Police drop manslaughter charge in Emiliano Sala crash

Tributes at Cardiff City Stadium for footballer Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash on his way to join Cardiff City from Nantes FC.Tributes at Cardiff City Stadium for footballer Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash on his way to join Cardiff City from Nantes FC.
Tributes at Cardiff City Stadium for footballer Emiliano Sala, who died in a plane crash on his way to join Cardiff City from Nantes FC. | Other 3rd Party
No further action will be taken against a man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in relation to the plane crash that killed footballer Emiliano Sala, police said.

Dorset Police have ended their investigation of the 64-year-old from North Yorkshire, who was arrested on June 19 last year.

Detective Inspector Simon Huxter, of Dorset Police's Major Crime Investigation Team, said: "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.

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"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."

Argentinian striker Sala, 28, was flying from Nantes in France to his new club Cardiff City when the Piper Malibu aircraft plunged into the Channel on January 21 last year.

His body was recovered but pilot David Ibbotson, 59, 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.

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Former football agent Willie McKay has said he paid for the fatal flight but did not choose the pilot or the plane.

He has explained he was helping his son Mark, who was acting for Nantes, to complete the £15 million transfer.

"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."

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