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Paul Hollywood's former brother-in-law Simon Moores died in plane crash in Spain, inquest hears


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A dad-of-two who was the brother-in-law of Paul Hollywood was killed when his plane crashed into a mountain in thick fog, an inquest has heard.

Former Thanet district councillor Simon Moores died in January 2019, aged 62, when the light aircraft went down near Errezil in the north of Spain.

Former Westgate ward councillor Simon Moores who died in a plane crash in 2019
Former Westgate ward councillor Simon Moores who died in a plane crash in 2019

The inquest at County Hall in Maidstone on Thursday heard the chances of the flight ever having finished safely were “quite frankly remote”.

It was said that before the flight it was likely there was reduced vision.

Coroner Joanne Andrews said it was impossible to know whether Mr Moores and his passenger, friend David Hockings, were being “naive or optimistic” in deciding to take off. It is not known what weather system they had used to determine whether it was safe to fly.

But Mrs Andrews said: “Given these weather conditions, the possibility of [landing] the plane was quite frankly remote.”

Mr Moores and Mr Hockings were killed on a Piper Arrow III which was on its way from the Portuguese town of Cascais to San Sebastian before crashing into Mount Hernio.

The Certificate of Airworthiness for the aircraft piloted by Mr Moores had last been renewed in 2018
The Certificate of Airworthiness for the aircraft piloted by Mr Moores had last been renewed in 2018

The inquest heard Mr Moores wasn't aware of how close he was to the mountains and therefore did not know of the danger they were in until it was too late. Such deaths are known as “controlled flight into terrain”.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded by Mrs Andrews as she explained the details around the plane journey.

Statements from authorities in Spain, witness accounts and a post-mortem by Dr Andrew Wild were read out by the coroner.

No evidence was found that there were any issues with either Mr Moores’ ability to fly the plane or with the aircraft itself.

The inquest heard how the aircraft being piloted by Mr Moores, which had, had its Certificate of Airworthiness last been renewed in 2018, left Cascais at 8.30am local time and crashed at 1.55pm. Signal was lost between 12.20pm and 12.30pm, before police were informed.

Paul Hollywood had been married to Simon Moores' sister, Alex. Picture: Steve Crispe
Paul Hollywood had been married to Simon Moores' sister, Alex. Picture: Steve Crispe

It was reported at the time emergency services had to use ropes to climb almost 1,000 metres to the scene.

Mrs Andrews said: “This flight would have been expected to have taken three hours and 42 minutes. The evidence I have is the flight went as expected until around 12.30pm that day.”

Concluding the inquest, she added: “In this case, having considered the evidence, I am satisfied that one [a conclusion] of accident can be applied.”

The coroner also passed her condolences on to Mr Moores’ two children and his wife.

Mr Moores' sister, Alex, had been married to Great British Bake Off star Mr Hollywood but the couple divorced in 2019.

He had served as a Conservative councillor for several years from 2007, and also ran a blog called thanetlife.co.uk, on which he posted aerial shots of the east Kent coast as well as being a lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Mr Moores, previously of The Old Coastguards at Westgate-On-Sea, shared snaps from the plane, captioned "Mountains of mid Spain" prior to the crash on January 9.

A previous inquest was held in September 2019, when it was concluded that the circumstances behind Mr Moores' death would never be known.

The inquest was reopened following an application under Section 13 of the Coroners and Justice Act 1988.

The Act includes provision for a new inquest to be held following the discovery of new facts.

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