Emiliano Sala: The man who organized the theft of the footballer admits a charge before the trial

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Emiliano Sala: The man who organized the theft of the footballer admits a charge before the trial


A man to be tried on charges related to the plane crash that killed Cardiff City striker Emiliano Sala has pleaded guilty to one count.

During pre-trial hearings at Cardiff Crown Court on Monday, David Henderson, 67, changed his guilty plea for attempting to release a passenger without good consideration.

The trial will henceforth be detained for a single count of recklessness or negligence likely to endanger an aircraft. He denies the accusation.

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The 28-year-old striker died when his plane crashed in the English Channel in 2019. Photo: AP

The 28-year-old Argentine striker died after the plane he was flying in from Nantes, France, to Cardiff crashed over the English Channel near Guernsey in January 2019.

Piper Malibu plane pilot David Ibbotson has also died.

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David Ibbotson was flying the plane in which he and Emiliano Sala died. Photo: Ibbotson family

Mr Ibbotson’s body has never been found – but a private search recovered Sala’s body from the seabed in February 2019.

The theft took place just days after Cardiff City was secured Salon for £ 15 million from the French side of FC Nantes.

During a hearing in October 2020, it emerged that Mr. Ibbotson’s license to fly an aircraft for commercial purposes had expired in November 2018.

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The theft came just days after Cardiff City secured Sala for £ 15million from French side FC Nantes

A report from the Air Accident Investigation Branch previously noted that the pilot flew too fast for the aircraft’s design limitations and lost control while trying to avoid bad weather.

A final maneuver to reassemble the plane had caused it to crash in mid-flight.

The report adds that Mr Ibbotson was probably the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Investigators at the time said the pilot had no night flight training and a lack of recent practice of relying solely on cockpit instruments to control the aircraft contributed to the crash.

They also found that Mr. Ibbotson held a private pilot’s license which did not allow him to perform flights for remuneration.

A jury inquiry into his death has been postponed until the conclusion of Mr Henderson’s trial and is expected to begin in February 2022.

Daniel Machover, a lawyer for the Hickman & Rose law firm that represents the Sala family, said they would not attend the trial in person.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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