Families have paid tribute to the 11 people who lost their lives when a Hawker Hunter jet crashed on the A27 during a performance at Shoreham Airshow in 2015.
The inquest opened at County Hall North in Horsham this week – seven years after the tragedy.
West Sussex Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield, who opened the inquest on Wednesday (November 30), expressed ‘deep regret’ that families had been made to wait so long for answers.
The first day of the trial heard some emotional ‘pen portraits’ written by the victims’ families. The tributes, which included photo slideshows, continued on Friday (December 2).
The 11 victims were remembered as:
James (Graham) Mallinson, 72, Neuk
Graham Mallinson, a retired engineer, drove to Shoreham Airshow and left his car in a layby half a mile away.
His family told the inquest he was a ‘highly respected engineer’ and ‘a man who will always be remembered for his kindness’.
They added: “He always puts others before himself. He is completely trustworthy, reliable and honest, with a wonderful dry sense of humor. He was a true gentleman and a wonderful husband and father. “
A volunteer on the Bluebell Railway, Mr Mallinson had a lifelong passion for steam railways and was also a ‘brilliant photographer’.
His family are ‘absolutely devastated by his loss’ and are ‘struggling to come to terms with the shocking circumstances’.
“The family is so fragile and it’s an ongoing nightmare. He’s so vital in such a small family.
“He follows his passions. He was in the right place, doing what he loved to do best, but at the worst time.
Matthew Grimstone, 23, of Brighton
Matthew Grimstone travels the A27 to play football for Worthing United.
His father Phil told the inquest: “Matthew lost his life because he was flying the plane purely for fun and for fun.
“It is hard for us to understand and hard to bear. All his hopes, all his dreams, all the things he never did.
A football fan, Mathew played as a goalkeeper and tried his hand at refereeing local football matches. He also took his coaching badges before starting as an apprentice groundsman at Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.
Several tributes were read to the inquest, including from his family, friends, work colleagues and his girlfriend who were ‘ready to spend their lives together’.
His father said: “He had an amazing knowledge of random facts. He enjoyed pub quizzes with friends and family.
“He never got flustered and never lost his temper. He was strong and gentle, a quiet man with a wonderful presence.
“He was taken from us so cruelly. A young life was taken so tragically and needlessly.
Jacob Shilt, 23, Brighton
Jacob Schilt, another talented footballer, died alongside Matthew. His mum, Caroline, left the couple completely defenseless when the plane crash landed on the road.
She said: “Our lives have been tortured. We lost a healthy and vigorous son growing into a man. Can’t imagine what happened. Our lives were shattered and we will never recover from the effects of that day.
Jacob was remembered by family and friends as a kind and charming young man who lit up every room with his ‘wonderful sense of humor and zest for life’.
His mum Caroline told the inquest that Jacob was ‘always my little boy and he was my pride and joy’.
He was also a ‘classy, quick and handsome footballer’, with heartfelt tributes from former teammates and people he met while volunteering in Kenya.
When he died, Jacob was working as a delivery driver at Sainsbury’s. In his memory the company organized a charity match with Tesco staff.
Jacob completed a geography degree at the University of Portsmouth, where he met his girlfriend, Megan. He then started his Masters at the University of Brighton with the aim of starting a career in town planning.
His family said: “Jacob died in a very tragic and unnecessary way. A void is left that will never be filled.”
Mark Trussler, 54, of Worthing
Window cleaner Mark Trussler rode his black Suzuki Bandit to watch the Vulcan bomber fly over Shoreham.
His daughter Samantha Hollis paid tribute to her devoted father and said he was a ‘larger than life, happy go lucky guy’.
She said: “He worked a lot of jobs doing construction work. He is a workman and clients always have a good word to say about him.
“There are no questions if anything needs to be addressed.
“If I needed anything, he was there, I always relied on my dad, he was cheeky charm and could chat to anyone.
“He would have been the best grandfather.”
Mr Trussler’s partner, Giovanna Chirico, said he could ‘turn anyone’s bad day into laughter and smiles’.
“He was the best partner and father,” she said. “He supported the kids with every ounce.
“I was very privileged to meet Mark and have children together. We made so many memories. No words can come close to describing how we feel and the void left behind.
Mr Trussler’s daughter Mia said: “He never walked me down the aisle but he’s always with me. I hope he’s proud of me and the person I’ve become.”
Mark Reeves, 53, of Seaford
CAD engineer, and motorbike enthusiast Mark Reeves, 53, watches the airshow at Shoreham Airport Junction.