UK

Drunk passenger who had to be locked in plane toilet on Jet2 flight from Glasgow is jailed

A drunk passenger who had to be locked in a plane toilet after fighting with female cabin crew and shouting sectarian slurs at an Irish couple on a Jet2 flight from Glasgow was jailed today for 20 months.  

David Lauriston, 39, addressed an Irish couple as ‘Fenian b***ards’ during the journey to Bodrum in Turkey and made punching motions before violently turning on three air hostesses who intervened.

Flight attendant Nicola McDonagh was poked in the face and shoulder as she tried to calm Lauriston, who had been drinking heavily ahead of the flight.

Lauriston threatened to bite her colleague Debra Watson, poking her ten times in the face and making a growling motion towards her.

He then needed to go to the toilet with staff locking him inside. The passenger was later released and placed in restraints when he began kicking at the door and trying to smash the window.

As he struggled violently to free himself from the restraints, the pilot diverted to Manchester Airport where police were waiting to arrest Lauriston.

At Manchester Crown Court, Lauriston, of South Lanarkshire, Scotland, admitted assault and being drunk on an aircraft. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison. 

At Manchester Crown Court, he admitted assault and being drunk on an aircraft and was sentenced to 20 months in prison

David Lauriston (pictured left and right), 39, violently turning on three air hostesses who intervened during the flight to Turkey. At Manchester Crown Court, he admitted assault and being drunk on an aircraft and was sentenced to 20 months in prison

In a statement, Ms Watson, who suffered bruising to her leg and arm during the incident, said: ‘I’ve been in the industry 15 years and I have considerable experience dealing with difficult passengers, but this incident was by far the worst. 

‘I’ve never experienced this level of violence towards me and others. I’ve never had to use restraining tactics before. I hope this male understands the level of fear that he caused to me, the crew and passengers. 

‘As the crew manager, I feel compelled to keep the crew safe at all times. It left me questioning my future. I returned home last night with my family very distressed, specifically because of the flight. 

‘All member of staff were put on leave by Jet2.com. I’m unsure whether I will return to flying. It’s been really hanging over my head. I will never forget the crying children and the frightened look on passengers faces.’

Ms McDonagh added: ‘This is the worst experience I have ever had. I feel that the behaviour of the accused was inexcusable. I have never had to physically restrain a passenger.

‘This incident will stay with me and affect how I deal with people in the future.’

And a third flight attendant, Bethany Amour, said: ‘I have worked as cabin crew for the last five years. I have never had to experience such vile behaviour towards me, passengers and crew. 

‘I have never been kicked or spat at for just doing my job. I am proud of how me and the crew dealt with it. It was a traumatic experience.’ 

The incident occurred just 30 minutes into the 3.40pm flight on September 21 last year.

Prosecutor Ms Megan Tollit said: ‘There were 165 passengers on the flight including young children. The cabin crew started the inflight meal service but a number of passengers described seeing the defendant sitting at the back towards the rear of the plane and raising his voice towards other passengers.

As Lauriston (above) struggled violently to free himself from the restraints, the pilot diverted to Manchester Airport where police were waiting to arrest him

As Lauriston (above) struggled violently to free himself from the restraints, the pilot diverted to Manchester Airport where police were waiting to arrest him

‘He was verbally abusive towards an Irish couple. Passengers described him shouting that the people were “Fenians” and “Fenian b***ards.” 

‘Staff intervened trying to direct him back to his seat and were trying to calm him down but he attempted to push past. Nicola McDonagh described him repeatedly poking her in the face and pushing her shoulder.

‘Debra Watson also intervened and says the defendant appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. He was making punching actions towards passengers and she put one hand on his shoulder and used the other to restrain him behind his back.

‘She directed him to the rear of the plane but when she let go of the defendant’s arm, he took a mobile phone from his back pocket and pushed it into her face. He was jabbing her forehead with his right hand and described being poked in the face by him about ten times.’

Ms Tollit continued: ‘The defendant said: “You are a f***ing f****t! Do you support Jimmy Savile?” He threatened to bite Debra Watson and made a growling motion towards her and the cabin crew and the captain prepared to divert the plane to Manchester Airport.

‘The defendant said that he needed to use the toilet and while inside, staff made the decision to try to lock him in the toilet area. But he started kicking the bottom of the toiled door and kicking at the window and staff then cleared three seats to the back of the plane. They opened the door and directed him towards the seats.

‘He continued to be abusive towards staff. He called them ‘s***s’ and ‘cows’. They had to physically restrain him using restraining straps. He then grabbed Debra Watson neck scarf and pulled it down. He punched the right-hand side of Mrs Watson’s face and she described him making contact with her nose.’

The prosecutor added that Ms Watson was left with bruising to her right hand, the top of her right forearm and upper leg.  

One passenger, Mary Knight, later told police: ‘This experience totally traumatized me. It made me stay in my hotel and completely avoid experiencing the wonders of Turkey. I still have nightmares.’

Sentencing Lauriston, Judge Hilary Manley told him: 'Passengers were terrified, in particular children and ultimately, you had to be restrained' (file photo of Manchester Crown Court)

Sentencing Lauriston, Judge Hilary Manley told him: ‘Passengers were terrified, in particular children and ultimately, you had to be restrained’ (file photo of Manchester Crown Court)

Pilot Steve Anderson added: ‘There were complications with diverting and landing a fuel-laden plane. There was a real risk to the safety of the aircraft.’

The court heard the total costs to Jet2 for diverting the aircraft was £7611. Lauriston later claimed he had been drinking on the plane when he a fellow passenger he shared alcohol with began making suggestive comments towards him and he subsequently ‘blacked out.’

Lauriston said he remembered nothing of the incident, later adding: ‘I feel disgusted with myself. I am sorry, and I would like to apologise to all concerned. I need help with my alcohol and mental health issues.’

In a letter addressed to Jet2 staff, he wrote: ‘I am writing this letter to say how sorry I am to all the crew members, staff and passengers that I caused distress and alarm. 

‘My mental health had deteriorated. I know it’s no excuse, but I offer my deepest apologies to all.’

In mitigation, defence counsel Martin Callery said: ‘There was no doubt this man was very, very drunk indeed and there is absolutely no doubt he was very, very aggressive towards cabins staff and others. 

‘There is absolutely no doubt that he was abusive. He recognizes that his behaviour was abominable. He recognizes that his behaviour was disgraceful. He is deeply ashamed of the way he has behaved.’

Sentencing Lauriston, Judge Hilary Manley told him: ‘Passengers were terrified, in particular children and ultimately, you had to be restrained. You kicked and spat at staff causing bruising. You assaulted a third crew member, kicked a window and smashed a tray table.

‘Because of your behaviour, the captain had no choice but to divert the aircraft to Manchester Airport. Your behaviour caused those on the aircraft to be endangered, the aircraft having to land when there was far more fuel on board than was intended for landing. This was made worse because of the pandemic.

‘You say that you need help with your mental health difficulties, and say that you are sorry. But what you did caused much more than distress and alarm. You caused real terror. 

‘People need to understand that if they behave like this on an aircraft, they will go to prison.’


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button