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Man jailed over drunken air rage incident

19.09.06

A drunken passenger who had to be restrained by stewards after he headed towards the exit door whilst the plane he was on was landing at Glasgow Airport was jailed for three months yesterday, the Scotsman newspaper reports.

Stephen Guy, 38, caused so much concern to cabin crew as the Zoom Airlines flight from Toronto made its final approach into Glasgow, that the first officer left the cockpit and ran the full length of the plane to help bring him under control. One flight attendant punched Guy in an attempt to knock him out and prevent him from reaching the exit door, which they feared he might open.

Guy, of Townhead, Glasgow, had been treated to a 'friends and family' ticket by his girlfriend, Anne Marie Magnus, who works for Zoom. She was on duty during the flight and there had been 'a whiff of a disagreement between them,' the court heard.

As the plane was 90 minutes away from Glasgow Airport, early on 15 June last year, flight staff became concerned when it appeared that Guy was under the influence of alcohol. Fifteen minutes later, he was seen staggering in the aisle and was spoken to.

Then, as the fasten safety belts warning came on when the plane prepared to land, Guy caused further alarm as he left his seat and staggered towards the toilet. Cabin crew, strapped in for touchdown, watched in disbelief as he re-emerged and made for a rear exit door.

Fiona Hay, a supervisor, was so concerned by his actions that she made a bolt for the rear, fearing he might open the door and place the aircraft and passengers and crew in serious danger. Her colleague, Damien Mann, blocked Guy's way and ordered him to sit down. Guy, the court heard, began swatting at him, striking him on the head four times. The flight attendant tried to punch him as the plane hit the runway.

As the struggle continued, with two members of cabin crew trying to subdue him, an intercom became dislodged, allowing those in the cockpit to hear Ms Hay call out: 'We need help back here.' The captain engaged emergency stop procedures, causing the aircraft to come to a dramatic halt as the first officer went to the rear of the plane to assist.

The court heard Guy was still 'out of control' and lashing out dangerously. Police were called and they found him continuing to struggle with airline staff, who had him pinned to the floor.

Guy denied conducting himself in a disorderly manner, shouting, swearing and placing others in a state of fear and alarm. He also pleaded not guilty to assaulting Mr Mann by seizing him by the body, twisting his wrist and struggling with him.

He claimed he had suffered convulsions as a result of neglecting to take medication, which he had left in luggage stored in the hold. He conceded that he had consumed four vodkas during the flight but could not recall consuming any more alcohol, even though a bottle he had purchased in-flight had been opened and sampled.

He produced a medical report and a letter of confirmation from his GP, which stated he had epilepsy problems. But the sheriff concluded that Guy's conduct had been caused by alcohol.

Jailing him at Paisley Sheriff Court yesterday, Sheriff Brian Murphy said: 'You refused to comply with cabin crew instructions and engaged in a prolonged assault. In doing so, you endangered everyone's safety.'

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