Crash airline had been used by drug smuggler The Coventry aftermath: questions raised over radar safety

Drugs with a street value of nearly £170,000 were smuggled into Britain two-and-a-half years ago on a flight operated by Phoenix Aviation, the company whose chartered aircraft crashed near Coventry on Wednesday.

The drugs were found in the possession of Crosby Otobo, a Nigerian pilot who travelled in a Phoenix-operated Boeing 707 aircraft in June 1992. Otobo boarded the Phoenix aircraft in Lagos, Nigeria, intending to travel to Ostend in Belgium.

The aircraft was diverted to Coventry where a Customs officer uncovered a haul of 1.5 kilograms of heroin and half a kilo of cocaine inside Otobo's briefcase. He was charged with two offences of attempting to smuggle class "A" drugs.

No charges were brought against the company or its owners, Christopher Barrett-Jolley and his wife, Maria. Otobo was jailed for eight years in March 1993 with the recomendation that he should be deported when released.

When asked to comment on the case yesterday, Mrs Barrett-Jolley replied: "You worthless piece of shit! Is there no level to which you scum won't stoop to!"

Earlier this year, Mr Barrett-Jolley was taken to court by Lord Guernsey of Packington Hall, Meriden, Warwickshire.

The dispute began in March this year when the Barrett-Jolleys and their son, James, took furnishings with them when they left a 17th-century farmhouse they were renting from Lord Guernsey.

The peer claimed that his former tenant failed to leave behind carpets and curtains as agreed when he moved out of the house where he had lived for nine years.

Mr Barrett-Jolley paid for the fittings at the house on Lord Guernsey's 5,000 acre Packington estate, but Lord Guernsey claimed that Mr Barrett-Jolley had agreed to leave them when he left the house.

In August, a judge ruled that Mr Barrett-Jolley should return the carpets and curtains which were valued by Lord Guernsey at more than £6,000.

The High Court ordered Mr Barrett-Jolley to give back the fittings but they were not returned, and later that month a High Court judge again ruled that they should be returned.

At a second hearing in October, Mr Barrett-Jolley agreed to return them and to pay Lord Guernsey's legal costs, estimated at around £7,000 and £1,500 compensation for items missing at the exchange.

Meanwhile, as air accident investigators continued to examine the wreckage of the Boeing 737 yesterday, it emerged that the pilots, who were killed in Wednesday's crash, were operating in virtually the minimum visibility allowed for a landing using radar, leaving little margin for error.

According to Civil Aviation Authority officials, the aircraft - which was unable to use the more sophisticated instrument landing system that is now the industry norm because it did not have the right radio equipment - would have been allowed to land with a minimum of 1,100 metres forward visibility.

In fact, Coventry Airport reported that visibility at the time of the accident was 1,200 metres.

An experienced Boeing 737 pilot who has worked for Air Algerie said that he was amazed that the aircraft was allowed to use the airport without the proper ILS equipment.

He said: "Approaches using surveillance radar are much more difficult.

"Obviously, the pilots have to fly the plane themselves rather than using the autopilot and these guys, who had already done a night flight to Amsterdam, would have been exhausted."

Most modern aircraft now use ILS, which allows blind landings in foggy conditions by using different radio signals to line the aircraft up laterally and along a three-degree descent path - the aircraft has a height of 300 feet for every mile from the airport.

Some pilots suggest that aircraft using ILS should be banned, but the CAA has a policy of not imposing safety rules in Britain which are onerous than the world norms as this would restrict the number of aircraft to enter British airspace.

Yesterday, as investigators continued their task of trying to identify the cause of Wednesday's crash close to the Willenhall estate in Coventry, the bodies of the five victims were removed from the wreckage.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
film
Sport
football
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
A photograph taken by David Redferm of Sonny Rollins
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker