October 28, 2021 12.36 pm

Man found guilty of ‘endangering aircraft’ after Sala and Ibbotson deaths

He will be sentenced next month

The man who organised the flight which cost footballer Emiliano Sala and Lincolnshire Pilot David Ibbotson their lives has been found guilty of endangering the safety of an aircraft.

David Henderson, 67, of Hotham, East Riding of Yorkshire was found guilty by a majority verdict after a trial at Cardiff Crown Court. He also previously admitted trying to arrange the flight for a passenger without permission or authorisation.

Henderson will be sentenced on November 12.

Argentine striker Sala, 28, was involved in a £15 million transfer to Cardiff City from Nantes. He was travelling between the two cities at the time of his death, when the single-engine Piper Malibu plunged into the English Channel.

Ibbotson, 59, also died in the crash in the English Channel in January 2019, although his body was never found.

The flight was set up by Henderson with football agent William “Willie” McKay.

Prosecutors previously said that Henderson acted “recklessly and dangerously” to arrange the flight, while Ibbotson was unqualified to fly the plane. Despite this, Henderson asked him to fly Sala over to Cardiff to complete his transfer to The Bluebirds.

The court also previously heard that in the immediate aftermath of the plane’s disappearance, Henderson text a colleague saying: “Malibu gone missing on way back from France…. Don’t say a word to anyone.”

He also reportedly messaged a colleague saying: “Ibbo has crashed the Malibu and killed himself and VIP pax (passenger). Bloody disaster. There will be an enquiry.”

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