London (AFP) – A businessman who planned a 2019 flight that killed Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala was convicted Thursday for endangering aircraft safety.
David Henderson, 67, was convicted of a 28-year-old forward’s death by a Cardiff Crown Court jury with a 10-2 majority vote.
The plane carrying Sarah crashed into the English Channel on January 21, 2019, killing Sarah and pilot David Ibotson, 59.
Sarah had a contract with Cardiff City, who was in the Premier League at the time, for a club record of £ 15 million (Euro 18 million, $ 20 million) from Nantes on the French side.
The jury took seven and a half hours to convict aircraft operator Henderson, who was heard at the trial, for arranging a flight with football agent William “Willie” McKay.
He was on vacation with his wife in Paris, so he asked Ibotson to fly.
Ibotson, who regularly flew to Henderson, did not hold a commercial pilot license, night flight qualification, and his reputation for flying a single-engine Piper Malibu had expired.
Immediately after the jury learned that the plane had fallen, Henderson sent a text message to many people warning them to “open a can of worms” and to remain silent.
A former Royal Air Force officer admitted in court that he was afraid to investigate his commerce.
Prosecutor Martin Gudi said Henderson was “reckless or negligent” in how he operated the plane and prioritized business over passenger safety.
In his closing speech, he claimed that Henderson runs an “incompetent, undocumented, dishonest organization.”
Defender Stephen Spence said the client’s behavior was “purely a matter of paperwork” and did not lead to potential danger.
He told the court that the only difference between a commercial license and a private license held by Ibotson is not the ability, but the ability to carry passengers with money.
Henderson had already admitted another crime that attempted to dismiss a passenger with or without a valid permit.
The judge allowed Henderson bail to return on November 12 to be convicted of both charges.
He faces up to five years’imprisonment for endangering an aircraft and two years’ imprisonment for less.
The British Aircraft Accident Investigation Report, released last March, concluded that Ibotson was not allowed to fly or fly at night.
As he tried to avoid bad weather, he lost control and was assessed as flying too fast, and both he and Sarah were assessed as having been affected by carbon monoxide poisoning prior to the crash.
Sarah’s body was recovered from the seabed in February 2019, but Ibotson’s body was not found.
Two months after Sarah’s body was discovered, her father, Oracio Sarah, died of a heart attack in Argentina.
– Soccer Sports
A businessman who organized a flight that killed soccer player Emiliano Sala was convicted
https://worldsoccertalk.com/2021/10/28/businessman-who-organised-flight-that-killed-footballer-emiliano-sala-convicted/ A businessman who organized a flight that killed soccer player Emiliano Sala was convicted