An easyJet passenger drunkenly gave a Nazi salute and shouted “alright Mein Fuhrer” after he was asked to raise a window blind before take-off.
Paul Anthony Burgoyne tried to grab a pilot by the throat when he became unruly on board a flight from Belfast to Birmingham, a court heard.
The 51-year-old broke the captain’s £600 watch and was thrown off the plane as staff feared the aggressive passenger would start hitting them.
But on the tarmac he climbed inside a tug vehicle attached to the plane and grabbed the steering wheel and a joy stick, the Leicestershire Live reports.
The drama began when Burgoyne, from Shepshed, Leicestershire, was asked to raise his window blind for-take off.
He raised his arm with a straightened hand and shouted “alright Mein Fuhrer”.
Following this, the captain of the aircraft deemed Burgoyne as “unfit to be on board”, a prosecutor told Antrim Magistrates’ Court.
Burgoyne continued to be aggressive, shouting and swearing at the pilot and crew who thought he was “going to punch them".
He tried to grab the captain by the throat but got him by the collar instead. During the altercation he broke the captain’s watch, which was worth £600.
Once ejected from the aircraft, Burgoyne kicked the tug vehicle which was still attached to the plane and managed to get inside it, grabbing the steering wheel and a joy stick.
He was removed from that, then “squared up to another member of staff”.
Burgoyne continued shouting and swearing before he was eventually arrested by police at Belfast International Airport.
At an earlier hearing Burgoyne, originally from Northern Ireland, pleaded to nine offences arising from the incident on February 11 this year.
These included four counts of common assault, including the captain of the flight, damaging the captains £600 wrist watch, using disorderly behaviour at Belfast International Airport, behaving in an abusive, insulting or threatening manner towards cabin crew and recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft.
Defence counsel Neil Moore said it was clear from the reports that “alcohol, other illicit substances and fractious and toxic family relationships” lead to the incident.
He described it as “an explosion of anger” and conceded that “obviously, his behaviour on that plane is disgraceful”.
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In mitigation he submitted that unlike many other cases where planes, crew and passengers were endangered mid-air, such as passengers trying to open doors, “this happened on the tarmac".
Mr Moore said: “Whilst there has to be an element of deterrence, when you look at the case law this case is distinct and exceptional, fortunately for Mr Burgoyne, because it happened on the tarmac and not in the air.
Mr Moore argued Burgoyne “is a decent member of society who holds down a decent job” having left Northern Ireland “to build a new life”.
He added that his client has expressed remorse and regret for what happened.
Despite this, District Judge Nigel Broderick decided to jail Burgoyne for three months.
He said incidents of passengers under the influence of drink or drugs being abusive to air crews was “becoming all too prevalent”.
Despite what he considered an “eloquent” plea in mitigation, he said: “I feel that this case does merit a custodial sentence.”
As well as the jail sentence, Judge Broderick fined Burgoyne £500 and ordered him to pay £600 to the plane’s captain, declaring that the sentence “should serve as a warning to anyone else who engages in similar behaviour".
However, despite initially being taken to the cells, Burgoyne was shortly after freed on bail, pending an appeal of his sentence at a later date.
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