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Man jailed for attacking airport staff after being turned away from flight when drunk

Man jailed for attacking airport staff after being turned away from flight when drunk

A British man has been sentenced to eight months in jail, as well as being fined £120, for attacking airport staff while drunk.

Rober Smith, 45, was verbally abusive and violent towards Leeds Bradford Airport staff in the incident on 18 May last year, Leeds Magistrates Court heard on Monday.

Mr Smith had been due to fly to Tenerife with Jet2 at 4.20pm, when he was spotted knocking over a bar stool in an airport pub, then “bumping into glass panelling along the walkway” towards the aircraft, West Yorkshire Police reported.

At the airport gate, a Jet2 employee informed Mr Smith that he would not be able to board his flight. At this point, the court heard, Mr Smith became abusive towards the female staffer, who radioed for security assistance.

Her colleagues attended and Smith pleaded to be allowed onboard but was again refused. He began to walk away but was told he needed to be escorted back to border control and the customer service desk.

West Yorkshire Police say Mr Smith then made threats before attacking staff, eventually having to be restrained with assistance from airport bar staff and even members of the public.

Shortly afterwards, police officers arrived to arrest him, at which point the disruptive passenger “headbutted a plainsclothed detective in the face”.

Mr Smith was charged and admitted to two counts of common assault and assaulting an emergency worker.

As well as an eight-month jail term, he will be monitored for alcohol abstinence for 90 days and be forced to pay a £120 fine.

Sergeant Anne Haydock, of the Leeds Bradford neighbourhood policing team, said: “It is a criminal offence to be drunk on an aircraft, and airline staff have the right to refuse passengers who are suspected of being intoxicated from boarding.

“Disruptive behaviour such as drunkeness can be a potential risk to the safety of the aircraft and can also result in aircraft diversions that cause significant inconvenience and cost.

“Airline staff, and the police officers who support them, should be able to carry out their duties without having to face the kind of completely unnecessary threats and violence they encountered during this incident.

“Incidents such as this will always be treated seriously and attract criminal charges. We hope Smith’s conviction and sentence for these offences will remind people of how unacceptable behaviour…

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