The widow of the pilot killed in the Emiliano Sala crash today emerged from behind the padlocked gates of her home to welcome the verdict on the man who led her husband to his death over the English Channel.
Nora Ibbotson said life had to carry on as normal after the long wait for David Henderson to face justice over the tragic fate of her 59-year-old husband David.
The widow, who has been fighting to clear her late husband’s name, spoke calmly as she left the family home for work.
She refused to condemn Henderson, the aircraft operator, who, the trial heard, had arranged the flight with football agent William ‘Willie’ McKay.
But as she let her two dogs out for exercise in the courtyard she broke months of silence about the case.
Nora Ibbotson (pictured with her husband) said life had to carry on as normal after the long wait for David Henderson to face justice over the tragic fate of her 59-year-old husband David
She refused to condemn Henderson (pictured), the aircraft operator, who, the trial heard, had arranged the flight with football agent William ‘Willie’ McKay
Footballer Sala (pictured) was flying from Nantes to Cardiff after signing for the club from the French side
Pictured: The Piper Malibu aircraft, N264DB, on the ground at Nantes Airport, France, prior to the flight which crashed into the Channel
Speaking outside her home in Crowle, North Lincolnshire, Mrs Ibbotson said: ‘I am pleased with the verdict – that’s all really.’
Mrs Ibbotson has always declined to comment about Henderson’s prosecution, a case she says she was never informed about.
Asked what the future held now the guilty were facing jail, she said: ‘I just have to move on. I just have to carry on.’
Henderson, 67, had asked Mr Ibbotson to fly the plane as he was away on holiday with his wife in Paris.
Mr Ibbotson, who regularly flew for him, did not hold a commercial pilot’s licence, a qualification to fly at night, and his rating to fly the single-engine Piper Malibu had expired.
On how relieved she was the year-long court case was finally over, she sighed wearily: ‘It is what it is.’
This pictured issued by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of the wreckage of the plane
The aircraft carrying the Argentine striker crashed into the Channel near Guernsey on the night of January 21, 2019. Sala and the pilot, Mr Ibbotson (pictured), were killed
Asked what should happen to Henderson when he was sentenced, she said: ‘I do not know.
‘It is someone else’s life and I do not really want to comment. I have to get off to work now.’
Footballer Sala was flying from Nantes to Cardiff after signing for the club from the French side.
The aircraft carrying the Argentine striker crashed into the Channel near Guernsey on the night of January 21, 2019. Sala and the pilot, Mr Ibbotson, were killed.
Mrs Ibbotson was speaking for the first time since October 2020 when she was facing another bleak Christmas with no news of her late husband’s fate.
Football agent William ‘Willie’ McKay had a ‘preoccupation’ with securing a pilot to transport Sala between Cardiff and Nantes in France, the court previously heard
The Cardiff City footballer and Mr Ibbotson may have succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning onboard the doomed aircraft.
Sala’s body was located after searches but no trace of Mr Ibbotson has ever been found. No more searches were planned.
She added at the time: ‘They are not doing anything else at the moment. We are not really informed of anything.’
‘It is just a standstill. I am not getting much information myself. So it just quiet at the moment.’
In 2020, she admitted the family despaired to getting any closure in the near future. She said: ‘It is just how it is. There is just nothing happening.’