Mile-high menace jailed for demanding sex from fellow passengers
London - A drunk passenger has been jailed after repeatedly asking fellow flyers to "join the mile-high club" with her before going berserk and attacking five people.
Demi Burton, 20, lashed out after cabin crew refused to serve her more red wine on an eight-hour flight from Abu Dhabi to Manchester.
The decision came after Burton, who had been travelling alone, crudely propositioned men on the flight.
When she was refused more alcohol by the Etihad Airways crew she flew into a rage and had to be restrained in her seat. During the struggle, a consultant anaesthetist who tried to help the crew was bitten on the elbow and head-butted. He described the incident as worse than anything he had seen in A&E.
One stewardess was bitten on the forearm and head-butted on the chin. Other passengers were kicked in the face and ribs.
A court heard Burton, of Carrington, near Manchester, calmed down after about four hours. She later claimed she had been drinking because she was afraid of flying. She was jailed on Tuesday for six months after admitting being drunk on an aircraft and five charges of assault.
Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester was told the incident took place on May 9 last year, shortly after the flight took off from the United Arab Emirates.
Claire Brocklebank, prosecuting, said: "It appears she was drunk before getting on the flight and started making inappropriate sexual comments to a number of male passengers.
"At first they laughed it off but it became more and more inappropriate and she asked them to join the mile-high club. One said he felt quite shocked and people started to ask her to be quiet.
"She shouted to one, 'shut up, you speccy four-eyed b******', made other abusive comments and swore at other passengers."
When cabin crew refused to give Burton any more red wine she demanded to speak to the pilot, adding: "You may as well just land the plane now."
She then began kicking and screaming, but was eventually held down by several passengers and crew while her wrists were tied to the seat with plastic restraints.
"She was head-butting and trying to bite other passengers that had restrained her and accused [them] of being racist," Brocklebank added. "One person recalls hearing her call the cabin manager an ugly b****. She carried on being difficult and abusive for up to four hours until she tired herself out."
Air stewardess Fouzia Naim told the court: "It was a stressful situation. I managed to remain calm and professional [but] it’s not acceptable for crew members to be treated this way and not fair on the other passengers to witness things like this."
Burton was arrested by police when the plane touched down.
Martin Callery, defending, said that his client was "thoroughly ashamed" and "utterly embarrassed" by her behaviour.
He said Burton had spent the previous three months in Australia but was apprehensive about returning to her "controlling" family in the UK.
Judge John Edwards refused Callery’s request not to jail Burton and insisted her "unpleasant, violent and persistent’ behaviour could only be dealt with by means of a custodial sentence.
"Good order on any flight – in particular a long-distance one – is essential, and those who undermine that put that at risk by behaving in such a crass way," he said.Daily Mail