Rock star loses `air rage' appeal

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The Independent Online
THE ROCK star Ian Brown returned to jail yesterday after losing his appeal against a four-month sentence for threatening to chop off the hands of an air stewardess.

The appeal decision at Manchester Crown Court by Judge Simon Fawcus will cost the 35-year-old former Stone Roses frontman thousands in lost revenue and will ruin his first solo UK and Japan tour scheduled for the next two months.

Judge Fawcus said he wanted to send a strong message to others who indulged in "loutish behaviour" while airborne.

His warning came as airline bosses met to discuss the establishment of an "air-rage database", which could lead to blacklisting violent passengers.

The database is a response by Virgin Atlantic and Airtours International to an attack with a broken vodka bottle on Fiona Weir, an Airtours stewardess, last Friday. A passenger in Spain faces charges of assault and threatening the safety of an aircraft.

At yesterday's hearing, Judge Fawcus upheld the decision last month of magistrates who were told how Brown had left a British Airways stewardess, Christine Cooper, terrified by his repeated threats.

He told Brown his behaviour had been "disgraceful" and that an increasing number of courts were dealing with similar cases.

"It has been said in the past that behaviour of this loutish nature would not warrant a custodial sentence if carried out on the ground. There are different conditions on an aircraft.

"Members of staff and hundreds of passengers and people on the ground below can be put at risk if there is behaviour of this type."

The judge said Brown's case was not as severe as other incidents which warranted nine to 18-month sentences and he accepted that Brown had behaved wholly out of character.

But he added: "Anyone who behaves this way will lose their liberty, whoever they are and whatever the financial consequences."

Brown, from Lymm, Cheshire, protested his innocence calling "I didn't do it" from the dock before he was taken down.

The court was told Brown's professional life would be jeopardised if he returned to jail.

Paul Chambers, for Brown, said he had been filming in Paris before catching the night flight to Manchester and had had an extremely stressful day filming his first live performance as a solo artist.

Mr Chambers said: "Behind the glamorous face of this type of life there is often a gruelling schedule in strange locations with little sleep and little food for long periods of time with the individual quite literally pushed to the limit."

He said Brown, who apologised unreservedly for his behaviour, had been under enormous pressure when he reacted to the stewardess's mistaken offer of duty free.

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