THE coroner who will probe the deaths of 11 men in the Shoreham Airshow crash has vowed to carry out a “fearless and impartial” investigation.

The highly anticipated inquests into the 2015 tragedy in which a Hawker Hunter jet exploded into a fireball on a busy dual carriageway are to take place in September 2020, it has been decided.

Speaking on Wednesday, senior coroner Penelope Schofield thanked families for their patience and acknowledged it would be five years since the tragedy before the inquests actually got under way.

A pre-inquest review at Centenary House in Crawley on Wednesday was told that the inquests would take place in a six-week window from September 14.

Mrs Schofield also said it was her decision that the inquests would not have a jury.

Pilot Andrew Hill, who was flying the Hawker jet and survived the crash after being thrown clear of the burning wreckage, was not present at the hearing.

An Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) report published in 2017 found the crash could have been avoided and was caused by pilot error when Mr Hill flew too low and too slowly while carrying out the manoeuvre at the Shoreham Airshow in West Sussex.

In March 2019 he was cleared of 11 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence after a lengthy trial at the Old Bailey.

The families of the 11 men who died in the Shoreham Airshow crash have called for a “thorough and fearless” inquest which is likely to re-examine the actions of the pilot.

Addressing calls from some families for a jury to be called for the inquests, Mrs Schofield said she accepted that the case raised “questions of great public importance”.

She said: “As a coroner, I will be able to make very detailed and reasoned factual findings which will be made public.

“It is my decision that the public interest can be better served by myself sitting alone.”

Mrs Schofield said she hoped the inquests would start promptly on September 14 “or within that six-week window”.

The current plan was to hold the inquests at Centenary House in Crawley, the hearing was told.

Also on Wednesday, Brighton and Hove Albion FC paid fresh tribute to two of the airshow crash victims - Jacob Schilt and Matt Grimstone - by unveiling buses in their memory.