Northern Ireland

South Armagh man jailed for air rage

A man who threatened to kill a member of cabin crew and “repeatedly punched the seat” of a screaming autistic child on board a Belfast bound flight has been jailed for five months.

Jailing 27-year-old Kevin O’Hare at Antrim Magistrates Court, District Judge Nigel Broderick said his drunken behaviour had been "appalling” and was similar to other incidents which were "all too prevalent.”

While O’Hare, from Keggall View in Camlough, Co Armagh, was initially jailed, he was later released from the cells on £500 bail pending an appeal of the sentence.

At an earlier hearing he had admitted being drunk on a plane, failing to obey the lawful command of a pilot, behaving in a “threatening, abusive, insulting or disorderly manner towards a member of the crew of an aircraft,” threatening to kill a female member of the cabin crew and assaulting the same woman on August 5 this year.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court how O’Hare was “inebriated” before he even boarded the flight from Fuertaventura, adding that police were called to Belfast International airport.

"He was very aggressive to other crew members and swung both fists at the woman, saying 'I'll f**king kill her',” said the lawyer who continued: “He repeatedly punched the back of the seat in front of his where a 12-year-old autistic child was sitting with their family."

Sitting with “his arms crossed and yawning” throughout police interviews, the lawyer said O’Hare showed no remorse for his actions.

O’Hare’s defence solicitor said that his client “ readily acknowledged” his behaviour had been “completely disgraceful and utterly unacceptable."

The court also heard O’Hare was in breach of a suspended Crown Court sentence which the judge said looked like he had been “driving while drunk, injured someone and then left the scene.”

Jailing O’Hare and imposing fines totalling £600, Judge Broderick said that in his view, the "custody threshold" had been crossed and a "clear message" must be sent that this type of behaviour would not be tolerated.

The Crown court matter will also be referred back to the relevant judge who sentenced him.