Diplomat 'went berserk on airliner after alcohol binge'

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The Independent Online

A senior British Army officer holding a sensitive diplomatic post went "berserk" while drunk on a plane and had to be subdued by having his wrists and ankles shackled, a court was told.

Col Peter Roberts, the British defence attaché in Thailand, was on his way to London to make a presentation about the tsunami when he allegedly went on an alcohol binge on the flight's business class .

At one point, Col Roberts, 51, allegedly shouted "f*** this country, f*** the King, f*** the Buddha". Gareth Rees QC, for the prosecution, said "This, I believe was directed to the King and country of Thailand."

Later, while being restrained, the officer is said to have screamed, " Do you know who I am? I am the head of the British government in Thailand and you are treating me like this!"

Isleworth Crown Court in London heard that Col Roberts, of Passfield, Hampshire, had drunk two or three bottles of wine - of the smaller size served in aircraft - three Black Label whiskies and "some port".

That was in addition to wine consumed earlier on a connecting flight from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi on 17 February last year.

Col Roberts is alleged to have threatened to kill a member of the crew, kicked a policeman and grabbed a "terrified" two-year-old boy and his mother. At one point he loudly declared that North Korea was "untrustworthy".

Kevin McGuire, who sat next to Col Roberts, said he elbowed Col Roberts in the face and put him in a headlock after he began to "rant and rave". He said: "I asked for more help and was given that. We got plastic restraints on his wrists and ankles."

Col Roberts denies being drunk on an aircraft.

The case continues.