Families of MH17 victims prepare to go to Europe for trial

Before retired Wollongong teachers Carol and Michael Clancy departed on their first holiday in Europe in 2014, they left their trip schedule with family to let them know where they would be.

The last entry of their schedule read: "Home sweet home."

They never made it home. They were among 298 passengers and crew killed when Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014.

More than five years later, family of the couple are preparing to travel to Amsterdam to sit in a court's public gallery next month to watch the start of the criminal trial.

Lisa and Brian Clancy, from the NSW town of Singleton, will attend the opening days of the trial, which begins on March 9, because they want to see justice carried out and feel they owe it to their loved ones to be there. "Our lives have stood still since 2014. It has damaged thousands of families; just destroyed their lives," Mrs Clancy said.

They are travelling to Europe "under no illusion" that any of the accused will front court.

For the Singleton couple and other family, the passage of time has not made coming to terms with loss any easier. In fact, Mrs Clancy said she felt angrier about the injustice of the act, which claimed the lives of 38 Australian citizens and residents.

Jon and Meryn O'Brien, who lost their son Jack, aged 25, on MH17 also intend to attend the opening of the hearing with their daughter Bronwyn.

"We don't know what will happen in the first few days. There is a lot of uncertainty. We don't know what challenges will be put up.

"The prosecuting team have said they are expecting it [the trial] to take one and a half to two years but if there are challenges it could run for four to six years."