A light aircraft involved in a fatal crash after taking off from Southend Airport had not been properly maintained, an investigation has found.

Two people died when the Piper PA-28 aircraft came down on the Queen's Sandringham Estate in marshland near Wolferton, Norfolk, on September 11 last year.

Pilot Nigel Dodds, 58, and passenger Valerie Barnes, 73, both from Gateshead, were pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquiry by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) revealed the plane crashed into an old sea wall after the engine failed during a flight from Southend to Newcastle.

The plane had been on the way back to Mallorca to Newcastle, when bad weather forced it to divert and land at Southend on September 10.

They stayed the night before taking off on September 11 for Newcastle.

Investigators found the problem was caused by oil loss, noting the engine had not been maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions while it was unused for long periods and parked outside.

During the flight, Mr Dodds transmitted a Mayday call stating he had a "very rough running engine".

A controller at the Distress and Diversion emergency cell at Swanwick, Hampshire, advised the pilot that Great Massingham Airfield was around nine miles away.

Mr Dodds replied he would not make it that far, adding: "It's gonna be a field."

This was the last transmission received from the aircraft and was 30 seconds before radar contact was lost.

The report concludes: "The accident was likely the result of the aircraft stalling at a low height from which there was insufficient height to recover, during an attempted forced landing following a catastrophic engine failure.

"The engine failure was due to oil loss caused by damage and premature wear to the oil control rings.

"The engine had been inactive for several months, and probably had not been inhibited in accordance with the manufacturers guidance, leading to the formation of corrosion within the engine."