Northern Ireland news

Co Down-born Paralympian 'cost British Airways £40K' by gluing himself to plane in protest, court hears

Paralympian James Brown. Picture RTE
Staff Reporter

A FORMER paralympian cyclist from Co Down, who glued himself to an aeroplane as part of an Extinction Rebellion protest, caused disruption costing British Airways £40,000, a court has heard.

James Brown, who represented Great Britain in the 1984 Paralympics and Ireland in the 2012 London games, climbed to the roof of a plane at London City Airport in October 2019.

The 56-year-old, originally from Portaferry but now living in Exeter, glued his right hand to the aircraft, which was bound for Amsterdam, and wedged his mobile phone in the doorway, preventing it from closing ahead of take-off.

His hand was eventually freed from the aircraft after an hour with the use of anti-freeze.

Brown is charged with one count of causing a public nuisance and is representing himself in a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

The double gold medal winner caused the flight to be cancelled, and delayed other flights, costing BA just over £40,000 in compensation to passengers and to reschedule the flight.

Prosecutor Richard Witcombe said: "Mr Brown travelled to London City Airport with the intention of participating in a protest as part of the movement Extinction Rebellion.

"Prior to his arrival at the airport that day, it appears that he had been in communication with other people who sympathise with the movement, communicating partly at least through WhatsApp."

Brown had booked a seat on the plane, the court heard, and cabin crew thought he was joking when he told them he was about to climb onto the roof.

The trial is set to last three days.

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