Jet2 flight: drunk passenger forces pilot to land plane after she ‘punched cabin crew in the throat’
A drunk social worker has been handed a jail sentence after she punched a crew member on board a Jet2 flight and assaulted two other cabin crew staff members. Heather Anne McCarroll, 38, screamed into an intercom at the front of the plane and caused the pilot to declare an emergency, Antrim Magistrates’ Court heard.
The mum of two had taken two diazepam tablets for her nerves with alcohol ahead of Jet2 flight heading to Turkey. The crew told police McCarroll began shouting and swearing at cabin crew, calling the cabin manager a “big lesbian b******”. Belfast Live reported the court heard how McCarroll went to the toilet and while inside could be heard “shouting sexual obscenities and kicking the door”. She left the toilet in such a state that when she came out, “it was deemed necessary to close it for the rest of the flight”.
McCaroll went to the front of the plane where she got hold of the intercom and was “screaming down it loudly”. It was so loud that the captain had to switch it off so he could hear incoming transmissions from air traffic control.
The lawyer described how McCarroll “punched a crew member to the throat” and then went to the galley area at the rear of the plane where she assaulted two other members of the cabin crew. The pilot was forced to declare an emergency due to her behaviour.
Proceedings were told McCarroll would have stood trial in Turkey if it wasn’t for the language barrier. At an earlier hearing she entered guilty pleas to four charges of common assault and single offences of criminal damage to a toilet belonging to Jet2, being drunk on a plane, endangering the safety of an aircraft and behaving in a threatening, abusive or disorderly manner towards cabin crew on 6 September last year. McCarroll was interviewed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland where she admitted being intoxicated, but she said she didn’t remeber much of the incident due to the alcohol and two diazepam she had taken for anxiety when flying.
District Judge Nigel Broderick sentenced her to a four month jail sentence, as well as fines amounting to £300. McCarroll, from Cullybackey in Northern Ireland, was freed on bail pending an appeal. In a statement Mr Broderick said: “I have read the detailed reports and I have reflected carefully on all that has been said, there are too many of these incidents, largely fuelled by alcohol but sometime by the abuse of drugs but that’s no comfort to the cabin crew who have to deal with people or the passengers who have to put up with this behaviour. I have to say, this is possibly the worst form of behaviour that I have come across. It is not unfortunately uncommon for passengers to take excessive amounts of alcohol and to then be disruptive on a flight but this behaviour takes it to a whole new level.”