Shoreham Airshow inquest: Who were the victims of 2015 tragedy?

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.

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.

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 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.

His younger sister Denise told the inquest: ’53 years is not enough for Mark to do what we want him to do because he has ‘dreams and plans for the future’.

Denis spoke of his lifelong admiration for his brother, who was a talented athlete from an early age.

“For me personally, I’ve lost a person who was there from the day I was born,” she said, “and I hoped he’d be there because we grew up together.

“Mark robbed me of so many dreams and plans. He has so much more to give. “

Married for 32 years, Mr Reeves was remembered as a ‘kind and adventurous’ grandfather.

“They all lost so much richness. What we’re left with are the memories of a wonderful man. Many scars remain and the ripple effects are still there today.”

Richard Smith, 26, of Hove

Richard Smith, who worked for a bicycle dealers business, was an avid cyclist. When he died, he was with another victim, Dylan Archer, intending to meet other cyclists in the South Downs National Park.

Mr Smith had celebrated his birthday the previous evening with a BBQ on Brighton Beach. He couldn’t have been happier,’ his friends said.

His mother remembered him at the inquest as a ‘talented musician’ known for his quiet modesty.

He was ‘brilliant and ‘highly accomplished” with a degree in sound engineering. It was at university that he met his ‘very fond’ long-term girlfriend.

His mum said: “Richard couldn’t lie – he didn’t have a jealous bone in his body.

“He was an inspiration to his friends, who considered him the best and most loyal person. He was amazingly kind and mischievously crazy.

“He enjoyed life with energy and sharp wit.”

Mrs Smith, who works alongside her husband – in air traffic control – spoke of survivor’s guilt.

She said: “It has to be us. He is the only one in the family who does not like airplanes [the airshow] was happening.

“My life changed forever that day. It has been without meaning and purpose for many years.

Dylan Archer, 42, Brighton

Mr Archer, an IT company director, was remembered as a ‘handsome, well-liked’ bloke who was ‘respected by everyone’.

A family statement read by solicitor Sarah Stewart read: “This is a terrible incident which has taken a significant toll on our family. To lose someone so young is an incredible tragedy. It’s impossible to fathom losing them the way we did.”

Mr Archer, who lived with his long-term partner for 17 years, was a ‘loyal friend’ and a ‘quiet, private person’ – who had a ‘sweet and loving nature’.

A work colleague said: “He had a beautiful, bitterly sharp, British sense of humour. He was a man of few words, but a wonderful man. He made no judgement. It was a privilege to know him.”

Maurice Abrahams, 76, Brighton

Mr. Abrahams – A semi-retired chauffeur whose plane crashes on the way to take a bride to her wedding.

Mr Abrahams served in the army and police, his family told the inquest. Later in life, he worked as an electrician, dustman, window cleaner, security guard and owner of two fish and chip shops. He also appeared on television – in an episode of Poirot.

In a statement read by solicitor Sarah Stewart, Mr Abrahams’ daughters said: “A special life was cut short that day. He worked hard all his life.

“We have many fond memories of traveling to Europe in his vintage cars. He loved camping, DIY, mechanics and traveling to countries and meeting new people.

“He was a friendly and caring person who would talk to anyone he met.

“He leaves behind daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren he will never meet. He is forever away from us.”

Anthony Brightwell, 53, of Hove

Mr Brightwell – who worked as healthcare manager for the NHS and Brighton City Council – cycled to watch the airshow from the side of the A27.

A family tribute read by the coroner’s officer said he was a man who loved traveling and new cultures, languages ​​and food. He was due to visit Turkey two weeks after his death.

They added: “He had a love of aircraft and WW2 history. He loved cycling trips around West Sussex.

“He was always smiling and thinking about people. He is the life and soul of any meeting. We all miss him so much. “

Matthew Jones, 24, of Littlehampton

Chichester-born laborer Mr Jones was traveling in a silver BMW with fellow victim Daniel Gaetano Polito.

In a brief statement read to the coroner’s court, his parents said that day changed everything.

Daniel Gaetano Polito, 23, Goring-by-Sea

Shoreham-born construction worker Mr Polito was remembered by his sisters as a loving brother with a ‘cheeky smile’ and an ‘irresistible charm’.

They said: “He was lively and fun-loving. He never judged a soul and put everyone first.

Daniel left behind a young son.

His sisters said: “We miss him so much. Time moves on but our grief remains. We are still grieving knowing how our older brother didn’t live his life.


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