Henry Blackshaw and a team of police and CAA investigators have won the Investigative Excellence category at the annual GMP awards, known as the Star awards.
They have also been awarded Chief Constable’s commendations for the same case (photo attached).
This was for their work on the investigation and prosecution of Robert Murgatroyd, the pilot of a light aircraft which crashed shortly after take-off at Barton’s City Airport. The aircraft was grossly overloaded, flying bird watchers who had chartered it to fly them to the Outer Hebrides.
This culminated in the first UK Crown Court trial of a pilot for both illegal commercial flying (public transport) and reckless endangerment of an aircraft. He was convicted of these allegations as well as the other related charges on which he was tried.
Henry provided early advice on the appropriate charges on which to try the defendant. He also gave strategic guidance on the technical investigation of the aircraft’s engine and fuel systems and the presentation of the case at court. As well as the examination of a range of civilian and expert witnesses, this was supplemented by various visual aids, including a working model plane!
The case was challenging, given the complexity of the law, created under the Air Navigation Order, which regulates civil aviation in the UK. This is further complicated by the overlay of European regulations arising from the European Safety Agency, EASA, which are implemented into UK law.
As well as the quality of airmanship, the case involved issues of Cost Sharing, which is now widespread in light aviation.
This is the second time that Henry has received this award and commendation. Sergeant Lee Westhead, who was also part of the team in this case, and he were also recipients of them in 2016 for their work together on Operation Marco, a historic hit and run case.