Keystone Law’s international aviation lawyers James Healy-Pratt and Owen Hanna represented the family of former RAF pilot David Ashley at the second pre-inquest review hearing into the cause of his death.

Ahead of the hearing, makers of the military jet, Leonardo SpA, submitted a last-minute application to suspend the inquest. This was dismissed by the coroner, who said it was a flagrant “disrespect to the court and the family of David.”

Mr Ashley died after the military jet he was in came down on Monte Legnone near Colico, Lombardy, on Wednesday 16 March 2022. David and the test pilot, Giampaola Goattin, ejected shortly before the aircraft crashed into a mountain. Mr Goattin was taken to hospital and survived the crash.

The safety of the M-346 jet has been questioned by Mr Ashley’s family, who noted the aircraft has continued to fly since his death in air shows at Farnborough and Fairford.

Mr Ashley’s family have launched a High Court claim against the makers of the military jet, Leonardo SpA, and the test pilot for £1 million. However, the investigations into the circumstances of Ashley’s death are delayed because of issues in sharing documents between Italian prosecutors and the Dorset coroner.

An investigation is ongoing in Italy as to whether or not there will be criminal proceedings.

The next inquest hearing will take place in September.

James Healy-Pratt said:

“It is imperative that all parties involved work with the Coroner as Mr Ashley’s family continue to seek justice for his death. Unfortunately, these Italian criminal proceedings often run on for a considerable amount of time and Leonardo SpA’s reluctance to cooperate will only slow any progress to get to the truth. The next inquest review is scheduled to take place in September, and we will be taking all necessary steps in both the Coroner’s Court and the High Court in London to progress the family’s case in the interim.”

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