Friday, May 28, 1999 Published at 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Man jailed for 12-hour 'air rage'
A drunken passenger who flew into a rage on a packed jumbo jet after being told off for looking at porn on a computer has been jailed for three years.
In what was described as "the worst ever case of air rage", Ian Bottomley, 36, a South African-born plumber injured three stewards and caused £30,000 of damage over a period of 12 hours.
At one point Bottomley even asked an ex-soldier trying to restrain him to "step outside" - seven miles above the African jungle.
One horrified passenger told the captain: "Get this bloody plane on the ground and get this bloody lunatic out before he kills us."
He was eventually overpowered, handcuffed, gagged, strapped down and sedated. But even that was not enough to control his anger.
A doctor on board had told the court that Bottomley seemed to resist strong sedatives. The seats in front of him had to be wrenched away from their fittings to stop him trying to head-butt them.
The divorced plumber showed no reaction as the jury trying him found him guilty of one count of affray on BA flight 056 from Johannesburg to Heathrow last January.
They then convicted him of assaulting cabin crew chief Michael Stevenson, being drunk aboard the aircraft, and endangering the plane and its passengers.
Bottomley, who was described by the prosecution as behaving like "a caged wild animal", had denied being drunk and said he had simply been acting in "self defence".
"I thought they were going to kill me ... I resisted - it was a survival instinct," he told the court.
On Friday, the judge told him: "Your violence was not merely directed towards those trying to restrain you, but also to people trying to give you help and attention and ease the pain you were suffering."
He added: "It is always sad to find someone of good character appearing in a criminal court, but you must realise the kind of offences you committed cannot be accepted by the courts of this country and will not be."