Emiliano Sala flight organiser David Henderson sentenced to 18 months in prison

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David Henderson has been handed a prison sentence of 18 months for endangering the safety of an aircraft after hiring pilot David Ibbotson to fly footballer Emiliano Sala from France to England.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that Henderson, 67, put business first by employing Ibbotson, who also lost his life in the accident, who was not qualified to fly commercially or at night.

Henderson is said to have tried to cover up his involvement after the plane went missing, with court hearing of messages he sent to colleagues in the aftermath.

The January 2019 crash in the English Channel came as Sala was due to join up with his new Cardiff team-mates following a £15million move from Nantes.

The judge, Mr Justice Foxton, said that Henderson had shown "a cavalier attitude" and had not even kept the most basic of records.

He added that Henderson had breached Civil Aviation Authority regulations "for reason of profit", and had been "reckless, not merely negligent".

Mr Ibbotson, 59, regularly flew for Henderson despite not having a commercial licence for carrying passengers, or the correct certification to fly at night time.

Henderson had been supposed to fly the plane, but was on holiday with his wife in Paris.

The jury was told that Henderson texted multiple contacts after the event, telling them to stay silent because it would "open a can of worms".

The plane, a single-engine Piper Malibu, had disappeared off radar off the coast of Alderney.

Sala's body was found two-and-a-half weeks after the tragic crash, but Mr Ibbotson's body has not been recovered.

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