Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Drunken air rage passenger jailed

Steven Pekar
Pekar hit and abused passengers on The Gambia-bound flight

A 50-year-old man from Staffordshire has been jailed for six months for a drunken air rage attack on a plane.

Steven Pekar, of Burton-upon-Trent, hit a woman and tried to bite an off-duty police officer after drinking a bottle of vodka, Leicester Crown Court heard.

Pekar, of Heath Road, was an hour into a flight to the Gambia, from East Midlands airport, when he started causing trouble.

He admitted being drunk on an aircraft, after the attacks in April 2008.

Pekar, a forklift truck driver, was prosecuted under sections 60 and 61 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982.

For you to be drunk in the way you were on this flight is simply inexcusable
Judge Michael Pert QC

He kicked the seat of the woman, who was sat in front of him, and ran his fingers through her hair, before hitting her when she complained, the court heard.

He called her an "evil cow" and she was forced to lock herself in the toilet to escape from him.

Pekar then threw a bottle of water across the cabin when flight attendants tried to calm him down. He also attempted to light a cigarette.

The ordeal for passengers and crew on board the Thomas Cook Boeing 757 continued on and off for almost five hours, the court was told.

When Pekar - who had been travelling with a male friend - was interviewed by Gambian police after his arrest he accepted he had been drunk.

'Terrifying' situation

But he claimed he could not remember what happened on the plane due to the fact he was taking six different types of medication and should not have been drinking.

Sentencing Pekar, Judge Michael Pert QC said: "The plain fact is that travelling in an aircraft is a situation that most of us have to undertake with a greater or lesser degree of trepidation.

"To have someone drunk in an aircraft is terrifying or disturbing for anyone to sit through.

"At 30,000ft there's nowhere to get away from a drunk. For you to be drunk in the way you were on this flight is simply inexcusable.

"Others must know that if they behave like this on an aircraft they deserve to go to prison."



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