of Les Casquets lighthouse. It has since drifted and been lost to the elements. 

Dorset Police have now ended their investigation and Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said they are not seeking any formal charges in relation to any homicide offences.

“We have carried out a detailed examination into the circumstances of Mr Sala’s death, this has been a complex investigation involving the examination of a large amount of evidence and in liaison with a range of organisations," he said. 

“We have worked closely with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) during our investigation and we are now able to confirm that Dorset Police will not be seeking a formal charging decision by the CPS in relation to homicide offences.”

Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson Tributes

Pictured: Emiliano Sala died in January last year when the plane carrying him from Nantes to Cardiff crashed into the Channel (PA).

The Argentinian striker was flying from Nantes in France to his new club Cardiff City when the Piper Malibu aircraft plunged into the Channel on January 21, 2019.

His body was recovered but the 59-year-old pilot has not been found.

An interim report published by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch shortly after the accident stated that Mr Ibbotson was not licensed to conduct commercial flights.

Former football agent Willie McKay has said he paid for the fatal flight but did not choose the pilot or the plane. He said he was helping his son Mark, who was acting for Nantes, to complete the £15 million transfer.

Emiliano Sala football

Pictured: Cardiff City had paid £15million for the striker, but he died while travelling to join his new football club. 

Detective Inspector Huxter added: “An investigation into the operation of the flight continues and this is being led by the CAA and therefore it would be inappropriate for us to make any further comment at this time.

“We have updated the family of Mr Sala and Mr Ibbotson with regard to this development and it goes without saying that our thoughts remain with them, as a result of their unimaginable loss.

“Dorset Police will continue to support the investigation being carried out by the CAA and carry out enquiries on behalf of HM Coroner as part of the inquest process in the hope that the answers that the families of both men seek are provided, which is nothing short of what they thoroughly deserve.”

The CAA is due to release its final report into the tragedy on Friday 13 March. 

Pictured top: Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson. 

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