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18th Oct 2021

Man pleads guilty to Emiliano Sala flight charge

Callum Boyle

He admitted to attempting to discharge a passenger without valid permission or authorisation.

A man has pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge which is connected to the flight in which footballer Emiliano Sala died.

Sala was killed on January 21 2019 after the aircraft he was a passenger in crashed into the English Channel while flying to Britain to complete a £15 million move from French side Nantes to then-Premier League side Cardiff City.

The body of the Argentine striker was recovered from the seabed the following month, but neither the body of pilot David Ibbotson nor the plane wreckage were ever recovered.

David Henderson, 66, admitted to attempting to discharge a passenger without valid permission or authorisation at Cardiff Crown Court.

Henderson entered the guilty plea after asking to re-arraigned before his trial at High Court judge Mr Justice Foxton in Cardiff.

Henderson will also stand trial for a separate charge which had been brought by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which involves the endangering of an aircraft; an offence under the Air Navigation Order (2016).

Henderson is alleged to have arranged the flight which crashed north of the island Guernsey in January 2019.

The 66-year-old denies one other charge of acting in a “reckless or negligent manner likely to endanger an aircraft” after hiring pilot Ibbotson to fly the plane.

This was because Cardiff Crown Court were informed that Ibbotson was rumoured to not have a commercial licence and was “not competent” to fly in bad weather.

According to the Telegraph, the two-week trial is set to begin on Tuesday (19 October) before a jury of seven men and five women after they confirmed that they were not Cardiff City supporters.

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