The family of Emiliano Sala has welcomed the conviction of the man who organised the doomed flight leading to his death – but they still have unanswered questions.
David Henderson, 67, was convicted by a majority verdict of 10 to two over the death of the player by a jury at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday.
The plane carrying 28-year-old Sala crashed into the English Channel on the evening of January 21 2019, killing the striker and pilot David Ibbotson, 59.
It took the jury of seven men and five women seven and a half hours to convict Henderson, the aircraft operator, who the trial heard had arranged the flight with football agent William ‘Willie’ McKay.
Speaking after a jury at Cardiff Crown Court convicted David Henderson, Daniel Machover, of Hickman & Rose solicitors, said: “Mr Henderson’s convictions are welcome and we hope the CAA will ensure that illegal flights of this kind are stopped.
“The actions of David Henderson are only one piece in the puzzle of how the plane David Ibbotson was illegally flying came to crash into the sea on 21 January 2019.
“We still do not know the key information about the maintenance history of the aircraft and all the factors behind the carbon monoxide poisoning revealed in August 2019 by AAIB.
“The answers to these questions can only be properly established at Emiliano’s inquest, which is due to start in February next year.
“The Sala family fervently hope that everyone involved in the inquest will provide full disclosure of material without further delay, including Piper Aircraft Inc and the AAIB. This should ensure that the inquest can fulfil its function of fully and fearlessly examining the evidence so that all the facts emerge.
“Only if that happens will Emiliano’s family finally know the truth about this tragedy enabling all the lessons to be learned, so that no family goes through a similar preventable death.”