Tiger Moth Pilot From Poole Cleared Over Passenger's Death

12 May 2015, 14:59

The pilot of a Tiger Moth aircraft has been found not guilty by a jury of the manslaughter of his passenger, who died when the biplane crashed in Dorset.

Scott Hoyle, 48, of Charborough Road, Poole, was cleared at Winchester Crown Court of the charge of manslaughter and a second count of negligently endangering an aircraft.

Mr Hoyle had been accused of carrying out a ``loop-the-loop'' while flying too low, leading to the accident in which 26-year-old former Royal Marine Orlando Rogers (pictured), from Poole, died.

The court heard that the accident happened on May 15 2011, at Compton Abbas airfield in north Dorset.

The prosecution had claimed that the fatal crash was a result of ``conscious risk-taking'' but Mr Hoyle had denied trying to carry out a loop manoeuvre.

The court was told that Mr Hoyle, who had gained his private pilot's licence in 2001, said in an interview with the coroner's officer that the plane had suffered a jammed rudder and it was his attempts to right the aircraft that made it look like he was carrying out a loop.

The Tiger Moth was a training plane used by the RAF until 1952. Some 4,000 were built in the Second World War with many still in use as recreational aircraft around the world, such as the one involved in the accident, which was built in 1940.

In a statement released on behalf of Mr Hoyle, the defendant said his thoughts were with Mr Rogers who died in the accident.

It added that Mr Hoyle believed that he had become a victim of failures in the air accident investigation system.

The statement says: ``The crash claimed the life of a friend and colleague of Scott Hoyle, Orlando Rogers, who he had taken for a pleasure flight as a treat that day in May 2011.

``By the grace of God, he survived the crash, albeit with life-threatening injuries. Today his thoughts are with Orlando.

``The last four years have been some of the most enduring and stressful of Scott's life, both for him and his family.

``Today's acquittal by the jury is a vindication of both his innocence and the true version of events.''

It adds: ``Scott believes he has been the victim of the failures in the air accident investigation system. His account of events was dismissed by those tasked with investigating, who appeared to refuse to consider compelling evidence that was presented to them by his team.

``He has had to listen to wrongful accusations, opinions and attempts to apportion blame which have been incredibly painful and distressing. Meanwhile he has always known and told the truth.''

It continues: ``Going forward, Scott hopes that the AAIB would review their investigation to reflect the true version of events.''