The East Yorkshire operator of a plane which crashed killing footballer Emiliano Sala has said "not a day or hour goes by" that he does not think about the incident.

David Henderson claimed that ultimate responsibility for the flight's safety had rested with the pilot David Ibbotson.

Mr Ibbotson died when the single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft with the 28-year-old striker as passenger went down 22 nautical miles north west of Guernsey on the evening of January 21 2019.

Henderson of Hotham, East Yorkshire denies a charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft.

The 67-year-old, who began his evidence at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday, told the jury he had been "badly affected" since the plane crash.

He said he had been on holiday with his wife in Paris when he was contacted by football agent William "Willie" McKay who wanted him to fly to Nantes but he said he could not do the job, he told the court.

Mr McKay could be "insistent", Henderson said, so he offered to find an available pilot. He rang Mr Ibbotson whom he claimed "immediately said yes".

Henderson told the court that while he had organised the flight with Mr McKay, Mr Ibbotson was ultimately responsible for the safe passage of the aircraft.

"My intention was to leave it with him (Mr Ibbotson). He had taken over responsibility of everything related to the flight," Henderson said.

Asked by his counsel, Stephen Spence QC, whose responsibility it was to ensure a safe flight, Henderson said: "Ultimately it was the pilot in command."

He said he was not concerned about Mr Ibbotson's ability to fly, describing him as an "experienced" pilot.

And he added he was "reassured" about concerns raised by Mr Ibbotson, about the aircraft's mechanics, after it landed in Nantes where it was examined by a French engineer.

After receiving the news that air traffic controllers had lost contact with the plane, Henderson said he was "very, very concerned. Distressed really. I feared the worst".

"The whole scenario, the loss of an airplane, someone I know, and a passenger is very desperate.

"I was badly affected by the news," he added.

Police arrested him at his home on June 19 2019 just before he had been due to celebrate his daughter's birthday, the court was told.

Henderson said: "It came as a real shock. I felt numb. It was a total surprise.

"I've had huge anxiety. Not a day or hour goes by without it being in my mind."

The trial continues.