Agent Willie McKay could be involved in footballer’s inquest, court hears

The football agent has been invited to be an ‘interested person’ at the inquest in Dorset of striker Emiliano Sala who died in a plane crash.

Rod Minchin
Thursday 13 January 2022 17:45
A portrait of Emiliano Sala displayed at the front of St David’s Cathedral (Jacob King/PA)
A portrait of Emiliano Sala displayed at the front of St David’s Cathedral (Jacob King/PA)

A coroner investigating the death of footballer Emiliano Sala in a plane crash is attempting to contact the agent who helped organise the flight, a court heard.

Rachael Griffin, the senior coroner for Dorset said she had written to football agent Willie McKay inviting him to be an “interested person” at the inquest of the Argentina striker.

The 28-year-old footballer and pilot David Ibbotson 59, died when the small plane they were flying in crashed in the English Channel in January 2019.

Lawyers for David Henderson say he has no further evidence to give to the inquest into the death of Emiliano Sala (Jacob King/PA)

At the time, Sala was involved in a £15 million transfer to Cardiff from Ligue 1 side Nantes, and was travelling between the two cities when he died.

The flight had been organised by David Henderson, who was the plane’s operator, with Mr McKay.

Ms Griffin told a pre-inquest review hearing she had emailed Mr McKay and also sent his letter to the home address she had on record but had not received a response.

Addressing counsel, she said: “Previously you will be aware I identified William McKay as a potential interested person.

“To confirm on December 6 last year William McKay was emailed and sent a letter by post in respect of today’s hearing about potential interested persons status.

Football agent Willie McKay has been asked to participate in the inquest of Emiliano Sala (Peter Byrne/PA)

“I have received no response to that correspondence and what I am going to ask Detective Inspector Simon Huxter to do on our behalf is make an inquiry to try and ascertain whether we have the correct email address and home address for Mr McKay to confirm whether we are corresponding with him at the correct address.”

As an interested person, Mr McKay would be entitled to participate in the inquest either directly or through a lawyer by receiving copies of evidence, asking questions of witnesses and making submissions on the law to the coroner.

The inquest is due to begin on February 14 in Bournemouth and last until April.

Previous hearings have heard that Henderson, who was jailed for 18 months last year after being convicted of endangering the safety of the aircraft and trying to arrange a flight for a passenger without permission or authorisation, has “no further evidence” to give “beyond that which he gave at criminal trial”.

Henderson’s trial at Cardiff Crown Court heard he was not “pressured” into organising the flight by Mr McKay and did so “for financial advantage”.

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