The inquests into the deaths of the 11 men at the Shoreham Aircrash will now be postponed until 2021 to allow families to attend in person.
The Full Inquest was due to go ahead this autumn, but due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic it has been agreed with the families of the victims that the inquests could not take place safely in open court this September as originally planned. A future date, likely to be in June or September 2021, will be confirmed as soon as possible.
West Sussex Senior Coroner, Penelope Schofield, said: “I have expressed my extreme regret to all the families that there is to be a further delay to proceedings but I will not be able to hear these inquests, as planned, later this year.
“With 11 bereaved families and several other interested parties, lawyers, press and public it seems likely that well over 150 people would wish to attend court and I anticipate the threat of Covid-19, the potential for its transmission and the consequent disruption of in-person proceedings will not have receded by the Autumn.
“My present view is that these inquests are not ones that are appropriate to be held remotely given the importance to the families of being fully involved in the hearings, the benefits of hearing the first-hand evidence in person and the overall public interest.”
The Pre-Inquest Review Hearing is still due to take place on 24 June 2020, however, Ms Schofield has confirmed this will be conducted via a remote hearing.