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David Machin's statement, read by solicitor
"I am deeply ashamed of my behaviour on Flight AA110"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 5 April, 2000, 20:45 GMT 21:45 UK
Fine for drunken plane couple
Amanda Holt
Amanda Holt, 37, lost her job after the transatlantic incident
A "humiliated" couple whose drunken fumblings outraged passengers on a transatlantic plane have been fined for being drunk on board an aircraft.

David Machin and Amanda Holt were in the business class section of the eight-and-a-half-hour American Airlines flight when they drank two bottles of wine and numerous glasses of cognac and port, Manchester Crown Court heard.

I ask that the press now show restraint and allow my wife and I both the privacy and time to rebuild a relationship I nearly threw away through my own drunken stupidity

David Machin
The pair - both married and strangers to each other before the flight - were arrested at Manchester Airport after the drunken episode last October in which Holt, 37, stripped to her underwear.

In fining the couple a total of 2,250, Mr Justice Singer said that they had both been humiliated by press attention and had lost thousands after leaving their jobs.

Machin, 40 of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to being drunk on board a flight and no evidence was offered by the prosecution on a charge of outraging public decency.

Holt, 37, of Bacup, Lancashire, had admitted being drunk on a plane at a hearing before the city's magistrates in February.

David Machin
David Machin: "Deeply ashamed"
Philip Curran, prosecuting, told the court the incident happened halfway through the in-flight movie when the lights had been dimmed.

Fellow passengers saw Holt slouched across her seat and a number of people described her as having rolling eyes and smelling of intoxicants, he said.

One passenger, who sat nearby, saw them in an embrace.

When the couple were repeatedly told to stop by cabin crew, they were said to be dismissive but not abusive.

They were still kissing and cuddling as the plane docked, Mr Curran said.

Manchester Airport
The pair were arrested at Manchester Airport
On arrest at Manchester Holt denied that anything had happened but Machin said: "We became a little over-familiar, that's all."

Holt later sent a letter of apology to the airline.

Defending Holt, Peter Birkett told the court that she had already had 15,000 worth of stock options withdrawn when she was dismissed from her position at a telecommunications company and has not worked since.

He said Holt had already been very publicly humiliated by press coverage and that her behaviour was completely out of character.

Passengers offended

Defending Machin, James Sturman said he had lost his 15,000 guaranteed bonus and had taken another job with a 10,000 salary cut after resigning before he was sacked.

He told the court Machin was bitterly ashamed of his actions and both he, his wife and his three children aged 12, 11 and nine were humiliated.

It's a matter of regret which Mrs Holt now wants to put behind her

Solicitor Michael Mackey
The judge said the pair were seen by a lady across the aisle from them and she was "offended and outraged".

He said the woman's husband had also seen the act but had not been offended to the same extent.

The judge added: "We have an offence which caused offence to other passengers but not danger. This is not a case which would attract a sentence of custody."

Holt's solicitor Michael Mackey said after the hearing: "It's a matter of regret which Mrs Holt now wants to put behind her."

Machin issued a statement through his solicitor Philip Sweeney saying he was "deeply ashamed".

The statement added: "I have nothing else to say, save to ask that the press now show restraint and allow my wife and I both the privacy and time to rebuild a relationship I nearly threw away through my own drunken stupidity."

Holt was fined 1,000 and ordered to pay 400 costs. Machin was fined 1,250 with 700 costs.

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29 Jul 99 | UK Politics
New laws tackle 'air rage'
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