Mother who threatened to punch a Ryanair air stewardess is spared jail

Mother, 54, who threatened to punch a Ryanair air stewardess is spared jail after claiming she got drunk on duty free vodka to seek ‘escapism’ ahead of her daughter’s 21st birthday party in Ibiza

  • Julie Morris had faced up to two years in jail for the outburst on the flight
  • The 54-year-old from Blackburn was freed with a six month suspended sentence
  • She had purchased a bottle of vodka from duty free before boarding the flight to Ibiza

Julie Morris (pictured above) appeared before Minshull Street Crown Court 

A mother who threatened to punch an air stewardess during an alcohol fuelled rant on a passenger jet walked free from jail after claiming she had got drunk to seek ‘escapism’ due to her attending her daughter’s 21st birthday party in Ibiza.

Julie Morris, had begrudgingly agreed to join the party on the Spanish holiday island after she had issues with her partner. 

The 54-year-old had faced up to two years in jail but was freed with a six month suspended sentence for her outburst on the flight.

Before boarding the RyanAir flight from Manchester to Ibiza she bought a bottle of duty free vodka and began drinking it in the departure lounge.

By the time she got on the jet at Manchester airport, Morris was so drunk she began screaming and shouting obscenities at cabin crew.

Morris, from Blackburn, Lancashire, had been sat next to a baby and had shouted at one staff member who had tried to calm her and said: ‘f**k off you f*****g b***h’ ‘ and warning another: ‘ I will punch her.’

The Boeing 737 took off at 3.20pm on September 17, after Morris was ordered to switch seats but just 40 minutes into the flight the pilot was forced to turn back at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds after the passenger continued being disruptive.

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Police met Morris off the jet at Terminal 3 and found her to be ‘swaying and slurring her words’ as she disembarked. She was also too drunk to be interviewed and was placed in cells until she sobered up.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Morris, who admitted being drunk on an aircraft faced up to two years jail but was freed with a six month prison sentence suspended for a year after a judge heard she had been publicly humiliated since the incident on September 17 and faced losing her job. 

Prosecuting Brian McKenna said: ‘The defendant was on a Ryan Air flight from Manchester to Ibiza travelling with family members.

‘Shortly after the flight took off she began screaming and swearing, shouting ‘f*ck’.

Julie Morris had previously appeared in court in October (left). The 54-year-old (right) was spared jail

‘She at the time, was sitting in a seat opposite a baby and she was asked by a female member of the cabin crew to stop swearing. Her reply to the request was ‘f*ck off you f*cking bitch’.

‘As the cabin crew member walked off she heard the defendant say: ‘I’ll punch her’. The defendant seemed to be drinking alcohol from a soft drink bottle.

‘Because of her behaviour she was moved to another seat but she continued to disrupt the flight by shouting and swearing. A decision was then made to redirect the flight and return to Manchester airport.

Morris was given a suspended sentence at Minshull Street Crown Court (pictured above)

‘The police were waiting for the defendant. They saw her coming off the plane and they noticed as she did, she came towards them she was clearly drunk.

‘They described her as swaying as she stood and she was slurring her words.. She appeared to be angry and she was saying she hadn’t done anything.

‘She was arrested and taken to a police station but she was considered to be too drunk to question in any way, formally or otherwise. The police recovered a soft drinks bottle left at her seat. They smelt the contents and it clearly contained some alcohol.’

Julie Morris was charged with being drunk on board an aircraft following the incident on the plane from Manchester to Ibiza

Morris had previous convictions for criminal damage, drink driving and disorderly behaviour.

In mitigation her lawyer Duncan Nightingale said Morris had relationship issues with her partner at the time of the incident.

He added: ‘This lady is deeply ashamed by her actions. She consumed alcohol on the way to the airport and at the airport. She bought a bottle of vodka at the duty free and topped up her bottle and she then drank in the lounge area and was drinking on the plane.

The captain of Ryanair flight FR1263 alerted the authorities and then made the decision to turn back to ensure the safety of the passengers following her outburst

‘The issue had arisen out of the background relationship with her partner. It was her daughter’s 21st birthday and they were going to Ibiza for it. She didn’t particularly want to go but she felt she had to as it was her daughters 21st birthday. The amount of alcohol consumed was an escapism from the holiday.

‘She is deeply ashamed and embarrassed. The incident was plastered all over the front page of her local press but perhaps she has brought this upon herself.

‘She feels embarrassed and ashamed for herself and her family. Her employer was made aware of this and this was resulted in a suspension, a further meeting is due to take place and they have indicated she will lose her employment and essentially lose her income.’

The captain of the aircraft was forced to turn the plane around and fly back to Manchester Airport (pictured)

Sentencing Judge Stuart Driver QC told Morris: ‘This was a serious incident which caused significant disruption, inconvenience and no doubt anxiety to a large amount of innocent people.

‘I will pass a sentence of imprisonment, however, due to your personal circumstances I am able to suspend that sentence. If you commit another offence during the next 12 months you will be brought back and some or all of this suspended sentence will be activated.’

Morris was emotionless throughout the hearing.

On the day of the incident, September 17, Ryanair said in a statement: ‘This flight from Manchester to Ibiza returned to Manchester Airport shortly after take-off after a passenger became disruptive inflight.

‘We will not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority.’

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