BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Jail terms for plane fracas pair
Trevor Blake and Nicola Fitzgerald
The couple's Jamaica-bound flight had to be diverted to Bermuda
A couple whose drunken antics led to their Jamaica-bound flight being diverted have been given jail terms.

Nicola Fitzgerald, 27, and Trevor Blake, 44, from Luton, Beds, were charged after a disturbance on a Boeing 777 from Gatwick on 5 December 2005.

Blake, who admitted affray, was jailed for 12 months by Hove Crown Court.

Fitzgerald, who admitted being drunk on an aircraft, was given a three-month jail term, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work.

The couple of Enderby Road in Luton, pleaded guilty to the charges at Brighton Magistrates' Court last month.

Air turbulence

They were also ordered to pay 3,000 - the sum of money they had received for selling their story to a national newspaper.

Their behaviour caused their flight to be diverted to Bermuda, at a total cost of 12,682.84.

Hove Crown Court heard Blake had started to cause trouble even before the plane had taken off.

He argued with check-in staff because he insisted on greater leg room, and then rowed with a fellow passenger about the amount of storage space he had taken up inside the plane.

After the plane had taken off, a cabin crew member noticed the pair were acting drunk.

The court heard it was estimated they had drunk two cans of beer and eight quarter-sized bottles of wine.

'Bitter regrets'

When they were told they would not be served any more, Blake became aggressive and abusive towards the cabin crew.

And when issued with a final warning about his behaviour on a piece of paper, Blake scrunched it up and threw it at the person who had handed it to him.

Prosecutor Daniel Robinson said the plane then started to go through turbulence and seat-belt signs flashed up.

He said when Blake and Fitzgerald got up to go to the same toilet together, Blake swore and screamed when he was told not to walk around the plane.

He was then restrained in handcuffs and leg restraints by crew members.

Fitzgerald then began to shout abuse and also had to be restrained.

When the plane landed in Bermuda, the couple were taken off the plane and sent back to the UK where they were arrested and charged.

A charge against Blake of endangering the safety of an aircraft was dropped by the Crown.

Alexander Taylor-Camara, defending Blake, said his client "bitterly regretted his actions".

Laura Marshall, for Fitzgerald, said she had made "serious errors of judgment", but witnesses had said she had tried to calm Blake and that her abusive behaviour was out of character.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Trever Blake and his girlfriend had to be restrained on the flight



SEE ALSO

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific