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Drunk passenger who urinated on his seat fined £1000 after Gatwick police escorted him off flight.

An abusive passenger who urinated in his seat on board a flight from Las Vegas has been fined £1,000.

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Shane O’Grady was convicted of being drunk on board an aircraft following the incident on the inbound Virgin Atlantic boeing 747 on Wednesday (23 May).

It happened just three days after Sussex Police and Gatwick Airport launched their summer crackdown on disruptive passengers.

Sergeant Darren Taylor, of the Gatwick Prevention Team, said:

“Gatwick is a very family-orientated airport, and we work hard with our partners to ensure the millions of passengers who pass through every year have a safe and enjoyable experience.

“We engage with passengers at the earliest opportunity – through patrols, face to face contact and the distribution of posters and leaflets – to make them fully aware of the rules and their own responsibility.

“But while the vast majority are well-behaved, there are always a few individuals who overstep the mark. Those who ignore our advice will be dealt with robustly, as is highlighted by this case.”

O’Grady was reported to police by staff on board the flight, and officers were requested to escort him from his seat prior to the disembarkment of other passengers at Gatwick.

The 30-year-old Irish national was described as being persistently disruptive throughout the journey, and using loud and foul language.

After being refused more alcohol, he began to harass and intimidate staff, and was verbally abusive.
In an attempt to calm the situation, the flight crew placed the seatbelt signs on, but insisted passengers could still use the bathroom with caution.

O’Grady demanded the signs were removed and the crew obliged in an attempt to defuse the situation further, but despite this he urinated in his seat.

As a duty of care, staff provided him with a sleep suit – usually kept for First Class passengers – to change into as a result of his actions.

O’Grady, a sign writer, of no fixed address, was arrested after the plane safely landed, and was remanded in custody to appear before Crawley Magistrates’ Court the following day (Thursday 24 May), charged with being drunk on board an aircraft.

He pleaded guilty and was fined £1,000, and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said:

“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is our top priority, and we won’t tolerate any behaviour that compromises this. We always want our customers to have the best experience when they fly with us, and our cabin crew are highly trained to deal with any individuals that may impact that experience for others. We treat all incidents of disruptive behaviour seriously, and we’ll continue to work with authorities to report incidents onboard.”

More information on Operation Disrupt can be found here.

Crime

Man jailed for making hoax bomb call in order to catch his flight at Gatwick

A man who made a hoax bomb call in an attempt to catch his flight to the USA has been jailed.

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Jacob Meir Abdellak was running late for the Norwegian flight from Gatwick to Los Angeles, so he decided to contact the police to report the threat.

The anonymous call was received at 5.47am on Friday 11 May – just eight minutes before the flight was due to depart – and a full re-screening meant take-off was delayed by 90 minutes.

Further enquiries made by Gatwick Airport Ltd revealed Abdellak was significantly late for the flight and he was denied boarding by airline staff, whom he became abusive towards. He was told to return on another date to rearrange his flight.

It was later confirmed the telephone number used to make the call was the same number linked to his booking.

The 47-year-old librarian, of Amhurst Park, Hackney, London, was arrested at Gatwick Airport on Tuesday 22 May as he attempted to board another flight to the USA.

He was charged with communicating false information regarding a noxious substance likely to create serious risk to human health, however he denied the offence throughout.

Abdellak, a French national, admitted the telephone number was his, but claimed he had lost the SIM card a few days earlier and therefore the call could not have been made by him.

But at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday (14 August), when the trial was due to begin, the defendant changed his mind and pleaded guilty.

He was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment and required to pay a £140 victim surcharge.

Gatwick Police Chief Inspector Marc Clothier said:

“This was a quite ridiculous decision made by Abdellak, who fabricated an extremely serious allegation purely for his own benefit. He was running late for his flight and thought it would be a good idea to call in a hoax bomb, however this turned out to be the worst decision he could have made.

“His actions caused the flight to be delayed, and also caused a level of fear and distress among a number of staff and passengers on board that flight.

“The consequences of making allegations about bombs, guns or similar at densely populated locations such as airports are well documented, and Abdellak’s sentence serves as a warning to others that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and offenders will be dealt with robustly.”

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