Three months jail for EasyJet 'air rage' passenger

Paul Anthony Burgoyne at Antrim Magistrates Court
Paul Anthony Burgoyne at Antrim Magistrates Court

AN airplane passenger who was high on a cocktail of drink and drugs when he gave a Nazi salute and tried to grab an easyJet captain by the throat, has been jailed for three months.

Jailing Paul Anthony Burgoyne at Antrim Magistrates Court, District Judge Nigel Broderick said incidents of passengers under the influence being abusive to air crews was “becoming all too prevalent” adding that he felt the case "does merit a custodial sentence."

Burgoyne (51) was also fined £500 and ordered him to pay £600 to the plane’s captain.

At an earlier hearing Burgoyne, originally from NI but now living at Temple Close, Shepshed in Loughborough, pleaded to nine offences arising from the incident on February 11 this year including four counts of common assault, including the captain of the flight, damaging the captain's £600 wrist watch, using disorderly behaviour at Belfast International Airport, behaving in an abusive, insulting or threatening manner towards cabin crew and recklessly endangering the safety of an aircraft.

Opening the facts for the first time yesterday a prosecuting lawyer told he court Burgoyne was on an easyJet flight to Birmingham when he was asked to raise the window blind for take off.

Burgoyne however became aggressive and “made a Nazi salute saying ‘alright Mein Fuhrer’,” said the lawyer adding that the captain came down and deemed Burgoyne as “unfit to be on board.”

Burgoyne continued to be aggressive, shouting and swearing at the captain and crew who both felt that Burgoyne was “going to punch” them.

“He tried to grab the captain by the throat but got him by the collar instead and broke his watch which was worth £600,” the lawyer told the court.

Once ejected from the aircraft, Burgoyne kicked the tug vehicle which was still attached to the plane and managed to get inside it, grabbing the steering wheel and a joy stick.

Removed from that vehicle, Burgoyne “squared up to another member of staff,” still shouting and swearing before he was eventually arrested by police.

Defence counsel Neil Moore said it was clear from the reports that “alcohol, other illicit substances and fractious and toxic family relationships” led to the incident which he described as “an explosion of anger" for which he had expressed remorse and regret.

Jailing Burgoyne, Judge Broderick said that despite Mr Moore’s eloquent plea, his view was that the offences called for an immediate jail sentence.

While Burgoyne was initially taken to the cells, he was freed on bail pending an appeal of the sentence around an hour later.