Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Voice tapes from fatal helicopter crash to remain secret

Voice and data recordings from the helicopter crash that killed four men, including Newry entrepreneur, Lord Ballyedmond, must remain confidential, a High Court judge has ruled.

The owner of Norbrook Pharmaceuticals, who was also known as Dr. Edward Haughey, died on 13th March 2014 when his helicopter crashed in dense fog shortly after take-off from his estate in Gillingham, Norfolk.

His foreman Declan Small (42) from Mayobridge, as well as pilot Captain Carl Dickerson (36) from Thornton in Lancashire and co-pilot Captain Lee Hoyle (45) from Macclesfield, Cheshire, also perished in the accident.

At an inquest in January, the senior Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake demanded that voice and data recordings from the cockpit be made available, arguing the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) should at least provide a transcript of what was said in the final moments.  However, this request was denied during a test case on Wednesday last by the High Court judge Mr Justice Singh.

He said there was “no public interest in the coroner going over the same ground as the AAIB”.

“The inquests in this case have already been concluded and there is no question of re-opening them,” he added.

Fines that had been issued to the AAIB in January have been overturned and the High Court also stopped police from seeing AAIB interviews with Shoreham air crash pilot Andy Hill.

Lord Ballyedmond’s family have previously said they had serious questions over his death which they described as a preventable accident.