Page last updated at 18:35 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Death gyrocopter 'followed hunt'


The gyrocopter remains on the Tarmac as police investigate

Huntsmen had complained to authorities about being followed by a gyrocopter just days before the aircraft hit one of its members, killing him.

Trevor Morse, 48, from Alderminster, Warwickshire, was killed at Long Marston airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, on Monday.

It is believed he had been following a hunt on foot and died at the scene.

Two people travelling in the aircraft have been arrested on suspicion of his murder and remain in police custody.

A post mortem-examination carried out at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire revealed that Mr Morse died as a result of severe head injuries.

Sam Butler, a family friend and joint master of the Warwickshire Hunt, said: "A gyrocopter had been following us for a couple of weeks and we had made a formal complaint to the Civil Aviation Authority 10 days ago."

Trevor Morse
Mr Morse had been following a hunt when the incident occurred

He said he did not know why the aircraft had been following them and added: "It is a tragic but fatal accident, our first and foremost thoughts are with Trevor's family and we must wait for the facts and truths ourselves."

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed it "received a complaint regarding the operation of the gyrocopter involved in yesterday's incident".

"We can confirm that the complaint was received 10 days ago and an investigation had commenced prior to yesterday's incident," it said in a statement.

"The CAA is investigating that complaint in conjunction with the police."

Gyrocopters are known to take off and land very slowly.

It is thought the privately owned aircraft, which is similar to a small helicopter, had landed at the airfield to refuel when the collision happened at about 1500 GMT.

Officers from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and Warwickshire Police attended the scene on Tuesday.

Small, helicopter-like aircraft which generates lift using a free-spinning rotor
Rotor uses air to turn while engine-powered propeller generates thrust
There are 304 registered gyrocopters in the UK, but only 75 are fully-licensed to fly (source: CAA, Jan 09)
Pilots require a licence and must fly in daylight, within sight of the ground, more than 500ft from other vehicles and buildings

Police said a post-mortem examination would be carried out at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire later.

Mr Butler said hunting was Mr Morse's life.

"No higher quality of person could you find than Trevor," he added.

"He was the most wonderful son and brother and the most dedicated and loving partner of Caroline and we feel very, very, very deep sympathy for him and them today.

"Everybody was just completely shocked and can't believe that we have lost such a good friend," he said.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said no one else was injured in the incident.

Senior investigating officer Det Supt Graeme Pallister said:"The investigation is still at a very early stage.

"We are working to establish the circumstances of yesterday's incident and to find out how and why Mr Morse died."

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Murder probe after aircraft death
10 Mar 09 |  Coventry/Warwickshire

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