The widow of a wedding chauffeur who died in the Shoreham Airshow crash has spoken of her relief at learning criminal charges will be brought in the investigation.
Edwina Abrahams, the wife of 76-year-old Maurice who was on his way to pick up a bride for her wedding when he died, said she was “very relieved” to hear the news.
Speaking to the Press Association, the 62-year-old who lives in Brighton said: “We are very pleased it has got to this point and know that things are going forward.
“It’s taken such a long time to get here. Now we think that this time next year it will all be behind us. It has taken too long.
“The wait for the meeting was not too bad because we were all together and we have seen everybody so often. We were supported by our police liaison officer too. The police have been brilliant.”
I want this to move forward with the pace it has been missing to date so that families can get the justice that they all need and deserve.Peter Kyle MP
Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove where some of the victims’ families reside, told the Press Association: “This is the right decision. My instinctive first reaction is that for the families this must be just an enormous moment for them to hear this and an unbelievable relief.
“I want this to move forward with the pace it has been missing to date so that families can get the justice that they all need and deserve.”
Mr Kyle said no family should have to endure a “torturous” wait of 31 months for authorities to “pass information from one to another” and that he and Tim Loughton, the Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, would be “pressing hard” for changes in regulation and legislation.
But James Healy-Pratt, head of aviation at Stewarts Law who is representing some of the victims’ families, said there had been mixed reactions to the news.
Speaking to the Press Association, he said: “Emotions were mixed, as they have been all along.
“At least the families now know what the position is with the criminal proceedings. But it means the inquest will likely be delayed by another year at least which is difficult for them.
“So it could be 2019, four years after the event, before they can get closure.
“Eleven innocent victims lost their lives. Prosecutions will not bring any lives back, but it may raise awareness.”
In a statement, Rebecca Smith, aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell which represents 14 relatives, said: “It is important that the families affected by this tragedy understand exactly what happened to cause the crash and what lessons can be learned to prevent similar issues in future.
“Nothing can turn back the clock and many of those affected may never fully recover from the trauma of what happened. We are working with our clients to ensure that they secure the best possible support to maximise their recovery and rehabilitation.”