BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  UK: England
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Monday, 18 March, 2002, 14:49 GMT
REM star 'behaved like lout'
Guitarist Peter Buck
Peter Buck - and wife Stephanie - is a founding member of the band
REM guitarist Peter Buck turned into a "drunken lout" and assaulted British Airways cabin staff during an alleged air rage incident, a court has heard.

The 45-year-old allegedly ignored every effort to calm him down and was warned the transatlantic flight would be grounded so he could be removed and prosecuted.

But far from heeding the warning, Mr Buck tore up the official warning notice given to him and swore at Captain Tom Payne, prosecution counsel at Isleworth Crown Court, west London, told the jury.

"He went on to upturn a breakfast trolley, smashing the crockery inside. He then picked up a knife and tried to slip it up his sleeve before it was taken from him by one of the crew," said prosecutor David Bate QC.

Mr Buck denies one charge of being drunk on an aircraft, two counts of common assault against air stewards and one charge of damaging British Airways crockery.

The alleged incident happened during a flight from Seattle to Heathrow in April 2001.


The prosecution alleged Mr Buck had drunk about 15 glasses of wine during the flight and tried to get hold of more.

It is said Mr Buck was so drunk he tried to insert a CD into a hostess trolley believing it to be a CD player.

According to Mr Bate, Mr Buck then sidled up to a woman passenger and declared "I want to sit next to my wife", before being ordered to return to his own seat.

Peter Buck
Buck denies the allegations against him
The musician allegedly punched the wall of the aircraft with "considerable force".

There was then a tussle between Mr Buck and two stewards involving a yoghurt and spoon, resulting in the yoghurt exploding over the three of them.

As cabin crew tried to clean Mr Buck up, he turned a hostess trolley upside down, sending crockery and breakfast food everywhere.

It is alleged that during this he tried to put a knife up his sleeve but was prevented from doing so by steward Holly Ward.

Mr Bate told the court that when asked again to calm down by the captain, Mr Buck threatened to take BA to court.


"He said to the captain: 'I am REM and I can make up a story that I was assaulted'," said Mr Bate.

Mr Bate said Mr Buck eventually fell asleep "no doubt to the enormous relief of crew and passengers alike".

On arrival at Heathrow Airport, Mr Buck was questioned by police on his alleged "loutish and drunken" behaviour.

'Drink and drugs'

"Claiming to be shocked at what he had done and remembering nothing of it, he said he had acted like a jerk going on vacation. He had become like a Jekyll (sic)." said Mr Bate.

The Crown was opening its case in a trial expected to last eight days.

Mr Bate told the jury the defence team may raise the issue of identification as well as evidence suggesting Mr Buck's behaviour amounted to that of a "non-insane automaton" brought on by a combination of drink and drugs.

The case continues.

See also:

14 May 01 | Reviews
REM reveal all
Internet links:

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

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories